This worldwide crisis of corona slowed down the mobility of all of us, changed the life style, created need of establishing new & different preventive & curative measures and puts the vulnerable & poor people in more vulnerability. This situation is affective individuals, communities, villages, cities, states, countries in different way at multilevel. As a grassroot organization which is connected people at different layers we had to plan & strategies the things to address this pandemic situation.
Given the context of this crisis situation we had conducted a rapid assessment about the current need to strategies our intervention. During this period we had to work at multilevel i.e. individual, administration and community. We have been addressing the need to community during the pandemic, and to do so we are building the capacities of our staff.
Dealing fear/ anxiety through knowledge building and enhancing capacities of worker on coping strategies:
Worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 was new for all of us. Information received through administration was focused upon fear & incurable. Lockdown was being used as a tool. People were scared of each other. Social distances were creating along with physical distances. Loneliness was destroying one’s support structure. Workers were in fear and feeling anxious they were concerned about themselves as well of their families.
Since the lockdown situation and before that we at organizational level issued an advisory in reference to using preventive measure, ensuring everyone’s well-being, provided support to staff to be in safe space who are away from their home.
Organistaion conducted series of discussion with its workers related to COVID-19 information, its spread, government guidelines, preventive & safety measures. Worker’s fear was dealt with individual counselling session & factual information and safety was insured by mask, physical distance, sanetiser use, disinfection of place and preventive medicine i.e. Camphora-1M (homeopathic medicine), increased the regular use of hot water, steam, took help of thermometer & oximeter.
Various activities and exercises were conducted to take care of mental & physical well-being of workers. These processes are regularised & continuing .
Vishakha has been creating awareness on COVID-19 and its prevention. Our awareness mobile van goes in to villages regularly where our workers provide information to community people through mic in local language. Information awareness activities are conducted with one to one contact & relief work.
Along with preventive work we are providing information about ration, MNREGA, shelter home & health facilities and linking needy person with them.
Addressing domestic violence situation & mental health concern
One of major message spread through Lockdown was that all the offices/ support services are closed. This could put women who were facing domestic violence in more vulnerable situation and helplessness. To address this situation our first immediate step was to make women /people aware that our helpline & counselling services i.e. Mansamwaad, MSSK, youth counselling-telehelpline are opened, consequently many women reached out us for seeking support to deal with crisis situation.
Brief about our counselling services addressing domestic violence & mental health concern is-
- Vishakha runs Man Samvaad the statewide toll free helpline on mental Health in Rajasthan in collaboration with the National Health Mission. Due to the lockdown we made efforts to make this helpline transferrable to the counsellors personal numbers and after some technical glitches this could be made possible. 4 workers volunteer their time for the helpline. We have extended timings from 8 hours to 12 hours and publicised the same across the state and also in our villages in salumbar. The helpline has been pitched as a mental health, health information, domestic violence intervention and SHR information and support line.
- Vishakha runs the Mahila Salah evan Suraksha Kendras (MSSK)- violence intervention centres located in the women’s Police stations in four districts of Rajasthan. During lockdown Social worker provided support to women on call to ensure their wellbeing and continued support. But we have liasoned with state to make MSSK services/ tele-helpline as essential so order was issued after that center were opened and continuing face to face support women facing violence
- Vishakha runs a wellness and support intervention for Migrant students living in the Coaching capital of Kota in Rajasthan. We are running a 12 hour helpline and support service in Kota too.
- The local counselling helpline in salumbar for rural women is also active and functional.
- We are understanding helpline access behaviours and witnessing that how limited access to telephones and restricted mobility can pose serious challenges for women and girls to seek support telephonically and are trying to strengthen the local women and girl leader connections to create responsiveness for violence intervention, particularly in salumbar and bagru.
- We increased the time of tele-counselling helpline and providing support to women facing violence through call and needed support. Increasing awareness about the available support during COVID pandemic.
Number of calls/clients who sought support from our services during April- August 2020 can be seen in below table:
Number of call/clients (April-august)
|MSSK Hanumangarh (opened in June)||87|