The beginning of the year 2020 started on a rough note with the emergence of the pandemic COVID-19 and has brought untold suffering and distress all-over the world. Thanks to BREADS, along with a number of other benefactors, volunteers and staff, FCDP and TMS were able to intervene in the wake of the pandemic right from the beginning. The primary interventions included awareness programmes, providing masks and sanitizers, distributing grocery kits and cooked meals to the needy, support to the needy NRI families, assistance for quarantine and support to poor students for online education.
In the wake of the pandemic, a number of awareness programmes were organized by FCDP and TMS in collaboration with the District Health Department, Kollam. The first awareness program was held on 12 February 2020 for the women leaders of over 180 SHGs of the FCDP federation. The meetings sensitised the people on the precautions to be taken against corona virus and highlighted the need for
promoting positive health behaviours. The women members of the respective SHGs were also given training in collaboration with the district health department and the staff of FCDP and TMS.
MASK MAKING & DISTRIBUTION
F.C.D.P. is the first voluntary organization in Kollam, to start the production of cloth masks with the support of its volunteers and well-wishers. It is a matter of pride that many women members of the community came forward to stitch masks free of cost in their own homes while FCDP provided the necessary logistics. A number of benefactors of FCDP and BREADS also came forward to sponsor masks.
As the demand for masks increased, those who stitched masks were given a sum as tailoring charges. This not only helped in the production of masks at a time when medical stores and hospitals were running short of masks, but also provided financial assistance to the community reeling under the restrictions of COVID 19. The volunteers, members of Don Bosco tailoring unit, the staff of FCDP, and TMS worked overtime to meet the requirements for single and double layered masks.
Masks were distributed to fishermen, hospitals and community health centres, Police, Excise and Traffic departments, railways, banks, TRACK (Trauma Care Road Accident Aid Centre Kollam) FWS, TSS, N.S.S, various residence associations, and other organisations. Over 60,000 masks were produced and distributed. Of these over 15000 masks were distributed freely.
HAND HYGIENE PRODUCTS
To deal with the pandemic crisis, the home care unit of FCDP came forward with liquid hand wash, soap and sanitizers. This was indeed a timely intervention towards the prevention of COVID 19. FCDP continues to supply quality and low cost home care items.
GROCERY KIT DISTRIBUTION
As part of the ongoing COVID-19 relief activities, FCDP and TMS, with support from Don Bosco Breads Bangalore, our generous benefactors, well-wishers, volunteers, Don Bosco Youth and staff, distributed over 460 grocery kits to the most deserving families of the fishermen community. Kits were also distributed for traffic wardens of Kollam in collaboration with traffic department and altharamoodkuzhiyil.
COOKED FOOD FOR THE NEEDY
F.C.D.P. provided over 1400 meal packets to poor people struggling due to the lockdown. 25 people were given mid day meal as part of the ‘Vishappinu Vida’ programme which has been feeding over a hundred people every day for the past three and a half years. Our sincere thanks to the benefactors of Vishappinu Vida.
COOKED FOOD FOR THE NEEDY
With the commencement of online classes, FCDP-TMS entered another phase of relief activities since students struggled due to unavailability of TV or mobile phones to attend the classes. In an effort to reduce the digital divide and to lend a helping hand to the deserving students, F.C.D.P. with the support of BREADS and other benefactors and well-wishers supported the financially disadvantaged families with television sets and mobile phones. As an organization that spearheaded tuition classes in the coastal areas to bring about educational development, this was again an opportunity to come to the aid of needy students.
SUPPORT FOR INTER-STATE MIGRANTS
Over 800 migrants in various camps around Kollam were supported with grocery kits through the migrant desk of KISMAT at FCDP with the help of BREADS, Bangalore. Kits were distributed in collaboration with the labour department and other government departments. As part of the educational support for online studies, the needy migrant students were also given with TV and mobile phones.
SUPPORT FOR NRI FAMILIES
Among those who were most affected by the COVID 19 pandemic were the expatriates. Number of them were affected by the corona virus and many lost their jobs. As a result their families at home were under severe financial distress. In response to this, F.C.D.P provided special grocery kits to over 20 NRI families as an immediate support. Besides this assistance were also given to the neediest of expatriated who had returned home towards fees for quarantine facilities.
At FCDP and TMS we believe that disaster interventions are divine interventions. We thank God that we were able to effectively come to the aid of the community at a time of crisis the like of which the world has not witnessed. We record our thanks to BREADS Bangalore, our generous benefactors, well-wishers, volunteers, board and staff without whom this would not have been possible. While we take our hats off to the various departments and personnel including health workers, police, government officials and voluntary organisations who have been working 24x7 in Covid relief and prevention, we on our part, commit ourselves to continue to make a positive difference especially in the life of the fisher folk community through timely engagement and effective action.