“I head out for the distribution in the morning. I feel really good that I can help the people of the basti during this time as most families don’t have ways to sustain themselves. I also feel very glad that I get to go out of the house,“ said Naseem Jaffar Ali Shaikh, a Field Assistant with Apnalaya who has been part of the ration distribution team since 27th March. She lives with her four sons in a 10×15 sq ft room in Shivaji Nagar, Mumbai. Currently, she is the sole earner in the female headed household.
Talking about her experience in relief distribution she goes on to elaborate, “Since I have worked in all the inside clusters of Shivaji Nagar, I know a lot of people here. It works in my favour as I manage to prevent crowding easily.”
On days when there is no distribution, Naseem is busy on calls, connecting with children, parents and women who are part of the Education & Livelihoods programme of Apnalaya.
Like most of the families in Shivaji Nagar, Naseem’s financial situation after the lockdown is not good. “My eldest son (21 YO) was working as a driver but after the lockdown, he has lost his job. My salary sustains our day-to-day expense, but we are struggling to pay the rent of the room, water and electricity bill,” said Naseem.
While talking about her sons and the current struggles she also shared how her children have been a constant support for her. “I am like a friend to them, I tell them whatbi think is right and wrong but in the end decision is theirs. Right now, I am busy in the relief distribution or taking calls while working from home. They understand the importance of the work and support me. They help in household chores so I do not feel any extra burden. It is Ramzan time, where we generally buy new clothes but this year they have not asked for clothes because they know we don’t have money.”
Naseem is concerned these days. “We have managed before, and we will manage now, however, worried about our financial situation. My eldest son has continuously contributed in the family income. But now if he asks for even Rs 10, I hesitate to give it. I feel bad, but what can I do? I don’t have any other option,” she sighed.