Very simply, our system. A system that allows child labour. That offers no health or wage security to a daily labourer. A system that does not support the rights of interstate migrants. It is in these large gaps that Jamlo and her kind fall through, even to their deaths. This knowledge has driven thousands of migrants to try any means to get home to a semblance of emotional, if not financial security. The NGOs know this, so does the government for that matter.
This is why the Don Bosco network in India has been working to create various support structures during the pre-COVID-19 times and more especially, during these traumatic times for the poor migrants. Don Bosco Solidarity COVID-19 Relief in India has reached out through the Don Bosco Network and the 11 planning and development organisations with their 254 Don Bosco presences across the country, to all those in need anywhere. They have reached out to migrants, people on the streets and in slums, the elderly and children, transgenders, tribals in isolated areas. The Don Bosco family partnered with governments, corporates, local administrations, other NGOs, health and labour services, individual volunteers to reach out with helping hands. They are members of district COVID-19 Care teams coordinating relief services with the administration.
With the goal to sustain and support those in need, the Don Bosco Solidarity COVID-19 relief operation has distributed 81,969 food kits, feeding 328,059 people to date (26 April). They have manufactured and distributed over 236,515 protective face masks. They feed thousands daily with cooked meals - 82,338 so far. They distributed 260,000 litres of drinking water, sanitisers, 9,683 sanitary kits and medicines where possible. They intervene with free psychological and counselling services. They simply respond in any way they can to the need.
Sadly, their wonderful efforts are nowhere enough in a country like India. And that is why Jamlo Makdam died. She became collateral damage in world-wide chaos fomented by vested interests. But her death fuels the Don Bosco Network’s determination to reach children like her, directly and indirectly through their families so that such tragedies do not happen.