While the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the fore deep-seated social-economic fissures in our society, it also presented itself as an opportunity for communities to get stronger and grow together. The experiences of tackling COVID-19 in some of the most remote Indian villages and communities are a testament to that. Talking to us about the lockdown, the Sarpanch of Bador village says, “The lockdown was a very distressing time. All the Anganwadis and shops were closed off. People were finding it extremely difficult to procure food for themselves and their families since they were advised not to step out.” However, he also mentioned how the community had come together in those trying times. “We took all precautions in this Panchayat, and everyone followed, resulting in a virtually 0 positivity rate. A handful of people showed symptoms, but got a negative report,” he says, proudly. Those returning to the villages were safely quarantined for 10-15 days before being allowed to visit their families.
Moreover, his Panchayat has been fully vaccinated. There were misconceptions and rumours, but they were dissipated with an effective awareness campaign, and everyone was vaccinated within 6 months. “The vaccination has had no ill effects on the community. On the other hand, it has invigorated some of the elderly in the village,” the Sarpanch recalls. Other than that, those whose livelihoods were disrupted had to fall back on social security schemes. The Panchayat was instrumental in helping those in need access social security schemes and pertinent entitlements.