Approximately half of the working population of West Bengal lost their jobs along with their incomes during the pandemic. The three traditional means of livelihood here are agriculture, animal husbandry and fish farming. Tragically, all three were devastated by the terrible cyclone, Yaas, that struck the area which was already reeling from the effects of the pandemic. This double catastrophe has taken a grave toll on the mental health of the local people.
NISHTHA has been dedicated to bringing these communities back to a productive level of functioning. While the local people are awaiting government compensation for their losses, they attempt to damage-control their upended lives, and to simply survive from one day to the next. As such, many parents have not been in a position to worry the protection and education of their children, and as a result, much of the educational progress and achievements earned by girls have been greatly stymied. In many ways, the effects of the dual devastation have regressed these communities to conditions from a century ago.
Community leaders, however, together with the girls and women, have persevered under these arduous conditions. Under the guidance of experts in the field, they have successfully revived the traditional methods of livelihood. At present, over 75% of local people are once again able to fully engage with their work. In addition, numerous alternative and sustainable business proposals have been crafted, and their ability to compensate for the community’s losses continually increase, and with it, the potential for them to flourish.
YGB and NISHTHA remain committed to uplifting girls, women and whole communities through formal and community education, and to protecting them from trafficking, abuse, and torture. Come back here for more updates on our SHE and other critical programs!