Shila Mondal stands in front of a program sign and shows her money transfer document

Locking down and looking up

Disease was not the only killer during the second wave of COVID-19 in India last spring. Lockdowns forced people, many already living on the edge, out of work and into poverty and hunger.

People like Shila Mondal.

Shila has been a widow for the past 12 years, caring for her son and daughter alone. With no steady income, she had to work at odd jobs to pay the rent for her home and pay fees for her children’s education. Then she found a job as a domestic worker.

During the 2nd wave of COVID in Kolkata, the lockdowns meant she could no longer work. She quickly ran out of money to pay rent, buy food, buy the medicine she needed, and pay for her son’s college fee.

Canadian Lutheran World Relief, through Lutheran World Service India Trust, provided an Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) for those in need of assistance. Shila explained her loss of employment to the committee issuing the funds and she became a beneficiary.

She used a part of the funds for her family’s immediate needs like food and medicine, and the rest of the funds were saved in a bank account for emergency use in the future. Shila hopes to resume her work and start earning her living once again when the pandemic subsides and the lockdowns are lifted. 

“I was under tremendous stress thinking how I would be able to support my family and my children’s education,” she says. “The Unconditional Cash Transfer was great support and respite for me during the COVID pandemic.”