Bodies At Risk: How Frontline NGO Workers in 3 Indian States Are Coping with the Lockdown
Over the past few months of the pandemic & lockdown, the frontline NGO worker or the field worker has become a lifeline for marginalized communities across the country. Even as Governments deemed certain services as ‘essential’, access to the most to these services was limited to privileged communities. For the vulnerable, it was the front line worker who performed the essential service of making access to survival and basic necessities possible under the lockdown.
Even as many of us were secluded in safety, frontline workers were on the field in the middle on a pandemic facilitating a range of complex interventions – from providing first aid and relief to distressed children and families to rescuing a child laborer to stopping a child marriage. They had to cope with changes in the nature of their work, constantly evolving obstacles and challenges and larger confusions in the field and in the systems. And all the while, they were putting their bodies at risk. And they were constantly worried that they were putting their families and loved ones at risk as well.
‘Bodies At Risk’ is a rapid assessment report made with the intention of understanding how frontline fieldworkers, particularly those outside of major metros, are navigating professional and personal challenges in the anxious time of the ongoing Covid -19 pandemic. And it also attempts to immeasurable value of the work that they performed under the lockdown.
In an unjust world of yawning divides where even the courts and police were frequently found inadequate, the acts that the frontline workers put their bodies at risk to perform take in a significance beyond just ‘relief’ and can be considered as acts of humanity and justice.