Jaya Bhattacharya helps transgenders and sex workers
Actor Jaya Bhattacharya started looking after strays in her vicinity during the lockdown as they didn’t have food to eat. Later, she realized that speeding cars hurt a number of them and reveals that she would end up “taking at least one animal to a doctor daily”. The Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi actor soon realized that there were many people, who fell through the cracks and “didn’t get the much-needed help from the authorities, in these four months, as they didn’t have any form of id”. So, she began distributing ration packets to people she found on the streets, with monetary help from friends and followers on social media. She even shaved her head and posted videos on Instagram as she felt washing her hair every time she stepped out was “too much”.
She met many odd job workers including “haathgadi walas, key-chain makers, zari embroidery workers, people who sell chindi (pieces of cloth), maisons,” and has been helping them with her team. “I kept posting about them on social media to create awareness about their plight. I would ask people I met whenever I stepped out, if they had food and that’s when I heard about transgenders,” she says.
Recently, Bhattacharya distributed ration packets to transgenders and even sex workers in Kamathipura. She says, “The mightiest and the weakest are affected by corona. We should all do what we can to help others. People help their house help, watchmen, laundry guys, as we relate to people who are right in front of our eyes. But what about those who are not seen out there on a daily basis? When a friend brought up the topic of sex workers, I started contacting people and got in touch with an NGO that looks after the kids of sex workers. I went to Virar and Nalasopara, where some of them had shifted and saw that their living conditions were extremely sad. A few days later, I went to Kamathipura with 100 packets of ration and we ran out of food very quickly but there were many who still needed help. The worst part was there were people who created a ruckus. I was pained to see the conditions of the women there and it shocked me that they didn’t believe a human gesture would cost them.”
She adds, “I don’t use the word ‘helping’. I don’t judge anyone and believe in doing what you can for others in times of distress. I am thankful for all the help and support my friends on facebook and ones on other mediums.”