When the Dehradun District Administration closed schools on March 16, 2020, Aasraa’s healthcare workers and outreach teams swung into action to address the health and nutrition requirements of their children who come from the poorest communities. In addition to continuously monitoring the children’s health, the Aasraa Education Trust team also began to distribute advisory pamphlets on COVID-19 along with masks, soaps, wipes, sanitisers and food parcels to their families.
Founder Shaila Brijnath says, ‘‘The announcement of the lockdown created a humanitarian crisis in Dehradun with the entire migrant labour community stranded with no wages. We realised that beyond the pandemic, there was a larger emergency of hunger looming; we felt compelled to combat it. In a few short weeks, our food warriors have gone from scrambling for provisions to establishing five supply chain processes that distribute upto 450 relief packs a day; each contains everything that a family of six needs to survive for one week. To date, Aasra has delivered over 6,900 packages feeding more than 30,000 people.’’
Aasraa is an education trust. Established in 2009, it empowers street and slum children in Dehradun through educational and vocational training combined with nutrition, medical care and shelter. Run by a team of committed, passionate advocates of quality education for marginalized children, Aasraa serves 3,900 children across 43 projects in Dehradun.
Even in these challenging times, Aasra ensures that their children have the opportunity to continue their education by preparing education materials that the children can use during the lockdown, supported by their teachers who stay in touch with the children and ensure their emotional and physical wellbeing.