Category Archive : ACORN India

ACORN International’s global response to the COVID-19 Pandemic – Mumbai to British Columbia

At the outset of the now-ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, over a dozen chapters, branches, and affiliate organizations of ACORN International issued a global call for the social protection of low-income families and individuals. The collective call urged a global response and for a guarantee of social justice from every national state by cancelling rent debt, protecting renters from eviction, and guaranteeing a minimum crisis income for all families in need.

ACORN continues to call upon us to imagine forms of global social protection. In this time when the costs of the next pandemics and the climate crisis accumulate on a global scale, social protection should be thought globally as well.

Across the globe, ACORN International chapters, branches, and affiliate organizations mobilized members for mutual support, health and safety, and member defense.

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New Documentary on the work of ACORN in India

Produced by ACORN Foundation India September 2022

Hanumanti Ramchandra Chalwadi has worked in the waste recycling sector in Dharavi, Mumbai, for over 40 years. She started out as a waste collector and separated recyclables from the city’s garbage. Later, she set up and ran her own waste sorting business for many years, which has a cumulative worth of Rs. 1 crore (0.12 million USD). A single mother, she raised her children on her own, and in this short documentary, she talks about her life and the challenges of being a woman waste entrepreneur.

For ACORN India Black Friday is #MakeAmazonPay day

On Black Friday, join workers and activists around the world as we mobilize to #MakeAmazonPay.

Amazon workers paid for Jeff Bezos to go space. On 26 November, they are demanding justice — and asking you to join them: MakeAmazonPay.com

Amazon could give each of its workers a Covid-19 bonus of $690,000 — and still be as rich as the start of the pandemic. 

On Black Friday, join workers and activists around the world as we mobilize to #MakeAmazonPay.

Many of you are ready to mobilize on Black Friday. If you want to organize too and haven’t yet, do get in touch! Action materials can be found here, and we can connect you with other organizations in your country. If you cannot organize but want to show your solidarity and support, please do amplify the #MakeAmazonPay message and materials on social media.

ACORN India: Dharavi Rocks releases new music video, “Vaada Karo”

ACORN India affiliate Dharavi Rocks, located in Mumbai, has recently released a new song with singer Suneeta Rao and musician Dhruv Ghanekar.

The new song was inspired by a study which linked climate change to a rising risk of pandemics, particularly in vulnerable communities. The song is an appeal to take care of our planet as well as each other, and calls for mindfulness about public safety during the COVID-19 crisis.

ACORN India, COVID relief in India, COVID crisis in India
The ongoing COVID crisis in India has affected some of the country’s most vulnerable communities, who are also affected by climate change.

As singer and lyricist Suneeta Rao states, “Climate Change is a problem that threaten us all…no matter what country or belief system we belong to. It is time we looked after one another and ourselves… It’s time we realized what is most important…and what it means to be Human.”

Rao has also stated that all surplus funds from the new song will be directed to ACORN India.

Dharavi Rocks is an educational music and dance project initiated by ACORN Foundation, which focuses on the welfare of slum children and waste collectors by introducing them to creative outlets like music and dance in order to pass on and encourage valuable life skills.

Watch the new video featuring the Dharavi Rocks band below:


If you’re interested in supporting Dharavi Rocks and ACORN India, click the button or check out the information provided on the flyer below.

ACORN India, COVID relief in India, COVID crisis in India

ACORN India: Vaccines and PPE distribution as COVID Relief efforts continue

ACORN India organizers prepare to distribute rations to communities affected by COVID-19

From providing resources like reliable taxi services to quarantine isolation centers, to handing out food rations and speaking out against police malpractice, ACORN India has been hard at work as organizers mobilized quickly as the COVID crisis worsened within the country.

Dharmendra Kumar, of the ACORN India affiliate Hawkers’ Joint Action Committee, reported that they have received more than 250 calls in the last two weeks from community members, and are providing relief services that include distributing food kits, registering people for the COVID vaccine, helping with applications for credit assistance from the government, and offering counseling to patients with COVID.

Food kits provide valuable resources such as kitchen staples and PPE masks

Farther south in Bengaluru, organizers have reported that they’ve distributed 200 food kits — approximately 14,000 meals — as well as additional food and hygiene kits in Hebbal and Yelahanka areas. ACORN members also received services such as credit application assistance, and some informal workers also received their official ACORN ID cards. ID cards have been an especially difficult aspect of COVID for informal workers and migrant laborers, who previously needed them in order to receive food rations from the government before the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana loosened restrictions. These governments also recently announced that they would open a community kitchen and begin advertisements for places that would assist stranded migrant laborers.


Although the government of India has begun to provide a modicum of COVID relief, ACORN India still needs your help!

Check out the link below to donate, or get involved through the information on the flyer.

ACORN India, COVID relief in India, COVID crisis in India

ACORN India: Food donations to vendors continues

ACORN India, COVID relief in India, COVID crisis in India

As India grapples with the latest surge in COVID-19 cases, ACORN India members and affiliates have stepped in to provide resources to local communities in need.

In Bengaluru, organizers helped distribute food kits to approximately 100 vendors, many of whom are out of work due to the pandemic. These kits include kitchen staples and dry rations, as well as PPE equipment.

A standard dry-ration kit with PPE products, meant to last for 1 week for a family of 5

Although informal workers make up nearly 93% of India’s working population, they are still a relatively unprotected and vulnerable group. Dharmendra Kumar, member of the Hawkers’ Joint Action Committee in Delhi, was quoted in the press recently speaking of the lack of adequate medical supplies:

As far as street vendors are concerned, with most of them being migrants, there are not many people here whom they can approach for assistance – especially in today’s time when even the well-off groups are finding themselves helpless.

ACORN India, COVID relief in India, COVID crisis in India

ACORN India needs your help. If you are interested in donating to our organizers, click the link below:

ACORN India: Speaking out against police misconduct during COVID lockdown

As the newest wave of COVID continues to affect communities throughout India, ACORN India members are speaking out against police misconduct, which is disproportionally affecting vulnerable communities.

ACORN India was recently featured in one of the country’s most popular newspapers. Dharmendra Kumar, of the ACORN India affiliate and nonprofit Janhapal, spoke about the circumstances of the most recent wave in India, and how it affects the most vulnerable communities.

“Our ground experience shows police target the poor, marginalized and those who cannot speak up…

As micro-containment zones are being set up and markets shut, the police are in charge on the streets. On the pretext of pandemic policing they victimize hawkers, pedestrians and the poor,”

– Telegraph India

Local police have been scrutinized for using arbitrary and heavy-handed tactics against marginalized communities under the guise of COVID violations. In one study, cases against pedestrians increased from 50 per cent in the first lockdown to 89 per cent during the third lockdown.


As the COVID crisis in India continues, ACORN India and affiliates are stepping in to help marginalized and vulnerable communities. Donate to ACORN India here, or check out the information below.

ACORN India, COVID relief in India, COVID crisis in India

ACORN India Delhi: Organizers ramp up support for communities amid COVID wave

Janpahal, RIST, ACORN India, COVID crisis in India

As India remains gripped in the latest coronavirus upsurge, members of ACORN India have stepped in around the country to provide food supplies, resources, and quarantine support.

In Delhi, contract workers were recently granted two months of food rations after a push from nonprofit groups like ACORN India to provide resources for informal workers and those left behind by the government during the pandemic.

Despite these measures, communities affected by COVID are still in need. As Hawkers Joint Action Committee and ACORN ally Dharmendra Kumar points out:

“Later generations of migrants do not have documentation in Delhi or the place of origin. Government schemes generally favour property owners, and without their cooperation you can’t get a ration card. Most people eligible for rations are tenants.”

Telegraph India

ACORN India, in affiliation with Rural India Supporting Trust (RIST) and the nonprofit Janpahal, has stepped in to provide additional support.

RIST, Janpahal, ACORN India, COVID crisis in India
ACORN India has been providing additional food rations to families in need during the COVID crisis

ACORN India has also been coordinating efforts and community outreach through a COVID Handbook, which details the testing centers, local hospital information, and traceable contacts for cab drivers who can be called on to transport members of the community to COVID testing sites. This handbook also shares information on a tip hotline for reporting scams related to COVID, such as fake medicine, ambulance pricing scams, and cases of oxygen hoarding.

Despite their efforts, ACORN India cannot fight COVID alone. If you’re interested in helping out our organizers, check out the link below:

ACORN India: Informal workers seek support as Delhi prepares for another lockdown

ACORN India, WPC, Working Peoples' Charter

As New Delhi prepares for another lockdown, street vendors and informal works are often the ones who pay the highest price.

Dharmendra Kumar, member of the Delhi chapter of Hawkers’ Joint Action Committee, an ACORN affiliate, recently spoke about the lack of adequate medical supplies:

This shortage is across the city and predictably the marginalised groups are the most affected. As far as street vendors are concerned, with most of them being migrants, there are not many people here whom they can approach for assistance – especially in today’s time when even the well-off groups are finding themselves helpless.

Kumar was also quoted as urging the Modi government to provide a one-time cash assistance to workers who are hardest hit by the pandemic.

To support the Hawker’s Joint Action Committee, check out the link below to donate.

ACORN India on the BBC: How Dharavi Coped with Coronavirus

BBC featured an update on the pandemic in Dharavi, where public health programs and aid from organizations such as ACORN have helped decrease infections and deaths. As one of the most intensely packed places on earth, it is incredibly positive news to see that cases and deaths are down. Local leaders attribute this to local health workers who know the slum well and are able to go door to door, and aid from NGO’s and civil society.

“I would put this down to about 6,000 health workers combing every street, doing tests…since they know the slums, they are able to track all the cases,” says ACORN organizer Vinod Shetty. “It’s mainly been civil society and NGO’s which are responsible for the feeding of the whole of Dharavi and the kind of support that was given at the worst possible time. It was civil society, social network of organizations that rose to the occasion and kept the kitchens running.”

Listen to the full story on the BBC.


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