[Survivor Series] Our meagre savings were wiped away completely during the COVID-19 lockdown

This week, in Survivor Series, we bring to you the story of 15-year-old Supreeya, who along with her mother, had to struggle to eke out a livelihood during the pandemic.

I am Supreeya and I am 15 years old. I live alone with my handicapped mother in the slums of Mumbai. The sudden lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic literally closed all doors for us. My mother completely lost access to the roti-making job she used to do daily to support us.

Our meagre savings were soon wiped away, leaving us dependent on meals disturbed by good Samaritans reaching out to the poor and migrant labourers. The long wait in sometimes-serpentine queues often brought sleepless nights.

Not knowing when we would next have access to a full meal was disturbing.
The growing pangs of adolescence, coupled with the dire situation around me, were beginning to take a toll on my mental health as well. I was feeling constantly irritable and ill at ease.

Receiving a ‘Happy Call’ from Salaam Bombay Foundation served as a ray of hope for us. What started off as a call to play a game – comprising well-rounded activities designed to interpret the psychology of the child – soon turned into a heart-to-heart chat where I felt comfortable confiding in my facilitator about the challenges that I was facing at home.

On hearing my plight, the Salaam Bombay Foundation team sent out rations to be delivered to our doorstep, which was indeed a relief to us. We were now able to cook our meals and get back that sense of independence that we were lacking for so long.

Salaam Bombay further helped empower us by giving the opportunity to be part of the Diwali diya-making activity to help raise funds for the Academy – all this was possible only through one phone call.

*Names have been changed to protect their identity.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai


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