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Coming together for a better tomorrow (IANSlife Exclusive)

New Delhi, June 3 (IANSlife) As digital and tech are the new normal, Foundations and NGOs take initiatives online to enable people to contribute to their efforts. To that end the Swades Foundation, CRY and TikTok joined hands to launch the #EVERYVIEWCOUNTS campaign.

The #EveryViewCounts mobilized the TikTok community to watch LIVE sessions hosted by popular celebrities and content creators on the platform which was monetised and TikTok donated INR 5 crore to Swades Foundation & CRY.

IANSlife spoke with Puja Marwaha, CEO, CRY (Child Rights and You) and Nikhil Gandhi, India head, TikTok for more details and the initiative.

Q. How difficult it has been for foundations to do social work during COVID-19

Marwaha: There’s no denying that the lockdown was indeed required to combat the spread of COVID 19, and the government rightly imposed it as a mandatory requirement. The single biggest challenge was to reach the children in groups, as all schools and Anganwadi (ICDS) Centres were closed due to the lockdown. Hence we had to reach them at their households, and had to knock every doorstep.

Thankfully, with our grassroots level partner organizations’ embedded presence at every village in our intervention areas, we have been able to reach the children and been able to support them. So far, with the help of our partner organisations, we have been able to reach out to more than 65 thousand households and more than 96 thousand children so far.

Q. Do you feel that the Government has demonstrated a lack of incentive and support for NGOs and foundations supporting those in need

Marwaha: Both the Union and State Governments are doing their bits to ensure that underprivileged children and communities are well protected and in a position to weather the crisis.

The immediate impact of the pandemic is visible with the mass migration of the daily wage earners who have lost their livelihoods. With hardly any money to buy provisions, they are struggling to provide for their families – a situation that is not only causing unbearable hunger but also putting their children, who are already under-nourished, at the risk of severe malnutrition.

Absence of midday meals due to the closure of schools and Anganwadi (ICDS) Centres has added to the misery of children. However, the Anganwadi Workers (AWW), Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM) have been the real heroes risking their lives to ensure that every child’s need has been taken care of.

But it’s a long road ahead and we need all the help we can get. Partnering with TikTok has helped us get the timely support we need – their initiative to bolster our efforts is absolutely wonderful and has come at the right time

Q. Give us a few details about the #EveryViewCounts campaign.

Gandhi: During these difficult times, we continue to do our part by supporting organizations working towards providing relief to communities impacted by the pandemic. The teams at Swades Foundation and CRY strive to support the underprivileged sections of society and make a direct impact on their lives. It has been humbling and inspiring to see the participation of the TikTok community in the #EveryViewCounts campaign to spread awareness about the cause. We hope that our contribution of INR 5Cr helps them in their COVID-19 relief efforts.

The Swades Foundation works towards empowering lives in rural India. The plight of the migrant workers who are making inroads back to their villages and their families is set to get harder with additional income drying up, as they no longer have an income stream from their jobs as urban labour.

With the share of funds that Swades Foundation receives, it is committed to build the livelihoods of people in rural Raigad by engaging them in farm-based activities, animal husbandry or skilling. Some part of the funds will also be invested in scholarships to children to ensure that this crisis does not hinder their aspiration to learn and march ahead to a brighter future.

Building livelihoods and helping the community become self-reliant is of utmost priority for the foundation. They have been in constant touch with the communities since the lockdown and are helping, especially the Adivasi families with food and daily essentials. The next steps for them is to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.

CRY is committed to changing the lives of underprivileged children and for over four decades it focused on socially deprived communities in the remotest corners of India.

As India struggles with the COVID-19 outbreak, children from underprivileged communities are at greater risk. With lowered immunity due to malnutrition and lack of access to healthcare facilities, they are even more vulnerable to this disease. Unable to go to school, their education is also suffering and they’re at risk of dropping out completely.

CRY’s COVID-19 programming focuses on:

· Providing supplementary hygiene products and ensuring preventative health and hygiene practices within the community for the long term

· Ensuring nutrition and food security that is currently completely dismantled as fallout of the pandemic

· Ensuring that children continue learning even amidst the changed circumstances

· With lowered immunity due to malnutrition and lack of access to basic health care facilities, children from underprivileged communities are even more vulnerable. CRY is working relentlessly in providing supplementary hygiene products, nutrition and food security and tools of education to ensure overall health and wellbeing of the children.

· Raising awareness amongst these communities on necessary precautions and available medical facilities etc., in addition to connecting them with government schemes.

(IANSlife can be contacted at ianslife@ians.in)

–IANS

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