Nisha’s story: Holding on to hope
For the past four years, Nisha, 18, has been a Save the Children Girl Champion in her home city of Delhi, India. We asked her how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted her life and her community.
Hello, my name is Nisha. I live in Delhi, the capital city of India. Since the lockdown was announced by our Prime Minister in March, we have been confined to our homes. In our community, most people work as daily wage labourers, house help, auto-rickshaw drivers, and other services that are no longer being hired. From rickshaw drivers to roadside vendors, all such day wagers are losing their means of income due to the nationwide lockdown.
At the beginning of lockdown, women who were hired as house helpers and cleaning ladies did get their salaries but as the lockdown days extended, even that income slowly stopped, leaving them and their families helpless with no source of income.
The community has faced a lot of problems due to the nationwide lockdown, but I understand that this is necessary to control the infection.
My community has really been struggling. We have all become helpless, with no work or income of our own, there is nothing left but to depend on the government. People are eating whatever they get their hands on. Families aren’t even able to provide basic things such as milk, fruit, or snacks such as biscuits for their children.
Amongst all that is lost, I am happy to tell you that we still haven’t lost hope. We have received support from Save the Children and the government multiple times since March. I have ensured that all the goods that come to us are distributed equally among all the families as per the number of members in that family. It takes a bit if coordination but we are able to do it smoothly every month.
Nisha and her mother hold food supplies.
Through my advocacy on national television during Save the Children's telethon on New Delhi TV, I have appealed to the public for support of any kind and also tried to explain that we can change these circumstances if we want to.
I miss playing with my friends, going for walks in the park, going for extra classes after school, going out to explore with my friends, and all the fun things that I took for granted before.
But I still do have fun, my brother and I make TikTok videos sometimes and upload them, we also take photos of our surroundings, I do enjoy clicking photos whenever I have time.
An image Nisha took of her surroundings.
There is always a lot of work at home but my parents are very understanding and always make sure everyone in the family is helping out. Sometimes, I get some time to myself so I study school books or make notes in a quiet corner of my hustling and packed neighbourhood.
I am concerned about how things will be once the lockdown ends because so many children, especially girls, have not been going to school. You know what happens with girls, right, they are asked to stay behind and work.
When I was nine and working as domestic help, no one even told me about the school, I found out from the lady and her child who I worked for. Now I am planning to go to college, I am lucky, not every girl gets that chance or is able to change the mindset of her parents. I hope the government and NGOs are able to make sure that girls don't miss out on education even in the post coronavirus world.
All over the world, Save the Children is rapidly adapting our existing work whilst preparing for outbreaks of coronavirus in countries with limited capacity to respond.