A Catalyst For the Voiceless

Supporting the migrants in the time of crisis

© Jowett

Around 147 migrant workers from Bangalore were set to travel to Orissa in four buses. A day they had been eagerly waiting for. They were carpenters, garment factory workers, and so on. A few students from New Life Bible College had helped them raise funds and arrange this transportation. But they needed help on the way as they had exhausted all the money.

Jowett, a pastor in Hosur, got a WhatsApp message asking if they can get help. Immediately, he posted this need in the “Love the Migrant Worker” WhatsApp group, which had started a couple of days back. He persistently followed up on this need. I was in the group and was amazed at his concern for them. As soon as he posted the need, people began to respond. Denny from Vijayawada — a member of the WhatsApp group — served the migrant labourers snacks, fruits, and water when the buses reached there. His big regret was that he could not provide them lunch; the response time was too short.

Sujeet, another member of the group from Tuni (Andhra Pradesh), served them dinner that evening with funds he received from friends in Hyderabad. All this while, Jowett was coordinating from Hosur until all of them reached their villages. The next day after hearing that all of them reached their destination, he personally thanked all the “strangers” who had helped them.

Though there were not many around him to help reach the migrant workers in Hosur, he went to the railway station alone and distributed around 9,000 masks with the funds raised from friends and family.

Soon after that, he heard from another member in the WhatsApp group that the NALSAR University of Law was willing to help pay for migrant workers’ travel. He got in touch with them and asked if they could help around 50 migrants in Kolar and Hosur who wanted to go back to Raipur. These people were working in an atta factory, and brick kiln. NALSAR agreed to his proposal. With the help of a few youths from his church, Jowett did all the documentation for them along with another member in this group from Kolar.

The most surprising part was that NALSAR decided to fly the migrants from Bangalore to Raipur. The migrants were overwhelmed. “I saw this as a gesture to honor the migrants for their service” said Jowett.

“I saw this as a gesture to honor the migrants for their service.”

Whenever I saw Jowett’s message in the group, I saw a champion for the unknown, unacknowledged, almost invisible workforce. He was indeed a voice to the voiceless.

Jowett is also a business consultant, and his wife Joanna is a counseling psychologist and a Christian minister. They have two sons Nathan and Elijah. In their church in Hosur, they have been taking care of 65 families by providing rations during the lockdown.

© Jowett

Follow “Loving the migrant worker” blog for more such stories.

Loving the migrant worker is a network of volunteers and NGOs across over 50 cities in India serving daily wagers and migrant workers who are on the move.

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Mark Raja

Mark Raja

Product designer, Systems thinker, Creative catalyst, Amateur writer, Father, Husband