India: Strengthening Families in COVID's Aftermath
“My daughter is very mixed in nature, she is very friendly with everyone, taking care of her brother. She loves to help others like her father. She is like her father. Her father taught her boxing, she is very much interested in boxing. Always doing boxing with me, even with others. She is intelligent and good in studies. She also loves to sing, dance and play.”
However, underneath the rhythms of caregiving and home life lies an unspoken but ever-present sense of loss. Like so many across the world who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sruti and her family have had to rely on their inner resilience to face each new day, shaped by grief.
Previously, P. Sruti’s family life had a different rhythm–one of shared caregiving where Sruti had someone with whom to discuss decisions about the children. When Swati was a baby and toddler, Sruti’s husband, Anil Kumar, worked for a private company while Sruti cared for their two young children.
Then in May 2021, their whole world crumbled. The entire family contracted COVID-19, but Anil Kumar didn’t get better as his wife and children recovered. He went to the hospital for care and he never returned home.
Keeping a Family Together After a Tragic Loss
“After the death of my husband, my son’s health condition was not good…I faced the problem to fulfil the immediate needs of my children and also faced the financial problem for the admission of my daughter at school.”
Fortunately, Swati and her brother Bhaskar were identified through an initiative that conducted outreach as part of a COVID-19 emergency response with support from the Changing the Way We Care project in India, our local partner ARUNA, and the Government of India, so that a loving, resilient mother could continue caring for her children in their home.
Under this program, children who have lost one or both parents to COVID-19 receive financial assistance. The family also received food support. The cash and rations kept the family together. Under a virtual case management process, the family is constantly monitored for any further support needed.
Looking Towards the Future
Today, Sruti is focused on her family’s future. “I wake up at 7:00 a.m., sometimes at 5:00 a.m. as my second child is very young. I feed my children then at 7:00 a.m. help my daughter in her online class. After that I guide my daughter in her studies, since her exam days are coming soon," she says.
Sruti has also taken three months of training to pursue a potential job opportunity with a company, while exploring several other options to provide for her family. “In the future I am planning to do any business” she says. “I am thinking to start a grocery or stationery shop."
When she shared gratitude for financial and food support, critical help that kept her family intact, Sruti referred to the months following her husband’s death as “our crisis.” And now, she says, “I feel confident that someone is there for my family.”
To learn more, about Changing the Way We Care in India, click here
- Estimates of loss of primary caregiver: 2,227,600 (death of one or both parents or death of custodial grandparents)
- Estimates of children losing primary or secondary caregivers: 3,495,000 (death of one or both parents, death of custodial grandparents, and/or death of other co-residing grandparents)