ALLAHABAD – The monsoon and post-monsoon seasons are hard on the poor in India, particularly those who work in the fields. A consortium of over 400 humanitarian aid agencies has come together to help during these difficult times this year.
The consortium has established grain banks in over 100 villages across northern India in expectation of having enough food available to feed more than 5,000 families who are otherwise unable to access food when they need it during this season of the year.
Life in northern India is complex and largely unfamiliar to Western culture.
Thousands of families are in need of food and housing in North and South Carolina following the ravages of Hurricane Florence. For the most part, food will be made accessible and they will eventually return to their jobs and rebuild their homes.
The effect of monsoon season in India brings a complete stoppage to the field and construction work – and wages – that most of the poverty-stricken in rural Indian villages rely on. Within a short period of time – often days – they have no wherewithal to purchase food without taking out a loan.
According to Reuters, “Tens of thousands across India are duped into working without wages” to pay back those loans. Bonded labor was outlawed in 1976 yet, 42 years later an estimated 8,000,000 Indians are trapped in workplace slavery. That is more than any other country in the world.
Although government-funded public distribution programs were established in 2013, many tribal families find no grain available when it is most needed. The consortium hopes to fill the gaps with the help of multiple charities, humanitarian aid groups, and philanthropists.
Roshan Lal, who arranged for the organization of the consortium, hopes to address the issue of available food while also reducing the illegal loan agreements that enslave his fellow countrymen. “We are providing a stop-gap arrangement when they are out of work or are awaiting their salary. Once they are paid, they will put back the grains they have borrowed.”