Bamdi sits cross-legged on the floor

Getting through a bad year

It’s been a really bad year for Bamdi Paharin.

The 41 year-old mother of three lives in a remote village on top of a hill in the Pakur district of India, one hour by foot from the nearest road.

The family’s modest livelihood was disrupted when the devastating second wave of COVID-19 swept across India. Many people who were not directly affected by the pandemic were severely impacted by the lockdown, the loss of jobs and the lack of supplies. Poor families just became poorer and hungry people got hungrier.

Canadian Foodgrains Bank, through its local partner EFICOR, identified families like Bamdi’s who were no longer able to provide for their own needs. They set up a system for cash transfers over a period of three months to ensure they had the food they needed to survive, and the opportunity to get back on their feet.

The first cash transfer came through in her husband’s name, and provided very welcome relief.

But Bamdi’s troubles were not over. In the midst of their financial struggles, her husband was bitten by a snake and died.

As she was grieving, the team immediately changed the money transfer details to Bamdi’s name. That way the allocations continued without interruption and Bamdi did not have to try to find work or borrow money.

Bamdi was not alone. Hundreds of other vulnerable people in three districts in India were able to benefit from the cash transfer program at a time of desperate need.

Reena Devi and her husband Sanoj Majhi, for example, are both disabled and dependent on relatives for their survival. During the lockdown, that support dried up. They were able to use the cash transfers to buy groceries and other household necessities. Reena says, “I am so happy and thankful to the team for helping us when we were in distress.”

Vishwanath Majhi is 63 years old and he lives alone. He is unable to work and has no source of income so he is totally dependent on others. Sometimes his nephew helps him with food and other things, but mostly the other villagers and neighbours help him. But because of the lockdown, many lost their jobs and it became difficult for them to help Vishwanath.  Along with other elderly people in his village, Vishwanath received a cash transfer to buy rice and other food items.

As for Bamdi, she used the money to buy food, toiletries, and medicine for her children. She also purchased seeds for cultivation, to ensure a source of income in the future – a future that can now be brighter for Bamdi and her family.