Kala was person #5000 in the vaccination program carried out by Shanti Ashram and supported by the “A Vaccine for All” campaign through the operational coordination of the AMU. The campaign’s efforts continue thanks to the support of all donors.
“I know I am vulnerable because I am 60 years old, I am elderly, and I have many risk factors converging in my life!”
Seeing life slowly pick up and being able to reach more and more vaccinations is also a recognition of the intensive work Shanti Ashram has carried out over the past year to engage the most vulnerable people. Not only people with economic difficulties, poor people living on the margins and without any access to health services, but also the elderly, transgender communities, single parents with dependent children, and people and families living with diseases such as HIV, diabetes, and hypertension.
Kala, 60, is patient number 5,000 who received the Covid-19 vaccine in May thanks to Shanti Ashram and its International Center for Child and Public Health (ICPH) in Coimbatore. This is a good sign for rural India, one of the areas affected by the pandemic that still has difficulty reaching the entire population with vaccinations.
Kurichi, a village on the outskirts of Coimbatore city, has been one of ICPH and Shanti Ashram’s service villages since 1986. In this village lives Kala. A widow, she lives with her son, wife and grandchildren in a small dwelling. She was singled out by the community outreach team because she was at risk not only because of her age and health status, but also because, running a small grocery store, her daily exposure to people was significant.
During the worst times of the Pandemic at Covid19 they lived hand-to-mouth, and although things are improving, their existence is still very difficult, precisely because of the permanence of the epidemic.
“Poverty is real for us. It is a lived experience. My son works a day job, and the constant closures have not only put my son and my income in crisis, but also pushed us into a deep depression.
Many women in our neighborhood died from COVID 19 infection, leaving behind young children. The fear was not only that of the virus. It was also fear of death, isolation, the unknown nature of the virus and its rapid spread to all family members.”
Kala skeptically attended an awareness session in Kurichi of all places. There she discovered the assistance also provided by “A Vaccine for All” and of the protection offered by the vaccine. When she became aware of the importance of vaccination, she became the No. 5000 person to receive the vaccine.
“After taking both doses of the COVID 19 vaccine, my family and I are safe and can continue our daily activities. Fortunately, thanks to the information and help from ICPH and Shanti Ashram, my family and I were able to get fully vaccinated. Now, with the vaccination certificate, we are able to go to the market to buy and sell products. This has definitely improved our livelihood.”