The Psychosocial Impacts of COVID-19 in Pakistan
For weavers and workers worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic instigated, worsened or exposed a myriad of issues that range from economic to emotional. The exact nature of the issues, however, is distinct to the unique circumstances of each community. In Pakistan, as in many other places, the pandemic has caused intensified stress and domestic tensions for some of its weavers and workers, which has had an adverse impact on domestic and family relations.
One of the benefits of working closely with communities is that Label STEP is able to not only witness how a community is doing in real time, but to also act upon these observations and support its prosperity when needed. One instance of this can be observed in STEP’s concentrated response to the effects the COVID-19 pandemic had upon the weavers and workers in Pakistan. Here, STEP’s local team was able to observe and identify amongst the community the need to address the mounting toll stress and other mental health issues were having on its collective emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.
STEP’s Community Engagements and Targeted Response Methods
In response – and as a part of STEP’s larger COVID Relief Program – the team developed a series of workshops that directly responded to the increased stress amongst weavers. The workshops provided community members with perceptive analytical and practical response mechanisms for handling stress and the anger or physical ailments that manifested as a result of it. Held in the districts of Lahore, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala and Jaranwala, the workshops engaged local facilitators who conducted a total of 12 workshop sessions – six for men and six for women – with 20 participants in each.
The sessions revealed how an overwhelming majority of individuals were suffering from household conflicts and physical ailments, such as high blood pressure and constant headaches, largely as a result of the stress brought on by economic hardship. The workshops thus functioned to equip the individuals with stress identification and management techniques, resilience and coping strategies and future wellness plans.
By forming a sense of community around these issues, the workshops helped the weavers and workers to recognize that they are not alone in their situation and aided to reduce divide amongst families and tight-knit networks. Likewise, through the future wellness plans, the participants were provided the necessary tools to continue to foster their own wellbeing as well as that of their community – founding a security against potential future struggles.
Localized Aid to Support Weavers Everywhere
Though the impacts of COVID have had similarities across different countries worldwide, each nation and community is host to unique circumstances that cause distinct pressures and difficulties. The response to these divergent situations demands attentive and targeted action that focuses on the community-at-hand. Rather than taking a blanket approach, Label STEP’s localized efforts have allowed its COVID Relief Program to perceive and attend to the particular needs of its weavers and workers wherever they are.
To donate to STEP’s COVID Relief Projects, visit: label-step.org/donate.