This Independence Day, eight of India's young poets make an appeal to you. The migrant crisis isn't over, and migrant workers still need our help - now, more than ever.
But an appeal by poets is best delivered through verse and not prose. So, The Quint presents to you, 'Qaafila: Verses of Freedom', an evening of poetry to raise funds for migrant workers in need across the country.
Watch Aamir Aziz, Hussain Haidry, Poojan Sahil, Iqra Khilji, Aseem Sundan, Kaushik Raj, Nabiya Khan and Taikhum Sadiq recite poems that articulate the plight of our daily wage earners amidst this pandemic, and why we must come forward to help them.
Along with the eight poets mentioned above, the event also showcased the poetry of three survivors of human trafficking. Khemlal Khaterji and Amrit Tilakiya from Chhattisgarh, and Jothimani from Tamil Nadu, recite their poems and experiences about the hardships posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
All three of them are survivor leaders of the Indian Leadership Forum Against Trafficking (ILFAT). Having escaped the scourge of trafficking themselves, they now work as change-makers in their communities and are the grassroots leaders of the nationwide relief efforts for migrant workers.
The Migrant Crisis - Explained
But you may be wondering - isn't the migrant crisis over? Hardly. A crucial aspect of the crisis that isn't getting enough attention is that even after migrant workers and their families somehow managed to get home, their troubles continued.
- A lot of families are not getting rations and regular food supplies.
- The migrants are out of work and their families deprived of any income.
- As a result of these conditions, many of them are being forced to turn towards local moneylenders who are offering exploitative, high-interest loans - loans which will put these families in debt traps they will struggle to get out of for years.
Being stuck in debt traps will make these migrant workers extremely vulnerable to becoming victims of human trafficking, especially labour trafficking. NGOs and civil society groups which work on combating trafficking warn that due to these conditions, a huge surge in human trafficking is expected.
How Can You Help?
As this crisis of unprecedented proportions unfolds before us, a collective of reputed NGOs is working relentlessly on the ground to assist migrant workers and their families.
Helmed by the Indian Leadership Forum Against Trafficking (ILFAT) and Tafteesh, in collaboration with HELP, they are conducting relief operations across the country.
Now, they need your help to continue and expand their relief work. Each contribution goes a long way in helping fight this crisis.
- Rs 2,000 will support a family of 4 with one month's worth of ration supplies
- Rs 10,000 will support 5 families with a month's worth of ration, or help provide debt relief to affected members from the local community
With your contributions, this campaign will seek to assist more than 5,000 people in need across India.
As poet Aamir Aziz puts it, "Helping them is not an act of charity, but a fair transaction of humanity."