India reels under the economic impact of its protracted coronavirus lockdown.
Abdul Kareem was forced out of school and into a life of odd jobs like repairing bicycles before he finally managed to pull his family out of abject poverty transporting goods across the Indian capital in a mini truck.
The job, and the slim financial security that came with it, was the first stepping stone to a better life.
All that is now gone as India reels under the economic impact of its protracted coronavirus lockdown. Kareem’s out of a job and stranded in his village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh with his wife and two children. Their minuscule savings from his 9,000 rupees ($119) a month job have been exhausted, and the money he saved for books and school uniforms is spent.
“I don’t know what the job situation will be in Delhi once we go back,” Kareem said. “We can’t stay hungry so I will do whatever I find.”
At least 49 million people across the world are expected to plunge into “extreme poverty” — those living on less than $1.90 per day — as a direct result of the pandemic’s economic destruction and India leads that projection, with the World Bank estimating some 12 million of its citizens will be pushed to the very margins this year.