Ashwini Kumar Shyam moved to Thiruvananthapuram in search of work 2 months back from Chhattisgarh. He along with 43 other migrant workers from Bilaspur live together at a house provided by their employers. They have now pooled in their savings to contribute Rs 1000 each to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund in Kerala.
The 44 migrant workers, living and working in Kerala, along with others have donated over Rs 50,000 to Kerala chief minister's COVID relief fund.
These workers have only recently resumed work, after almost 21 days of no income at all. But that did not stop them from contributing over Rs 50,000 collectively, along with others in the organisation.
"Little children across the country are donating money to the relief funds. So we also decided to donate. People in Kerala, our customers treat us very well. So we thought we will donate and do our part", Pradeep Kumar Paikara, a migrant worker, said.
When asked if it was difficult for them to decide on an amount, Ashwini Kumar replies with a quick "no". "We had salaries left. And out of that we contribute Rs 1000 each," he says.
"Finding food, water and shelter was not a problem for us. Our employer provided us with everything", Pradeep Paikara added.
Their employer, however, was shocked when they reached out to him. "When they came to me and said they wanted to contribute a portion, I asked them how much they want to give? Some said Rs 5000, some said Rs 500 while some others said Rs 2000... I was shocked to hear this", P Mohandas, owner OxyEasy, that employs these migrant workers, said.
Health officials made regular visits to check on these migrant workers, especially during the lockdown period, Mr Mohandas said.
States across India have been grappling to deal with the migrants crisis since March 25 when the country was locked down to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Thousands began their journey home on foot after transport services were shut across the country.
Kerala reported the first case of coronavirus in the country with a large part of its diaspora settled abroad - mostly the middle east. The state was also quick to adopt measures - which came to be known as the "Kerala Model" - aimed at curbing the spread of the deadly virus.
The state has reported 496 coronavirus cases with 4 deaths so far.