Support to Returning Migrant Labourers and their Families







Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh

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Migrant Labourers Project

What are the challenges?

The sudden COVID-19 lockdown in India triggered the largest mass migration in South Asia since partition, and a humanitarian crisis. Many tens of millions of migrant labourers across India were left homeless and without work overnight. Without the wages they were owed, or any transport, they began to make their way back to their home states, attempting to cross vast distances on foot. Suicide, starvation and psychological traumas among the survivors are widespread. 

What is the aim of the project?

The project aims to support returning migrants with emergency aid, to connect them with available government schemes, and to facilitate their return to dignified and meaningful work. 

What are the main activities?

  • Raising awareness among migrant households of, and connecting them to, social security benefits 
  • Training ‘barefoot counsellors’ to provide psychological first aid to traumatized return migrants and their families and refer them to further mental health services
  • Capacity building and training for government workers and community clubs to properly respond to returning migrants
  • Funding a toll-free telephone helpline
  • Facilitating the re-recruitment of migrant labourers into non-exploitative jobs


Stories from the field