Making a change in the nomadic communities

Thirty year old Tiger, belonging to the Narikurava Gypsy community migrated from Andhra Pradesh, along with his wife Vanitha and eight month old infant, seeking livelihood opportunities in Tamil Nadu. He settled at a railway station platform, selling beads and bags to commuters before he was evicted by the police and migrated to Ponneri, taking up shelter in a gypsy community near the river. The floods of December 2015 severely affected Tiger and the other gypsy residents of the settlement. They lost their shelter, belongings and with that, their livelihood. As they did not have any Government remuneration following the floods, they had no rehabilitation support.

Tiger with his family took refuge under the trees, with no basic amenities such as shelter, toilets, and water.

The Lebara Rain Rehabilitation Response, through its partner Mass Action Network, found Tiger along with other members of the gypsy community, taking refuge under the trees, with no basic amenities such as shelter, toilets and water. Tiger was provided with tarpaulin to construct a humble yet safe shelter for his family, including his eight month old infant, utensils for cooking, and groceries for three months to ensure food security. Tiger started selling beads, bags and flower vases in the nearby Ponneri market.

The Lebara Rain Rehabilitation Response also conducted health camps in this area, to ensure Tiger’s infant, along with the other children, were provided immunisation and basic health care. Further, Tiger along with other community members received counselling on the ill effects of substance abuse, encourage health seeking behaviour and educating children.

Cyclone Vardah-Relief Measures

On December 12, 2016 a severe cyclonic storm hit parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The storm lasted about 90 minutes and was travelling at 140 kmph. Most people living in low lying areas were evacuated to 95 relief shelters. Lebara foundation along with implementing partners and the Rehabilitation department made an assessment of affected areas on 14th and 15th of December 2016. The immediate needs were identified as -

  • provision of safe drinking water,
  • cutting of trees and cleaning of debris in Gummidipoondi,
  • distribution of fifteen day rations to nomadic communities in Tiruvallur and,
  • replacement of electrical wiring in Kurinjipadi camp of Cuddalore district to continue supply of safe drinking water.

Provided access to clean drinking water for 550 families.

water: People in Gummidipoondi camp were having difficulty in accessing water, without electricity. There was a requirement to hire four generators to pump ground water into tanks. As livelihoods had come to a standstill, the refugees did not have funds to pay for the diesel as well as rental charges of the generator and were struggling to meet water requirements. Lebara Foundation, ADRA, arranged to pay for the diesel and hiring charges of generators. A generator was provided for five days, from 17th Dec to 21st Dec, and an approximate 550 families benefitted.

Successfully averted risks of infection and diseases in the community.

Hygiene: Cyclone Vardah had left a trail of destruction with uprooted trees and damaged houses in the Gummidipoondi camp. This lead to mosquitoes breeding increasing risk of infection and disease. Lebara Foundation through its implementing partner ADRA, ensured cyclone debris was cleared, therefore averting risk. Bleaching powder was generously sprinkled in all the cleaned areas to reduce the morbidity caused by water borne diseases.

Relief work in the Nomadic Gypsy communities of Tiruvallur: The foundation has been working with the nomadic Narikurava communities of Tiruvallur, as part of the rehabilitation efforts of the 2015 floods. These communities were once again ravaged by the cyclone. Having lost all their personal belongings, Lebara provided them with 15 days’ ration, bed sheets, mats, milk powder and biscuits to around 1000 beneficiaries and 250 families in five settlements.

Replacement of electrical wiring to restore electricity and safe drinking water in Kurinjipadi camp in Cuddalore district: The electrical connections at the Kurinjipadi camp in Cuddalore district had already been damaged during the massive floods of December 2015. They were further damaged during the Nada cyclone on the 2nd of December, Cyclone Vardah completely burnt all electrical wiring, affecting the provision of electricity and safe drinking water. Through Lebara Foundation, the wiring was replaced with new copper wires along with the AMS carriers.

Supplied ration, milk powder, blanket, mats and biscuits to 250 nomadic families.

The community has expressed its gratitude on the restoration of electricity and access to safe drinking water.