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Zorg van de Zaak Foundation helps prevent massive corona contamination in Northeast India
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2 February 2021

Zorg van de Zaak Foundation helps prevent massive corona contamination in Northeast India

In April 2020, the tea plantations in Assam (Northeast India) were immediately high risk areas for the spread of the coronavirus. Most of the workers work and live in close proximity to each other. Water-wells, where a lot of people are present at the same time, are used everywhere. Additionally, during rain season (April to September), high humidity makes it easier for diseases to spread. Luckily, almost a year later, the coronavirus itself has hardly managed to get a grip on the 150.000 people working on the 25 tea plantations. Partly thanks to financial support from Zorg van de Zaak Foundation, thousands of families were informed on ways prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In this article, Dhiraj Kakati (APPL Foundation) and Jayanta Sarmah (manager on a plantation) talk about how the investment has helped their approach. 

Dhiraj Kakati works at APPL Foundation: this foundation commits to people working on the tea plantations. Partly thanks to support from Zorg van de Zaak Foundation, thousands of families have received information. ‘We put up posters everywhere and made youtube clips to make people aware of the new situation,’ Kakati says. ‘Visiting people and holding information meetings for small groups proved especially effective.’

 Improvement of hygiene and sanitation

A team of doctors, educators and social workers visited the tea plantations during the last few months in order to elucidate the new measures. According to Kakati, a lot of progress was made in improving hygiene and sanitation. Most women have learned to wash their hands before and after cooking. Furthermore, cleansed water is now being used everywhere.

Local effort and an effective combination

Jayanta Sarmah is a manager on the Bhelaguri tea plantation: ‘ We ensure that educators live on the tea plantations themselves. As a result, their stories are understood earlier and more easily. Everybody now washes their hands and wears masks outside. Additionally, flower gardens are being built around the houses to keep the environment even cleaner.’

Kakati attributes the succes of the last months to the improved hygiene, the discipline with which people commit themselves and the strength of the education campaigns. ‘And we had the advantage of really good weather. When the rain season starts in April, we will have to see of we can maintain our success.’

Support to increase living standards

In Assam, over 30% of the population still lives below the poverty line. Zorg van de Zaak Foundation supports the work of APPL Foundation in order to change this. One example is the financial support with which APPL Foundation was able to inform people on preventing the spread of the coronavirus.