“When we lost everything in the flood, I thought that life was over for us. But now, with the support of so many good people, we have a new home and a regular income. Life has changed for the better”, says Meena (name changed), a housewife whose family has been supported by ATMA Foundation after the Kerala floods. Her happiness is echoed by hundreds of others who have been reached by ATMA Foundation through our Flood Relief & Rehabilitation programme.
Over the last two years, ATMA has organised many initiatives to support flood-affected people to rebuild their lives. Rebuilding & repairing homes, rebuilding wells, providing material & medical support, providing mobility aids to persons with disabilities, etc were some of the major programmes undertaken. Innovative programes were also organised to enhance the emotional health of people soon after the flood, especially vulnerable groups like children and elderly. ATMA has also taken up long-term programmes like Digital & Financial Empowerment and Online Education Support to improve the standard of living and financial inclusion of people in rural and underserved areas.
Some of these long-term projects have been held up due to the pandemic. We shall be continuing the work as soon as the situation gets better.
We are now concluding the fund-raising campaign on GlobalGiving. We express our sincere thanks to all donors who have reached out to the people of Kerala in their hour of direst need. We have been honoured to see the smiles on their faces – we dedicate these to you.
We look forward to your continued association with our regular projects.
"It was the best gift that we could give to our child. Her happiness is beyond words", says the Principal of a rural school in Kochi, after handing over a tablet from ATMA Foundation to his student. Hailing from a poor family who lost much in the flood fury, and were then hit badly by the pandemic, she had no means to attend the online classes that her school was offering.
Even as support was being continually sourced to flood-affected familes to help them get back to normal life, the covid pandemic dealt an even more severe blow. With schools going online, poor families have been struggling to provide material accessories to their school-going children.
School-kits were distributed to 600 children in 11 rural areas. Two tablets and two televisions were provided to 4 children in economically backward situations. Grocery kits were provided to 100 daily-wage workers.
Efforts are on to organise support programmes for children and for families to help them overcome this drastic situation.
"Talking to the counsellor has made me feel much more relaxed and hopeful. Thanks to ATMA for reaching out", says Smt Sindhu (name changed to protect privacy), after the online session with the ATMA counsellor. "I am now confident that whatever comes, I can face it with courage", she says.
The unprecedented Covid situation has landed a severe blow to the people of Kerala who are struggling to recover from the floods of two consecutive years. Lockdowns and quarantines are seriously hampering support and develpoment work too.
In this situation, ATMA Foundation has come up with online support systems to offer counselling and guidance to people in need. Many people in Kerala, in spite of their socio-econimic status, have some kind of access to smartphones. ATMA has been leveraging this to reach out to people.
One-on-one guidance sessions through video calling is helping people to cope with the stress and manage within the uncertainty. Helping professionals and interested volunteers are being trained online in basic mentoring skills, so that they can offer support and succour to the people in their neighbourhoods. Short talks on useful topics like stress management, family harmony, etc are being aired on the ATMA Youtube channel, to help people find peace in these struggling times. ATMA is also using the medium of art to reach out to people. Performances by eminent artistes are being aired on Youtube. ATMA is supporting artistes to take live sessions for their students through the ATMA Digital & Financial Empowerment Centre.
As soon as the lockdown eases, ATMA will provide school kits and digital learning accessories to children in need.
Within the challenges thrown up by the current situation, ATMA Foundation is trying to find ways and means to continue providing support to people in need.
“Natural Disasters strike without warning, often without precedent. We may not be able to prevent them, but we can be prepared to face them.”
ATMA Foundation continues its efforts of rehabilitation by empowering the people in flood-prone areas with the basics of financial literacy and financial planning. A large number of people are still unaware of the benefits of insurance, and many do not make effective use of their bank accounts and savings plans. The existing practice of depending on cash for all transactions, and the absence of insurance or investments have taken a huge toll on people’s financial situation in the aftermath of the flood.
Over the last few months ATMA has been engaging with women, children and senior citizens, imparting to them the basics of digital & financial literacy. Sessions by Financial Counsellors, and interactions with bankers and insurance officers have helped them gain a good understanding of the financial world. Many of them have opened new bank accounts, and started using mobile or internet banking facilities. In the unfortunate event of a disaster striking again, their financial preparedness will definitely be better than the last time.
Other projects in the pipeline include distribution of school kits to children in flood affected areas and installation of water purification units in flood-prone areas.
Disaster can strike anywhere, anytime. Even though we cannot humanly predict them, the least we can do is enhance our preparedness.
One of the greatest impacts of the Kerala Floods of 2018 was the large scale loss to property. The rural population was the worst hit in this regard. The flood compounded their already fragile financial situation. Lack of insurance cover, lack of savings, etc broke the financial backbone of many homes.
To increase the financial preparedness of the rural population to combat disaster, ATMA Foundation has taken up financial literacy campaigns in the aftermath of the flood. The ATMA Digital and Financial Literacy project was launched in August 2019. 10 campaigns have been conducted so far, reaching out to more than 300 people. These sessions educate people on financial planning, various government support schemes, insurance, etc – so that they can financially survive unexpected disasters, and rebuild their lives.
In the coming months, the project will be expanded to reach more people – with special focus on women, children and senior citizens.
ATMA Volunteers continue to engage with the flood-hit people, supporting them in meeting their various small needs, giving them a hand where needed, as they get back to their lives. Our sincere gratitude to every donor on GlobalGiving, for making this great work possible!
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