The Covid lockdown was too hard on the rural poor as it affected their lives and livelihood. The families did not have any provision for food left and most of them started starving. Though poverty was not new for them, starvation without food for days together was very hard on them. The enforcers were very harsh and did not allow them to go out. The children were the worst affected. The people were apprehensive of going out for fear of attack by the police and the one side, and on the other side they were afraid that they would contract the virus in case of going out. That was the type of fear instilled among the people by the government.
Overcoming these fear four women Velankanni, Kalaiarasi, Prema and Jeeva braved to come out, seeing the pathetic condition. They joined hands and managed to go out in search of food for the community. They begged the officials and managed to go out and approached different organizations. They were equally helpless. Finally they sought the support of Jai Bheem Budda Social Education Trust. That organization assured help and joined hands with SRED. As a first step food packets were distributed which was just time being. Followed by this provisions were distributed to the villagers through these women. These women organized community kitchen in the village and cooked food for the entire villagers and fed them.
The local political party leaders envied this as they were ashamed that these four women managed to find support when they failed in spite of being the ruling party. They thought that it was a shame for them and immediately contacted the district collector and revenue inspector. They threatened the women not to go ahead with food distribution without the permission from the government. However these women mobilized the other women and children from the village and threatened hunger strike. The district collector on learning the fact allowed them to go ahead. The leadership and voluntarism of the four women saved the villagers from starvation.
The traumatic experience of the COVID pandemic was so horrible, being a woman shouldering the responsibility of protecting the family and the community from being infected by the virus, feeding the family and face the challenge of other communities and government agencies that treated them ignoble. They suffered mentally and had to prevent poverty death. The sufferings continue as the life has not come back to normalcy