By: Vic Thorpe
Jamalo Madkam was just 12 years old, the only child of her parents. Extreme poverty had pushed the girl to work as a daily wage earner in the Indian state of Telengana.
The nation-wide Covid-19 lockdown meant no job and days without food. Madkam and a group of other migrant workers decided to return home on foot. For Madkam, the 100km journey ended in death due to electrolyte imbalance and exhaustion, barely 11 km from home.
The strict lockdown measures against covid-19, severing transport links, have taken a toll on the nation’s estimated 100 million migrant workers, triggering an exodus from cities where they worked in garment factories, building sites and brick kilns. India has no central registry of migrant workers and the day labourers, rickshaw pullers and hauliers who work on an informal basis have no social security to fall back on.
In West Bengal hundreds of thousands of informal labourers are now totally destitute. To add to this misery, the region was hit recently by the biggest super-cyclone ever recorded that swept away whole villages and razed to the ground the flimsy houses that these people called home.
The Just Solutions Network local team, led by Nilambar (Neel) Bhuinya, our Regional Representative, has launched this appeal to help these forgotten victims of the lockdown. Every thousand pounds that we raise can support 80 families for about 10 days. Thank you for your support.