“We all are enough for each other”- The Story of a Community Organisation in Maharashtra

At Navchetna Yuva Vikas Samsthe (NYVS), members firmly believe in the philosophy “We all are enough for each other”. Solidarity lies at the heart of this community organization, which is made up of 1,100 members from the MSM (Men who have sex with men) and Transgender communities in Yavatmal district, Maharashtra. The NYVS  have received mentorship support from Swasti for several years, and were one of the early members of the CovidActionCollab.

Yavatmal is part of the drought-prone and underdeveloped Vidarbha region, where the COVID-19 pandemic, countrywide lockdown and the resulting dire shortage of essential supplies has caused great suffering. Determined to help this wider community and with the support of the Collab, NYVS members have leveraged their network across India to source essential supplies and distribute them to those in need. 

Members have established a ‘referral system’ for food and rations, connecting with NGOs in the area and linking them up with specific groups in need. Members supplement the NGO resources with large in-kind donations of their own, as well as by leading collection drives for supplies among the better-off people in the district. Through these efforts, by April 15 the  NYVS had distributed groceries and essential supplies to 2,000 people in the district. 

Going beyond emergency relief work, NYVS members have also tried to ensure access to social protection and essential health services for the most vulnerable in their communities.  For people living below the poverty line, especially those without formal identification, members help them access government welfare schemes through their Aadhaar cards. For those living with HIV and therefore at high risk for Covid-19 infection, NYVS members help them access their ART treatments, as well as reduce their risk of infection by home-delivering groceries, in collaboration with Lions Club.

Themselves members of a marginalised group, NYVS members are committed to ensuring no one gets left behind in the collective fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. They are determined to live out their belief, that ‘Humanity is above everything in this world’. 

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Contributors: Shreshtha Gupta, Rhea John, Meghana Dwaraka, and Girija

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