COVID Relief

Since the beginning of the pandemic and the accompanying lockdowns in March 2020, Katradi has plunged into COVID Relief work trying to help different populations in many ways. Helping stranded migrants reach home, distributing food and water, distributing rations in both urban and rural Tamil Nadu, medical relief especially in the second wave of COVID 19, giving shelter and help to victims of domestic/ sexual abuse and more.

Second Wave Of COVID Relief

Volunteer groups to coordinate appeals for hospital beds, oxygen, medication

During the second wave of COVID-19, Katradi personnel have pitched in with multiple online collectives of NGOs and Volunteer groups in Tamil Nadu and pan-Indian collectives to help patients get beds, oxygen, medication, plasma and other medical aid.

Vaccine awareness

During the height of the second wave in May, 2021, we realized while delivering Oxygen Concentrators to rural PHCs, that many people were not reporting when they had COVID-19 symptoms. Misinformation was rampant and the stigma of being COVID positive a reality. Moreover, because of fake news forwards on social media, people in rural areas were filled with fear and absolutely refusing to take any vaccine. In several of the villages we work in, especially among the tribal populations literally no one has taken the vaccine. The fear of vaccines in some villages is so high that we have, at times, been abused and faced the threat of violence

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So the Katradi team took an emergency decision to partner with the local administration and swiftly built

A COVID Response Programme to establish protocols and contain COVID,
A multi-pronged Vaccination Awareness Programme to combat vaccine hesitancy.

We realised that if we don't act immediately a third wave would be inevitable and deadly with most of the population still not vaccinated. At our After-School Centre in KalavaiKootroad village, we work with various traditional Tamil performing arts. Their talents are coming in immensely useful to spread information in innovative ways that are 'sticky' strategies to stay in people's minds. We have created a multi pronged strategy targeting influencers who could become vaccine ambassadors for their community, creating volunteer groups in villages, creating exciting videos using traditional performing arts, funky memes with local youth, and live performances with our Lorry Lolakku model of mobile interactive performance.

We have created 4 videos in Tamil using Kattaikoothu (traditional Tamil theatre) using traditional mythological characters, along with clowns, a demonic personification of Coronavirus COVID-19 and more to address the fears and spread correct information.

If you would like to know more about our strategies and need help with your village or community please contact us at sangeeta.katradi@gmail.com

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Oxygen

Two weeks into the second wave of the pandemic Katradi facilitators realised that the rural areas of Tamil Nadu, indeed all parts of India, were being very badly served. Many government hospitals were running out of oxygen. With our extensive on the ground networks, we assumed the role of connectors and teaming up with other organisations and initiatives like Labour Net, Breathe Tamil Nadu, ActGrants and other individual donors we channelized over 100 oxygen concentrators to different rural Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in Ranipet, Dindugul and Thiruvannamalai districts. We also received appeals from other states in India like Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and we connected several donors to supply Oxygen Concentrators to PHCs in several tribal and rural areas.

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Ration support in rural Tamil Nadu

Ration distribution recommences in May 2021 for tribal communities, traditional performing artists, daily wage earners whose livelihoods have suffered a strong setback with the second wave of COVID 19.Donate Now

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Safe space for abused women

Katradi personnel, being some of the few women volunteers on the ground, began spotting victims of abuse and sexual violence since March, 2020. They realised that the lockdown left victims in a terrible situation and opened their houses to welcome women in need of a safe place, helping them also get to counselors and doctors where necessary. Our homes continue to stay open as a safe space to women in need.

Chennai Migrant Taskforce (CMT)

Stranded Migrants Relief Work

Seeing myriad heartbreaking sights of workers walking back to their homes that were 2000-3000 kms away Sangeeta Isvaran, co-founder, Katradi joined hands with Ravin Carr , heading Feed Chennai, to co-create a volunteer group called the Chennai Migrant Taskforce (CMT).

CMT volunteers stationed themselves in Chennai Central Station and also patrolled different highways guiding stranded migrants to shelters and onto trains. CMT volunteers distributed food, translated for the migrants from Hindi to Tamil, broke up potential conflicts when crowds of 100s would gather at Central station pushing to get on over crowded trains and helped ensure smooth transition into trains. Hearing stories of starving workers on the trains the CMT started distributing food kits with loaves of bread, jam, chapatis/theplas, water.

Building a strong relationship with the police, CMT managed to submit lists of stranded workers with data collected from phone helplines, highways, shelters, Railway stations coordinating with multiple volunteer groups and NGOs across India to submit extensive lists to the police and GCC and help Shramik trains run at full capacity through May, June, July. CMT also helped rescue groups of bonded labourers coordinating with other NGOs and teams of volunteers across India.

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CMT Activities

Creating a phone help line responding to calls for help from stranded workers, to provide them food, shelter and trains.
Distributing food and water to many shelters housing migrants to help ensure no one goes hungry.
Distributing food and water for migrants waiting in the hot sun outside Central Station
Patrolling key highways to locate groups of migrants walking and counsel them to go to shelters and support them with food and water
Bridging the language barrier doing Hindi translation where needed, helping to ease potentially conflict with empathy and understanding.

In Chennai, CMT has distributed

30,400 Food kits on Shramik trains
1,02,580 meals for homeless and stranded
4,200 grocery kits
77,000 litres of water
4,000 sanitisers to Govt COVID volunteers

CMT helped

5,071 stranded workers onto trains
2,360 workers to shelters
Katradi's involvement with this work came to an end on 15th of August, 2020.

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Dry Rations Support in rural Tamil Nadu

In villages in Ranipet, Thiruvannamalai, Kachipuram and Thiruvallur districts in Tamil Nadu where tribal communities, daily wage earners, traditional Dalit artist communities were severely impacted, Katradi has distributed ration kits and food for 100s of families from April until December, 2020. Our dedicated Volunteer team headed by Thilagavathi Palani distributed 200+ ration kits every month to far flung villages of Irular, Boom-boom mattukarar, Kattaikoothu artists, daily wage earners identifying those families that were particularly vulnerable or marginalised.

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In Ranipet, Thiruvannamalai, Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur districts Katradi has

Distributed 1,483 ration and vegetable kits
Run a Free kitchen for 150+ kids and adults in Oct, Nov, 2020.
Supported police teams with tea and snacks for 26 days during the first intense lockdowns for over 2,470 people.
Sharing challenges faced at home and in the community

In Ranipet, Thiruvannamalai, Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur districts Katradi has

Distributed 1,483 ration and vegetable kits
Run a Free kitchen for 150+ kids and adults in Oct, Nov, 2020.
Supported police teams with tea and snacks for 26 days during the first intense lockdowns for over 2,470 people.
Sharing challenges faced at home and in the community

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Ration distribution recommences in May 2021 for tribal communities, traditional performing artists, daily wage earners whose livelihoods have suffered a strong setback with the second wave of COVID 19.Donate Now

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Education Relief: Katradi After-School Centre

Since children in government schools haven't gone to school the whole year, especially classes 1 through 8, the Katradi After-School Centre in Kalavai Kootroad village, amped up its activities to provide children with a safe space as well as creating exciting learning activities with sports and dance-theatre. Without school and with both parents working to make ends meet, many children were without a safe space during the day and also not motivated to continue learning. Katradi After-School Coordinator, Thilagavathi motivated the older teens to take leadership and created small pods of children to work and play together. The strength of the Centre has doubled to 62+ children from the age of 5 through 17 and works full time rather than as an after-school. The centre is building a new floor to accommodate more children with appropriate social distancing. A big shout out to Dindugul Thalapakatti Hotels for funding us to make this happen.

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Mobile library

We have initiated a project to create a library on wheels to serve youth in villages around Kalavai Kootroad village in Ranipet and Thiruvannamalai districts. The facilitators will come from the young Kattaikoothu artistic community who will use their amazing theatre skills to inspire youngsters to read more. We are also building Koothu literacy modules to help children improve their Tamil and English reading and writing skills. This is a much needed initiative to help children in marginalised communities like the Irular and Boom-boom Mattukarar continue learning when schools remain shut. If you would like to contribute books, games or other educational materials, please contact Sangeeta Isvaran at issangeeta@yahoo.com

Mobile library

We have initiated a project to create a library on wheels to serve youth in villages around Kalavai Kootroad village in Ranipet and Thiruvannamalai districts. The facilitators will come from the young Kattaikoothu artistic community who will use their amazing theatre skills to inspire youngsters to read more. We are also building Koothu literacy modules to help children improve their Tamil and English reading and writing skills. This is a much needed initiative to help children in marginalised communities like the Irular and Boom-boom Mattukarar continue learning when schools remain shut. If you would like to contribute books, games or other educational materials, please contact Sangeeta Isvaran at issangeeta@yahoo.com

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Free kitchen

In August and September, 2020, the Katradi After School Centre at Kalavai Kootroad started a free kitchen, feeding kids who were falling into malnutrition since Government schools hadn't started and they could not access that one meal a day. Katradi facilitators lobbied local government bodies to provide the rations allocated to families with children to supplement the noon meal scheme. The free kitchen was closed when parents received their rations and also finally got work and could provide for their children.

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