A team of researchers from the University’s Centre for Development Studies are calling on the University community to support their fundraising efforts to provide supplies for the communities they work closely with in India who are currently heavily affected by COVID-19.

The team behind ‘WorkFREE’ – a five-year research project exploring the impact of unconditional cash transfers for people living in Hyderabad’s slums – would ordinarily be in India but, due to COVID, are instead turning their attention to raising funds for the people they work with.

They aim to raise £45,000, enough to provide essential kits to support the basic needs of 466 families for three months. The kits include dry food rations, protective masks and gloves, and basic medical supplies; each one costs roughly £35 per month.

Coordinator of the fundraising drive, and researcher on the WorkFREE project, Dr Joel Lazarus explained: “As we are all aware from our television screens, the second wave of the Covid pandemic is bringing untold suffering to millions of people across India. For the families we work with, Covid has brought not just sickness and death, but further destitution: it is having a disastrous effect in so many ways.

“At this point in our project we planned to be in India, working with these communities to learn more about the potential for cash transfers to empower individuals and their families, but obviously we cannot be there. We are responding by doing what we can to support our research partner communities in their hour of greatest need.

“We are asking you, the wider Bath community, to help us to provide this most urgent support by donating to and sharing our campaign widely. Our local NGO partner, Montfort Social Institute, has been working with our partner communities for over a decade, so they are ready to distribute the essential kits. Your money really will make a huge difference to the lives of these families.”

You can find more about their fundraising efforts here https://milaap.org/fundraisers/support-communities-of-garbage-collectors.

The WorkFREE project is funded by the European Research Council and the team are working alongside colleagues at the Montfort Social Institute (MSI). The project is focused on waste collector communities living in Hyderabad’s slums to explore possibilities of empowerment and transformation through a combination of Unconditional Basic Income and Participatory Action Research.