Arun and his two daughters in their well-furnished petty shop

Arun and his two daughters are proud of their well-stocked petty shop

One shop, two goats, and three futures

Arun Gautam, a 38-year-old widower, runs a petty shop (a mini convenience store) from his house near the main road of the village. Arun did not catch COVID-19 during the devastating second wave in India, but the pandemic hit him hard in other ways.

Across the country, the coronavirus pandemic greatly impacted population groups that had already been struggling, such as the migrant workers, widowed women, and child-headed households. During the lockdowns, livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable, daily wage labourers, and marginal farmers were seriously affected.

In response to the needs, World Vision – through the Humanitarian Coalition – supported health facilities with hygiene kits, oxygen concentrators and beds. They ran COVID awareness and prevention campaigns in communities and provided food rations and cash assistance to the most vulnerable families.

Arun tells his story:

“My name is Arun and I have two daughters, Anshika (12) and Ayushka (10). My wife Sushila (34) was a housewife. We were a very happy family, until the fire.

“My wife died in the fire accident, and I was severely burned and injured trying to save her. I was hospitalized for many days.

“Although I recovered from my injuries, I could not continue my work in the leather factory and lost my job. I underwent severe stress thinking about how I would support my children and take care of their daily needs. I decided to start a small grocery shop at home, but due to lack of capital and insufficient stock, the income was very meagre. As it gradually started picking up, this pandemic badly affected us.

“Last year during the second wave, World Vision supported us with cash assistance with which I purchased some stock for the shop. With my small savings, I was able to purchase two goats. Now they have given birth to one more, so we have three goats. This gives us a sense of security for our future. In case of any emergency, we can sell off the goats.

“We are so happy and thankful that World Vision supported our family and now we are able to live a better life and have brighter hope for tomorrow. My shop is now rolling and I am able to have a steady monthly income."