Riding out the pandemic away from home

Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | September 5

 When Benchu Jemu landed her first job in Delhi this February, little did she expect that a month later, everybody she knew would be rushing back home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite just settling in to a new environment, she chose to carry on with her new job.

Likewise, there are several people from the State choosing to ride out the pandemic away from home despite difficulties.

Many have made this decision due to fear of losing their employment and the lack of opportunities back home.  

Speaking to The Morung Express, 21-year-old Jemu from Tesophenyu village says, “everybody wanted to go back home — friends and people I knew, but I decided to stay back. They all advised that I should go back too, but I told them that if you take care of yourself, there is nothing to be scared of. I came here to learn and until and unless I get my experience, I am not going back.”

Jemu is a matriculate who was trained by E-Centric Solutions Pvt Ltd under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY), a sponsored programme under the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) as a part of National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM). 

The programme exclusively focuses on rural youth between 15 and 35 years of age from poor families. Nagaland state, which has been allocated a target of training 9,060 rural youths by 2022, has so far trained 1,521 and placed 545 of them across the country. 

Jemu, who is currently placed at the E-Centric Solutions Pvt Ltd Head Office, New Delhi, says the DDU-GKY training has empowered her. 

Akhrieno Pochury, who is based in Gujarat, meanwhile admits that during the pandemic she also wanted to go home but did not want to burden her family. Having lost both her parents at a tender age, she, along with her brother (presently in Chennai) are the only earning members in the family and were previously both trained by Pinnacle Skills.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has not affected her job, there are other challenges. She has had to face racial slurs and overcome such situations. As a Housekeeping Supervisor in a hotel, she likes her job. Pochury, who dropped out of school while in Class 10 due to family issues, is from New Thewati village and encourages her juniors to “show professionalism in whatever field they choose.”

Tsumezoba from Khar village under Mokokchung district, who got his placement in January this year at a restaurant in Bangalore, says “lockdown happened but our work didn’t stop.” The 23- year-old, who quit his studies after passing Class X due to family issues, is a steward at the restaurant. 

“We are being provided with food and accommodation, and they treat us like their own”, informs Tsumezoba, who was trained by Gyanjyoti Foundation Pvt Ltd.

For Kenehaube from Old Jalukie village, it has been a learning experience ever since he landed in Noida in May 2019.

With the onset of the global pandemic, there were calls for him to return home. He however says: “there are already so many returnees and I believe that one day or the other, this disease will also go away.”

His current job role involves production of ear phones. “Nagaland has no industries, but whatever I learn here, I can always come back and be able to teach and share the knowledge,” he expresses. He was previously trained by the Nagaland Tool Room and Training Centre (NTTC).

Imsulong from Meküli village under Mokokchung district is currently based in Gujarat and has been working as a customer service provider for eBay since April 2019.

 “I studied up to class 12 and was pursuing my BA but left college and was tutoring a few students before the training and placement,” he informs. He was also trained by E-Centric Solutions Pvt Ltd. 

“My parents were also worried with the pandemic, but even if I go back to Nagaland, there is no job there, and I won’t be able to earn money”, he reasons.

Imtimenla, Joint Secretary, RD & Mission Director of NSRLM emphasises on the need to encourage rural based young people to go out and do what they have to do in order to earn a livelihood. 

“We have a safety mechanism of post placement and alumni support where we track candidates who are placed outside for up to one year before they are on their own.” With a robust tracking system, the state mission is also planning to come out with two migration centres in Delhi and Bangalore for the candidates placed outside, she informs.

Rural youths interested in the DDU-GKY Programme may call or WhatsApp at 6009692907 during office hours for any information or query.