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India in Crisis: DISHA

In Gujarat State, on the western coast of India, DISHA (Developing Initiatives in Social and Human Action) has stepped up to work with mass-membership organizations to support the state’s most vulnerable communities during India’s COVID-19 pandemic.

With the Fund’s support, DISHA has been able to reach nearly 850 villages in Dahod and Panchmahal districts, raising awareness about government-sponsored relief and helping people in remote villages access crucial benefit schemes.

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is one of the world’s largest public works programs. Under MGNREGA, DISHA has helped more than 90,000 families from over 600 villages receive nearly $16 million (around 1.7 billion rupees). DISHA has also helped 90,000 families access grain subsidies worth over a half a million dollars (about 40 million rupees).

DISHA’s support is especially vital for women—they’ve helped around 100 women farmers access microcredit programs to start agroecology-based businesses. And thanks to DISHA’s efforts, more than 15,000 single women have received over $100,000 (about 9 million rupees) in direct cash benefits from the government, and nearly 25,000 women have been able to access upwards of $200,000 (15 million rupees) in direct cash benefits from the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, or Prime Minister’s People’s Wealth Scheme.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, grassroots activists in India have come to the rescue of the country’s most vulnerable communities. Now, as a deadly second wave ravages health care and other support systems, activists on the front lines need our support more than ever. Help save lives today.