Ramgarh is a town located in the Alwar district of Rajasthan. For Anita, Isha, Indra, Usha, Nirmala, and Bharati, Ramgarh is home. These six women are associated with SPECTRA, an organisation working with vulnerable communities in Rajasthan, and a partner of Community Action Collab (previously #COVIDActionCollab). They are a part of SPECTRA’s teacher training program. Each teacher, after receiving the training, regularly travels to their designated villages spread across Ramgarh. Come rain or shine, reaching their students is an absolute priority.
Even amidst the COVID crisis, they continued on. They weren’t just teachers anymore; overnight, their roles morphed into wellness facilitators. They would visit their communities and raise awareness surrounding COVID and the vaccine, while simultaneously supporting SPECTRA’s Social Protection efforts in partnership with CAC. “We held regular meetings in the community, discussing their apprehensions towards the vaccine, addressing their concerns around COVID and also helping them access Social Protection Schemes like the e-SHRAM card and Public Distribution System (PDS).” shared Anita. The communities were largely unaware of the different Government schemes they could access; this was the case across the villages. These teachers served as a connection, ensuring the last mile access to what is rightfully theirs. For Usha and many others, accessing these schemes didn’t just help the community, they also helped them personally.
Isha had been assigned a village where the locals were from a minority background. “I would go every day and talk to them, they trusted me. I talked about the importance of the vaccine and how it would help keep COVID at bay. It wasn’t easy convincing them. One of the community members passed away after taking the vaccine due to another reason, and everyone got scared.”
Many of the teachers themselves were reluctant to take the vaccine and feared the worst, but with proper training and awareness, they took it upon themselves to ensure their communities and their families were safe.
For the teachers of Ramgarh, the communities they work in are their second family. “I don’t want the people in my community to fall behind. We’re educated, but so many in my community aren’t. I can’t just leave them, so I go daily and ensure they are aware.” shares Nirmala.