Personal Note:

Our experience with past crisis, provides important lessons about what to expect and prepare for as we navigate the challenges of our future life. Each time we are challenged we have a chance to grow and come out better on the other side as individuals and as a society.

Many themes are emerging from this crisis. People across the world are so isolated, yet so much is opening up for all of us. While people are extremely terrified with the economy nosediving to a new low every day, the sense of, all are in it together is making it less threatening. It is mitigating shame of poverty, racism, casticism and truly uniting people and the shift from individualistic outlook to people seeking strength in community is apparent.

Difficulty creates resilience and brings back the focus on gratitude. Healing and evolution will happen as we move along in our personal journeys and each of us will have a story to share at the end of it.

When the decision to close North Carolina schools happened around March 15th, a national debate erupted. There were growing concerns about children being deprived of mid-day meals. 30M children across the country who depended on schools for their only meal in a day across the US would be impacted. This came as a rude shock for me! I could not believe that more than providing education our schools fulfilled a very basic need in society. To add to the stress was the risk of increase in child abuse and domestic violence as children were now forced to stay home for an indefinite period as parents tried to grapple with their own trauma of losing income and healthcare in many households.I

I have been very closely associated with Setu,an NGO that supports over 15000 women and children from marginalized communities in states across India. When the lockdown was announced in India most of the people in small towns and villages were still going about their own daily life struggles and triumphs, too busy to catch up with national news, leave alone world problems. Amidst this scenario, in walked the virus. People woke up to the grim reality that something was amiss and overnight things changed. My thought immediately raced to the school situation in the US. Setu supports over 500 children in small balwadis (day care centers). The only reason these children of mostly single mothers and abandoned families from the poorest of settlements come to school, is to be able to get one meal in the whole day. These are children of sex workers, orphans from riot affected areas, children working in animal slaughter houses, children of HIV and leprosy patients etc. I immediately shared the idea of supplying basic food grains to the poor families that were most affected. I started a fundraiser in the US and raised over $1000 from friends and family and what that started is an amazing story that needs to be told. A story of brave warriors and grateful hearts. I have tried to capture the story through this paper. READ FURTHER...