Life on lockdown in India. What can an ethical backpack company do to help it’s most important workers during a pandemic?

Life lock down in India 2020


Our daily backpack meetings may have slowed down, but I wanted to share what was happening in Kolkata, India. So I did some journalism, to find out what the situation and sentiment is like 4000 miles away from sunny Worcestershire…

What does an ethical fashion business do during a pandemic?

Our production manager is staying with family in Madanpur, a small town north of Kolkata, less than 100km from the border with Bangladesh. The streets are deserted due to Covid19, with the situation largely being self regulated. Mintoo said,

“We don’t have any problem with the foods and household commodities as we have enough natural resources… we have to move forward more cautiously. As you know in India we don’t have enough medical infrastructure like your first world countries. So personally l am very much worried about the situation when we will resume after lockdown.”

Ethical backpack company explores northern Kolkata whilst on lockdown
But not everyone has chosen or has the ability to leave the city. Manik, quite the philospher, had this to say

“Our future will bring us good because we are all now doing the good things altogether”, “If you are going through a hard situation, then you will be moulded into a new one with more stronger”.

On the situation on the streets,

“Tim, here I am totally locked in my home. Only in the morning sometimes not everyday, I get out from my home with a mask on my face for buying the grocery in the near-by market which is 300 yards from my home. Even I could not venture out from my home at evening because the cops are patrolling in my locality. If they see a group of people are gossiping in there nearby tea shop, then they charge with stick ruthlessly.”

Quiet street during lockdown in kolkata - Tim explores whats happening during covid19 with his workers in india

“…I am giving you an example, my maid is look after me very carefully, even I have given her paid holidays for the 21-days lockdown situation. After a couple of days, she suddenly again started to come to my home for enquiring about my health and how I am feeding my meals and dinner gracefully. Also she is preparing my food for the day. I told her you don’t need to come to my at this situation, but she never accept my request.”… “now I do cook myself and arranging my daily chores gracefully as well.”

I asked how the poorest of citizens are managing,

“Here the poor are getting enough food at regular interval, actually here the government is working like a war-like situation. The business is totally closed.”

Wonderful nature doesnt care about a pandemic, and helps feed the locals - supporting people through a pandemic
Whilst Manik and Mintoo are both safe, the situation in India is changing daily, our main facilities will not reopen for another couple of weeks…
We wish everyone the best as we endure these unprecideneted times, as we stand on our doorsteps and support those closest to us, when businesses do begin to reopen it will be a good reminder to think about where our things come from, who made it, how it is made… and how are those people?
It’s a cliche, but this really is one rock we’re sharing.
As you may know, we make Cora + Spink backpacks in Kolkata, India. Backpacks designed to keep your things safe by people who are also safe and happy… it’s the foundation of everything we do.
If you are able to support us, support 1000’s of workers, at or another small business directly, now, or when things return to normal please do, it literally means everything. One bag at a time.

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