Volume 14, Issue 6, 2020

Special Edition: COVID-19 Life Beyond, 30 September 2020


Guest Editor: Dr Venkat Pulla

Foundation Professor, Brisbane Institute of Strengths Based Practice, Senior Research Fellow, (Adjunct) ILWS, Charles Sturt University, Sessional Academic CDU and JCU




As Humanity copes through a Pandemic
Dr. Venkat Pulla, September, 2020 Special Edition of IJICC, UK

The media began addressing the COVID 19, in January 2020.  A report was circulated of a new respiratory virus spreading in Wuhan, China. By the 1st February, 14.3K cases were said to be counted in major cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai. The virus travelled from China all over the world. The world began to unfold a new pandemic as countries in Europe, North America and Africa declared their first cases. The World Health Organisation declared a global health emergency on 30th January, and on 11th March, the WHO elevated the emergency to a pandemic. In March, 2020 It was estimated that 20% of the global population was living with restricted movement. Fast forward to nine months to September 7th as I write this editorial comment, 27,296,303 people have been affected and 887,599 deaths have taken place (Worldometer, 2020).  Hundreds and thousands died in European nations and continue to die in USA and UK, India and Brazil.  Several thousands died before the world took this seriously. Pages 1 to 7




Covid 19: Opportunity to Re-Imagine Education Globally Responding to the Call for Innovation, Creativity and Change

Prof CC Wolhutera, aComparative and International Education Professor, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa, Email: aCharl.Wolhuter@nwu.ac.za

The thesis of this article is that education has come to be seen by humanity as the solution to every societal problem and challenge since the middle of the twentieth century.  Education systems are also notorious for remaining stuck in archaic patterns that may not keep up with the demands of the current age.  Historically, societal disruptions have presented opportunities for fundamental change.  This article argues that the global societal disruption brought about by the Corona (Covid-19) pandemic should be utilised to re-imagine and redesign education.  While the primary change should involve organising education institution systems and institutions to allow for creativity, in order to replace the historical motive of submissiveness and the conformity. The exigencies of the twenty-first century require a host of other changes as well.  Changes should be affected on all aspects of education, such as access, enrolments, equality globally and indeed the pandemic has starkly signalled the strong need for such changes. Pages 8 to 18.




Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Nepali Migrant Returnees amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Binay Jung Thapa, Jeevan Baniya, Sadikshya Bhattarai and Vibhav Pradhan, Social Science Baha, Kathmandu, Nepal.

COVID-19 has deeply disrupted society and the economy throughout the world, making it one of the greatest disasters in the history of humankind which has severely impacted the workforce, especially the most vulnerable migrant workers around the globe. Drawing on the two studies that the authors were involved in titled COVID-19 and Nepali Labour Migrants: Impact and Responses, and Rights of Nepali Migrant Workers in the Clutches of the COVID-19 Pandemic, this article specifically describes the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on Nepali migrant workers overseas. It also delves into responses from the state in the economic and psychosocial reintegration and rehabilitation of returning migrant workers. With the initial response to the virus being characterised by a distinct unpreparedness on Nepal’s part, the rationale of this article is to present Nepal’s experience in the response to the reintegration of migrant workers after their return to Nepal. Migrant workers in the destination countries have lost their jobs and income, and are facing wage theft, ill treatments, forced deportation and stigmatisation, among others. Thousands of Nepali migrants have returned from several countries particularly India, Malaysia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries namely, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates after losing their jobs. A large proportion of these migrants are unskilled or low skilled workers engaged in elementary and blue-collar occupations such as labourers, cleaners or as sales and service-related workers. The remittance sent by these workers however is responsible for more than one-fourth of the country’s GDP since 2012. As the jobs of these workers have been hard hit by the pandemic, it has directly impacted the economy of the country. Similar to the experiences of many countries globally, Nepal is also experiencing an overwhelmingly large scale reverse migration which has further undermined the preparation for and complicated the rehabilitation and reintegration of the returnees into society even more complicated for the Nepali migrants. The paper highlights the possibilities for effective and efficient reintegration of the returnee migrants into Nepali society through the current backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic. Pages 19 to 36




 COVID-19 study of Zulu people’s coping and resilience in the pandemic       

Jabulani D. Thwalaa, Caroll Hermannb, Michelle Edwardsc, David J. Edwardsd, and Stephen D. Edwardse, Psychology Department, University of Zululand, Private Bag X1001, Kwa Dlangezwa 3886, South Africa. Email: esdedward@telkomsa.net, eprofsdedwards@gmail.com

Indigenous knowledge systems across planet earth have traditionally honoured life as a deeply interconnected whole. Similar to other African communities, Zulu people have long recognized that survival depends on harmonious social and ecological relationships. To prevent disorder and chaos, people are expected to work at maintaining harmony, especially through ancestral consciousness and socially coherent relationships as epitomized in the internationally recognized concept of Ubuntu, which ultimately implies that meaning in life is only possible through human relationships.South Africa is presently in lockdown with regulated social distancing, frequent hand washing and or sanitization as well as wearing of masks. The research question therefore arose as to how traditional Zulu people would experience coping with COVID-19 if denied normal social relationships, which constitute an existential pillar of existence and customary way of life?  This exploratory study, was conducted at the University of Zululand and in adjacent rural areas populated by traditional Zulu people. A survey type questionnaire technique was motivated by the consideration that the consciousness raised by persons’ considering their coping experiences would be intrinsically therapeutic. Raw data was subjected to three levels of analysis. Firstly, NVivo and MAXQDA analyses provided a course sieve for further thematic analysis. Secondly eleven emerging themes were independently elicited by two researchers. Thirdly final themes were consensually validated, integrated and relevant examples chosen for this report.  Respective, rank-ordered, overlapping coping themes involved people, action, culture, time, home, technology, COVID-19, life, family, rules and world.  Participants generally indicated resilient, adaptive, coping responses. The COVID-19 pandemic was recognized for its danger and treated appropriately, especially through human, communal, cultural, ecological and spiritual relationships. In addition, participants actively used contemporary resources, communicating via cell phones, enjoying online church services, and continuing studies through learning programs.  Relevant future suggestions were advanced for managing the pandemic. Pages 37 to 50




Tourism in the New Normal Era: a Perspective of Bali Tourism Actors

Tri Anggraini Prajnawrdhi, Email: anggieprajnawrdhi@unud.ac.id

COVID 19 pandemic has changed various settings of human life in most countries around the globe.  World Health Organization has stated this COVID 19 as a global pandemic since this virus has attacked most of countries. Various sectors were affected by this COVID 19 pandemic, especially in tourism. Bali, which is already known as one of the world's famous tourist destinations, was devastated due to this condition. Prohibition for most people around the globe not to travel and stay at home to minimize the spread of the virus has killed various tourism businesses especially in Bali. Various events that will be held in Bali have been canceled until unspecified limit of time. But now, the Indonesian government has issued regulations on the implementation of new normal for all activities in Indonesia include tourism activities. This new normal will be applied in gradual time and will followed by review of each step, to make sure if the implementation of new normal suitable with the current condition. This paper will explain how the perspective of tourism actors if the new normal policy is carried out in Bali. What are the strategies of tourism actors to be able to revive tourism industry in Bali? How the capability of Bali government to support tourism industry in Bali in new normal era? Data obtained by open ended questionnaire from tourism actors in eight regencies of Bali and government bodies are processed in a quantitative content analysis using NVivo 12. The results show that Government of Bali and tourism actors must develop specific strategies which have their own uniqueness in order to make tourism in Bali remains attractive to foreign tourists and sustainable for the future. Pages 51 to 70




A Glimpse into the Inner World of Educators and Children during COVID-19

Dr. Shiri Hergassa, Email: ashiri.hergass@gmail.com

In order to have a complete narratological understanding of the impact of Covid-19 on society, it is important to give voice to the voiceless, to get a glimpse of the inner world of those whom will be the future of our society – our vulnerable pre-school children, and their educators. Examining the reactions of Australian children, by understanding their artwork can help to illuminate their emotions and feelings, and perhaps allow for development of methods to help them process the stress and traumatic events they are experiencing. Stories and art works were accumulated from preschools in the South and Central Coast of NSW using the Seasonal Model. The Seasonal Model was devised and developed over some twenty years by the author, an experienced art therapist and clinical social worker. More specifically, the Seasonal Model is an articulated art therapy process designed to work with people affected by trauma. The model was piloted in a preschool with a significant number of children and educators affected by trauma or vicarious traumatisation. The artworks and reflections used in this article have been collected over the last six months during weekly reflections with educators as part of the facilitation of art groups for children in preschools using the Seasonal Model. Findings provide insight into how children and educators alike are reacting to the current global pandemic, issues facing educators working with children who have experienced trauma , as well as the issues facing educators who are experiencing vicarious traumatisation, allowing for a more complete understanding of the effects of Covid-19 on children. Pages 71 to 88




Reimagining the future of disability post the COVID-19 crisis

Rachel Lafaina, aUniversity of South Australia

COVID-19 has presented unprecedented challenges for people with disabilities across Australia, with spikes in anxiety, depression, neglect, domestic violence and even death. The majority of disability service providers have stripped community-based supports to “essential services”, with practically no alternatives offered for community participation, recreation, social or emotional support. People who have had choice and control over their lives have now had their liberties trampled on, with little attention paid to their social and emotional wellbeing. This paper utilises the social model of disability to explore the various responses to COVID-19 restrictions by disability service providers & workers in South Australia. One of the objectives of this paper is also to briefly present the historical context of disability care in South Australia with a view to link to the current COVID-19 conditions. Using an interpretivist view, this paper reflects on the situations where workers have found creative and innovative ways to bridge the gap in face to face service provision and the COVID-19 restrictions. This paper will also discuss situations where people were involuntarily left at home alone to manage without their usual wellbeing supports. This paper’s findings will have some direct and profound implications on service delivery options for people living in rural and remote areas of Australia who may have little or no access to quality disability services. An additional element in this paper is to reflect on qualitative data drawn from informal interviews  with service providers, workers and people with disabilities, and those reflections are further supplemented by electronic, print and social media; providing a narrative of South Australian’s living with disabilities during COVID-19. Pages 89 to 104




Pandemic in Iran: Psychosocial Issues and Social Work Response

Seyyed Hassan Mousavi Chelaka, Amir Moghanibashi-Mansouriehb, Abbasali Yazdanic, Iran Association of Social Workers, & Department of Social Work, University of Social Welfare & Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran, Email: bamir.moghani@yahoo.com

Iran has been among the first countries to be struck by coronavirus which has affected different sections of society in Iran particularly the vulnerable sections who are also the social work target groups. The evidence in Iran suggests higher levels of anxiety experienced by women, corona news trackers, infected families as well as those who are 21 to 40 years old. Since the beginning of COVID-19, social workers in Iran have taken various measures to respond to the crisis at the policy and practice levels. Social workers have made multiple efforts including production of corona virus content and using its specialized knowledge to help service providers; stigma reduction; cooperation in developing protocols on psychosocial care for the people diagnosed with coronavirus in hospitals and those recovered; providing service resources; using advocacy for designing appropriate and effective interventions for prisoners, street children and the homeless; and holding specialized meetings with local or national authorities. Iran Association of Social Workers (IASW) was directly involved in holding meetings with social workers on the ethical aspects, launching “I Have Good News” campaign, and acting as an intermediary between charities and donors. IASW also initiated a volunteering social work professional supervisory plan targeting the field social workers. Due to the geographical, ethnic and cultural diversity of Iranian society, IASW based on the ecological perspective, has used the capacity of provincial branches whose social workers offer services in hospitals both for staff and their families and individualized services to the clients. Several hotlines have been set up to offer psychological and counseling services by social workers and psychologists. There are challenges including insufficient workforce of field professionals trained to work in crisis situations as well as absence of research on their efficiency. Overall, we have confronted an unprecedented situation which can be an opportunity for social work profession in Iran to use all existing capacities, strengths and resources to engage with the underserved individuals, families and communities. Pages 105 to 115




 COVID-19 under Left-wing Populist Nepali Government

Raj Yadava, Amit Yadavb, aUniversity of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, b Orchid International College, Nepal, Email: aRyadav@usc.edu.au, bAmit.sowk@gmail.com

Has left-wing populist Nepali government worsened Covid-19 situations in Nepal? While evidences suggest that right-wing populist leaders across the world have performed much worse, it is still unclear that how left-wing populist leaders have responded to Covid-19. Hence, drawing on critical narrative inquiry method, this study discusses the intersectionality of left-wing populist government and ongoing Covid-19 situations in Nepal. Data drawn from multiple sources, for example, opinion and editorial pieces, social media, government official documents, reports from non-government agencies, and personal communication, suggest that left-wing populist Nepali government has been detrimental to respond and manage Covid-19 in Nepal. Clearly more studies are required as Covid-19 is not over; notwithstanding, this study that was conducted within limited time of span found that left-wing populism poses a grave risk not only to manage Covid-19 but also to respond to the social, economic, and political impacts resulting from Covid-19. Pages 116 to 129




On Universalising and Indigenising the Meaning and Practice of Love post COVID-19

Sabelo A. Nxumalo1, Stephen D. Edwards2*, 1School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pinetown, 3605, South Africa, 2University of Zululand, Private Bag X1001, KwaDlangezwa, 3886, South Africa, Email: *sdedward@telkomsa.net

The central argument of this scholarly work may be unpacked in terms of ontological, axiological and epistemological themes. Ontologically, it is argued that COVID-19 may well continue to be a required catalyst for planetary survival, interconnectedness and collaboration for health promotion and sustainable ecology. The axiological theme is that COVID-19 reminds humanity of the vital importance of the everyday practice of love, regarded as an ultimate human value in many wisdom traditions. Epistemologically, it is argued that knowledge of love requires both universalisation and indigenisation.  The particular aim of this paper is to present indigenous isiZulu concepts for different types of love and to describe aspects of isiZulu culture, norms and practices in which these constructs have their deepest manifestations. In a specific attempt to contribute to the body of knowledge, and to universalise and decolonise love constructs by drawing on isiZulu culture, we explore the following question: What contributions do African, particularly Zulu, cultural views make to the theory and practice of love after COVID-19?We draw on two theories for our framework: Lee’s (1976) colour wheel theory of love and the African renaissance. We adopt an autoethnographic lens through which we present rich and deep indigenous personal experiences and cultural narratives about various forms of love. We conclude that in addition to embracing classical Greek views of love such as eros, storge, philia, ludus, mania, pragma, philautia and agape, isiZulu cultural experience and expression provides meaningful depth and breadth for the theory and practice of love after COVID-19.  In addition to ideal forms of love, particular provision is also made for its everyday value through such universal practices as respect (inhlonipho) and caring mutual, human relationships (Ubuntu). Pages 130 to 144




 Migrant Labour and the Pandemic - Media Representation

Seema Sharmaa, Neera Agnimitrab, Emails: aseemasharma.dsw@gmail.com, bneeraagnimitra@gmail.com

The national lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis has brought the constituency of migrant labour centre stage. It has unravelled the disconcerting reality about the vulnerability of this unorganised section of society. Valued as a core group during "normal' times, the crisis has revealed the inherent dichotomy emanating from their near total dispensability in "new normal' times. Thrown out of jobs, and without wages and savings; they became "outsiders" and a "threat" to the citizens and the administration in the now 'indifferent' or even 'hostile' host cities. Deemed to be the conscience keeper of society, the media has the power to draw the attention of the masses, law makers and administrators to compelling issues. Even in this context, the media highlighted the predicament of the migrants by bringing forth facts and narratives of hardships faced by them, as also accounts of their expectations from their employers, state, civil society and citizens. Within social work discourse, the potential of the media in creating an ethos of engagement with core issues of marginalisation has been largely undermined, and this paper attempts to shed light on this void. It aims to examine the role of media in bringing to the forefront the lived reality of the migrants traversing the COVID crisis in their own words and images, and within the diversity of perceptions and reactions of the "others", as they engaged with media representations. Pages 145 to 165




Coronavirus and Ruby Princess crew in Australia: A call for increased macro level social work

Abraham Francis, Hyacinth Udah, James Cook University

The COVID-19 crisis has not only put the world on hold but has also laid bare the inequalities and structural challenges that have always existed and persisted in our societies. The impact that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis has, and will continue to have, on our lives and the social work profession cannot be overstated. Whatever the unfolding details, crisis situations can present - and expand - opportunities for social workers to make meaningful change that acknowledges and works to build a less unequal society. This article looks at the Ruby Princess incident in Australia during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. It critically analyses the way some people were treated, supported, or denied access to treatment due to citizenship, nationality, or country of origin during the pandemic. While the Ruby Princess crew members on board have a humanitarian right to be cared for in Australia, they were treated as an added problem. The ways the government responded and treated them reveal ideological tensions and operational challenges, resulting in structural barriers, inhumane treatment and vulnerability for people denied of natural justice and duty of care. COVID-19 in Australia, together with the Ruby Princess incident, has shown gaps in understanding of social workers’ role during a pandemic. The incident has significant implications from a human rights perspective in national and global policy responses to, and recovery from, pandemics. This article contributes to literature on the role of social workers during a pandemic and its aftermath, and on how social workers can bring their knowledge, theories and practice skills to pandemic preparedness and policy responses to pandemics. Drawing on media analysis and critical review of social work policy and practice responses to crises, it calls for increased macro level social work and promotion of well-being, justice and human rights. It argues that the challenges presented by COVID-19 can be opportunities for social work to reinvent itself as a human rights-based profession and promote effective practice. It suggests, therefore, that by engaging in advocacy, policy, and equity work, social workers can help address structural systems, which perpetuate inequities and barriers in society, and ensure a more ‘equal, just, and inclusive’ society during a pandemic and beyond.  Pages 166 to 181




 Lives of Tourism workforce in Nepal and the Pandemic

Sukrita Rai, Tribhuvan University, Nepal, Email: asukrita@mswtu.edu.np

Life is at halt in Nepal due to COVID-19, with a four-month lockdown period attempting to stop the spread. The tourism sector is the hardest hit by the pandemic and restrictions placed on international travel. Tourism has been one of the major incomes generating sectors of Nepal, with the cancellation of campaign Visit Nepal 2020 devastating the region with the loss of an expected two billion dollars. The people working in the tourism sector are in shock: it is not “new normal” for them; it is the phase of abnormality and uncertainty. They are more worried about hunger then the contagious COVID-19. The indigenous and the low-level employees are the most vulnerable at this time. Despite their own threat to survival, their concern about their employers’ business is very thoughtful and significant. Despite uncertain about their survival they are still positive and happy for the environment as it is allowed time to rejuvenate and recover with less human interference. This research brings attention to those low-level employees working in tourism sector and their family’s survival. The research questions of the paper are: (1) What are the experiences that the low-level employees of tourism sector are experiencing in their life, livelihood and occupation? and (2) How do they respond to the disastrous COVID-19 in terms of their occupation and the sector where they were and are working? This paper tries to explore the employees experience during this time of crisis. The research design is qualitative, with primary data collected through tele-interview and secondary data collected through books, newspaper articles, journal articles, government and non-government reports, and websites. Thematic analysis was utilised through this short study.  Pages 182 to 195




Japan in Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic - Issues and concerns for Social Work

Takashi Fujioka, Viktor Virág and Kana Matsuo

*Corresponding Author Email: fujioka@jcsw.ac.jp

This paper will examine the methods and resources for leading through the current crisis of COVID-19 in Japan. How its people displayed a level of heightened compliance to government restrictions and the response of the human service and social work professionals will be addressed. Factors that seem to have contributed to current strides in Japanese society briefly are (1) the high awareness of hygiene and availability of quality medical and human care and (2) he collective pressure in the community since February, rightly attributed to Japanese cultural traits. These two influences have assisted in fostering positive and collective behaviours to maximise the benefits for society.  This paper is based on a quick study it is presented in three parts. Part I, provides an overview starting with the Japanese infection of the COVID-19, the reporting around its senior citizens and high-risk groups, and relevant social work service provision. Part II. draws on social work issues central to the pandemic and provide a narrative of Japanese people. In Part III the authors present the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social work profession including its practice and education, with the inclusion of some critical ethical issues. Field work practice is central to social work education, and how these needs have been addressed during the pandemic and post pandemic situation is also discussed with case examples. The findings report that whilst complying with the declaration of self-restraint, people were utilising the opportunity to spend time with their families and enrich the quality of these relationships. Deepened family ties have been attributed to the self-restrained compliance, however so too has the increased risk of domestic violence and child abuse. The findings are also attributed to the practice of cultural ethics of Shinto, Buddhism, and Confucianism that may have provided the enabling ethos to support continued efforts of lockdown compliance. A very important finding is a further spread of the new awareness of cleanliness, such as avoiding dirt and stains, that seems to explore and explain a norm of “new daily life” for the entire population. Pages 196 to 213




Scarce Resources and Careless Citizenry: Effects of COVID-19 in Pakistan

Aisha Shoukata, Muhammad Jafarb, aAssistant Professor, Department of Social Work, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan, bLecturer, Department of Social Work, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan

aCorresponding Author Email: aishashah1@yahoo.com

Lack of economic resources, poor health structure and misperception relating to promulgation of stringent lockdown measures, as well as attitude of different segments of a heavily polarised society added to the impediments in the critical phase of this pandemic in Pakistan. The country lives on meagre per capita income of around $1500 and the virus is rapidly spreading in a country that hosts 220 million people. The government continues to run with debits and deficits and is desperately trying its best to mitigate adverse effects of the pandemic. The fear of job loss is projected around 18 million due to the current pandemic. This paper deals with variables such as public response to the lockdown measures and the difficulties of drawing service responses from a bleeding health system. Additionally, the current paper examines some baseline factors that contributed to the lack of cooperation from the masses such as religious leadership, profiteers and other pressure groups that seem to shape the public opinion of those who are easy to lead, hence gullible. The paper is based on qualitative data and is supplemented by electronic, print and social media, online interviews and our own lived experience in this pandemic, along with personal observations. The findings of the paper are that poor participation of the public in accepting the lockdown was possibly instigated by the nexus of polarising segments within the society and it also revealed absence of choice between life and livelihoods in Pakistan during the pandemic amidst the sagas of coping of commoners. Pages 214 to 229




A Review of Domestic Violence against Women in India during Lockdown

Suman Singha, Rituparna Bhattacharyyab, Email: asumansingh.bhu@gmail.com, brituparna.bhattacharyya@accb.org.uk

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of people all over the world to restrict themselves under various forms of home quarantine. While lockdowns have been imposed for the health and safety of its citizens, it has exacerbated a variety of socioeconomic problems such as escalation of domestic violence (DV); with complaints in India among them. Due to the spiralling of DV cases, in 2005 the Government of India passed the Domestic Violence Act that intensified work around this public health issue.   The principal objective of this study is to critically analyse available instances of DV in India during quarantine and deduce the reasons for the same. The findings suggest that the primary reasons for increased instances of DV are unemployment and frustration due to restricted access to and or availability of alcohol after a lengthy ban. Nonetheless, inadequate evidence poses a current challenge to link DV and lockdown. Arguably, the Domestic Violence Act has failed to reduce DV cases not only during lockdown but also pre- and post-lockdown in India. This review suggests for a comprehensive nationwide study, utilising the data available by government organizations that record DV complaints. Alongside, it argues for further rigorous amendment of Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Pages 230 to 242




COVID-19 and India’s Labour Migrant Crisis

Rituparna Bhattacharyyaa, Pranjit Kumar Sarmab, Mr Manjit Nathc, Email: arituparna.bhattacharyya@accb.org.uk, bprangis@gmail.com, cmanjitzing@gmail.com

The primary purpose of this study is to examine the plight of India’s interstate/intrastate labour migrants that surfaced a few days after the Government of India announced the lockdown on 24 March 2020. Based on secondary literature and using GIS techniques, the study will critically analyse the D-series Census of India data to probe the predicaments of internal labour migrants (especially semi-skilled and unskilled) during the outbreak of a pandemic like COVID-19 who are primarily engaged in the informal sector. In doing so, it will try to probe whether the impact of COVID-19 would unlock positive opportunities for these migrants —generation of a government-mandated database and reformation of the labour laws securing social protection of the workers of the informal economy.  Pages 243 to 258




The outbreak of COVID-19, response, and the vulnerabilities of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Md. Fakhrul Alama, Al Amin Rabbyb, Venkat Rao Pullac, Email: afakhrulsust@gmail.com, balaminrabby@yahoo.com, cdr.venkat.pulla@gmail.com

Bangladesh is a developing country in South Asia with a high density of population. The country is currently hosting more than one million Rohingya refugees from neighbouring Myanmar. The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected the country. Obviously, it also has devastating impacts on the Rohingya refugees. By adopting a case study approach under qualitative research design, this study aims to explore and analyze the risks that make the Rohingya refugees vulnerable to COVID-19, the ways the pandemic increases their socioeconomic vulnerabilities, the preventive and protective steps and preparedness taken to protect the refugees, and the challenges the humanitarian workers face. Data was collected from official reports and documents, newspaper, journal articles and cell phone interviews with service providers and officials at Rohingya camps of Cox’s Bazar district in Bangladesh. The densely packed living arrangement of refugee camps, gathering for different purposes and crowded environment increase the risks of COVID-19 infection. The government locked down the refugee camps declaring them as red zone areas and restricted entrance and departure. Many non-emergency services were decided to cease or squeeze. The UN agencies, humanitarian organisations and the government of Bangladesh (GoB) took multiple planned and coordinated actions focusing on COVID-19 related health services and preventive actions at the refugee camps. Evidence shows that service providers face several challenges while delivering services with limited resources under restrictions and changing contexts at the refugee camps. Thus, the outbreak of COVID-19 has jeopardized the wellbeing of women and children, people with a medical condition and elderly, and it deteriorated the prevailing socioeconomic crisis. Finally, the study suggests that the existing actions must be elaborated and strengthened with an active engagement of the Rohingya community. Pages 259 to 284 




Migrants: The Visibly Invisible
A Narration with Reference to Migrants in the Lockdown Period

Nagmani Raoa, K.J. Joyb, Email: anagmani30@gmail.com, bjoykjjoy2@gmail.com

In India a large section of toiling migrants are those that enter the labour force with a low resource and skill base. As a cheap source of labour, they provide a range of manual, entrepreneurial and social services. Estimates indicate that migrants constitute more than 90% of the unorganised, informal sector. Media reports tracking their desperate flight in the aftermath of the lockdown suggest that rather than facing possible eviction and starvation, there was an exodus despite insurmountable hurdles due to non-availability of affordable public transport and sealing of inter-state borders. The narratives painted a poignant picture of the dilemma of migrants in a hostile urban environment. Back home they also faced the prospect of social isolation due to the ‘unknown virus from outside’ and extreme poverty. Many amongst those that stayed back reported a huge loss of wages due to the prolonged layoff and possible loss of employment.  The current paper looks at the impacts of the lockdown, focussing specifically on the vulnerabilities of select sectors -- domestic workers, waste pickers sex workers, specific to Pune and Sangli. The major component of the paper documents anecdotal narratives from activists who work with these sections and sector workers, using the reflexive narrative approach. We have also drawn from select news clippings, feature stories, and reports that were aplenty during the lockdown. The narratives capture their perceptions about the ways in which the agencies of governance and their service users have wavered between sympathy and fear about 'migrants' being carriers in community transmission and the implications of these.  From this exploration sensitive insights are shared such that the future creates support for developing a conducive work and social environment for them, by influencing attitudes that appreciate and uphold the dignity and entitlements of migrant workers from a rights and justice perspective.  Pages 285 to 301




Resiliency and Empowerment in the HIV Community During COVID-19: Equity and Human Rights lenses.

Rita Dhungela, Email: adhungelr@macewan.ca

This paper examines the voices and experiences of one of the marginalised communities, Women Living with HIV (WLWH) in Nepal at the intersections of COVID-19 and structural inequality and injustice. The overarching goal of this paper is to identify impact and implications of COVID-19 on the HIV community with a focus on factors that further escalate their vulnerability to socio-economic marginalisation and mental and psychological challenges. This study was guided by Interpretative Phenomenology Analysis (IPA). For the purpose of this study two focus groups and semi structured interviews were virtually conducted with 11 Women Living with HIV (WLWH) in Kathmandu, Nepal, using a qualitative paradigm. The Psychosocial Pyramid was used to analyse the data, and through thematic analysis the data was coded and categorised from equity and human rights lenses. This community-based study uncovered that the WLWH experience of COVID-19 was further compounded by gender oppression. At a national level, the Government of Nepal imposed a lockdown as an appropriate measure to limit the spread of COVID-19, but this response failed to adequately meet the needs of marginalized populations, especially WLWH, due to a number of restrictions of the lockdown. The emergency relief program, mainly food hamper, was introduced as part of the lockdown response that did not even maintain the privacy of WLWH. It is imperative for the Government to acknowledge the challenges and vulnerability that WLWH experience from COVID-19, which are discussed in the results section, and develop integrative approaches, programs and policies in addressing these issues in the second wave of COVID and post-COVID-19. Pages 302 to 319  




 College Youth and Their Response during COVID-19

Keshav Walkea, Email: akeshavwalke1@gmail.com

In India the first case of COVID 19 was reported on 30th January 2020 and as of now has the third highest number of confirmed cases in the world after the United States and Brazil. India's case fatality rate 2.49% is among the lowest in the world and recoveries exceeded active cases for the first time. In Maharashtra there are nearly one-third of the total cases in the country with fatality rate of  nearly 3.55%. Nagpur in Vidarbha witnessed the first case on 11th March, and on 31st July 5392,  confirmed cases with fatality rate of 2.33%. The Prime Minister appealed for public curfew on 22nd March and was followed by nationwide lockdown in three phases till May 31. Phase wise unlocking with barring affected areas started from 1st June. The purpose of the paper is to understand the problems faced by the people during COVID-19 and to present challenges and learnings for Social Work Practice through personal experiences and observations. This paper is based on observations and personal experiences during COVID 19 work with affected people through National Service Scheme programmes (NSS) conducted and coordinated in four districts under the jurisdiction of the University.  The main observations are that in the beginning there was less awareness among the people, more fear of Corona and less infection. After two months from the declared onset, people became more aware of Corona, less fearful and more infected cases surfaced.  I held an additional duty as part of the university’s National Service Scheme volunteer program. This paper is the result of working with the Volunteers and through them with the communities, through both online and offline responses in prevention and mitigation work around Covid 19.  The challenges in this work were identified as non-cooperation from the general public, duplication and multiplication of the services, lack of ICT skills in the masses, lack of resources and limited response from Social Work Institutes.  All participants which includes myself, were participant volunteers in the government program. Our personal experiences and observations taught us that usage of networking, collaborative team work and application of social work methods are very important in reaching the pre-set goals in a crisis driven pandemic community re-organisation. Pages 320 to 335




Home is where the Hurt is! The Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on Women in India

Prof. Bhavna Mehta, Ms. Maria Jessica Sharma, Mr. Eapen Sam

The psychosocial impact of domestic violence with reference to the outbreak of COVID19 and the subsequent lockdown has increased anxiety and fear among women in India. A growing body of researches that has emerged during recent years across the world reveals that domestic violence is detrimental to women’s health including their very survival. Similarly, past studies on impact of public health problems on women indicate that unequal gender relations and lack of control of women over their own bodies and lives make them more vulnerable to contracting the infection. This paper is based on a qualitative analysis of print, electronic and social media data, experiences of earlier researches and observations. It examines and highlights rise in cases of domestic violence faced by Indian women during the lockdown period from a social norm lens, its psychosocial impact on them and discusses possible measures to address these challenges. The findings of the study reveal that the pandemic and the lockdown have impacted Indian society significantly - socially, economically and health wise.  In case of women, their domestic and household chores related responsibilities have increased substantially. The country has witnessed spike in reporting of the cases of domestic violence during the lockdown period indicating women’s increased vulnerabilities at such critical time. The paper argues that this situation of women in India is due to the presence of myriad of beliefs, customs and prevailing social norms that are based on strong patriarchal mind set. The response of the State in terms of setting up of a special helpline number is not adequate as large number of women in India do not have awareness, accessibility, availability and affordability of means like personal mobile phone or landline telephone connections to contact these special helpline numbers. And even if they have it, they lack enough courage, inclination to do anything about it due to socialization and existing social norms. The existing services of the state to help women in need are functioning with limited resources and diverted attention to the pandemic. During the pandemic situation and lockdown the Government,  State authorities and civil society organizations are more focused on relief work like economcic loss, availability of medical facilities and other basic necessities. Thus, addressing the issue of domestic violence has taken a backseat during the pandemic. The paper suggests consideration of domestic violence as a social disaster and inclusion of it in emergency services and disaster management programs of the state and civil society organisations. Pages 336 to 352



COVID-19 Pandemic-induced Teaching-Learning Experiences: Some Realities from Assam (India)

*Prof. Madhushree Dasa, Chandan Bhuyanb, Syeda Fahima Shahnaz Sultanac, Department of Geography, Gauhati University

In the Indian state of Assam, when there was an emergency transition to online education from the conventional means owing to COVID19 and lockdown, it became necessary to comprehend what cumulative experiences might have emerged from the sudden shift in the teaching-learning process. Despite an increase of 13% in mobile internet usage in Assam, the digital divide persists which makes it crucial to understand the difficulties, strategies, and choices in education and adaptability of the participants with the remote teaching-learning mode (Mankotia, 2020; Hassan, 2020). It also became important to find out whether the participants are better adapted to the transition to online education and if the probability of sustained remote teaching-learning in the post-pandemic scenario is higher. Considering the likelihood of sustained online education in the post-pandemic scenario, this cross-sectional inquiry was conducted among the primary, secondary, and tertiary level students, teachers, and parents across the state during June 13-28, 2020. The respondents were selected utilizing the snowball sampling method who voluntarily answered the online survey developed through Google forms, the link to which was sent to the respondents through social media and descriptive analysis was employed to interpret all responses. Even though poor internet connectivity, overburdening, and stressful experiences have exacerbated the education process during the lockdown, most of the participants advocated for the adoption of a blended mode of learning in a post-COVID19 world. The switchover though encouraged further use of ICT in education; a question of accessibility emerges, as the study is limited to participants with internet access thereby exposing the digital divide in education. Pages 353 to 376


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