This year we will be moving into a new rural community called Vemavaram in Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the sea coastal communities with a population of around 450 families. We will be collaborating with Chaitanya Educational Rural Development Society to learn more about the citizens, surrounding areas, and be able to implement our projects here.
Agriculture and allied sectors such as the dairy industry are a large source of income for the Citizens.
According to a 2011 census:
In Vemavaram, out of total population, 1148 were engaged in work activities. 89.11 % of workers describe their work as Main Work (Employment or Earning more than 6 Months) while 10.89 % were involved in Marginal activity providing livelihood for less than 6 months. Of 1148 workers engaged in Main Work, 170 were cultivators (owner or co-owner) while 774 were Agricultural labourer.
There is a primary school in Vemavaram which 60 children attend. Classes 1st through 5tth are conducted here for children of the ages 4-11 years. Zillah Parishath Highschool conducts classes 6th through 10th for the ages of 10 to 16 years.
According to a 2011 census:
Vemavaram has lower literacy rate compared to Andhra Pradesh. In 2011, literacy rate of Vemavaram was 61.38 % compared to 67.02 % of Andhra Pradesh. In Vemavaram Male literacy stands at 71.12 % while female literacy rate was 51.72 %.
There are about 120 families with a fiber net connection facility in Vemavaram. The facility provides 300GB data and some free TV channels. This costs Rs.300 per family per month and an additional Rs.3,500 as installation charges.
Since the lockdown the farmers have been unable to sell or produce crops, and have lost much of their income. Many of the skilled workers in the community (construction workers, shop workers, electricians, carpenters, barbers, painters, etc) relied on traveling to nearby communities and cities to work for higher wages and better opportunities. Lockdown has restricted these activities and caused more of a loss in income.
It is difficult for the citizens to access vital goods and services which is heavily impacting their daily lives. With little to no transportation and mobility to other towns, or even hospitals, many citizens are stuck without getting the help and supplies they need.
Mingling and interacting with other citizens and neighbors is mostly how they socialize. The use of smartphones and social media is not common, so the lack of this interaction is also affecting the mental health of many people.
Due to the lack of knowledge of COVID, many citizens are not aware of the proper protocols on sanitizing and social distancing. Stigma has also developed around COVID and some citizens have begun to hide their COVID symptoms in fear of being separated from their family and friends.