Coronavirus lockdown: Heroes at your service

Three city-based initiatives are braving the pandemic to be torchbearers of humanity
Good samaritans in the city ensuring the homeless survive the lockdown
Good samaritans in the city ensuring the homeless survive the lockdown
Updated on Apr 11, 2020 05:20 PM IST
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Mumbai | ByNascimento Pinto

As you sit in the comfort of your homes during this lockdown, there are many who are risking their lives and fearlessly taking to the streets to help those who are in need. From making face shields for healthcare workers to feeding the homeless on the streets, and making masks for those who don’t have the luxury of social distancing, they are doing their bit.

Operating out of a centralised kitchen in Thane, Chinu Kwatra, founder, Roti Ghar India, did not think twice when he was beckoned to help feed security guards and ragpickers in the city. His team is busy distributing food daily with four vehicles across the city. “My 14-member team is working out of their homes, taking calls for donations and transportation and food is also being cooked by my mother and six others,” says Chinu. Supported by the Mumbai police, his team is feeding over 5,000 people daily with meals that include dal, rice, vegetable and puris.

It was no different for artist Spriha Neogi, who realised that there would be a possible shortage of N-95 masks as the number of cases skyrocketed around the world. Taking charge of the situation, she decided to start Helping Hands Movement, an initiative which encourages fashion designers, seamstresses and tailors to help make masks. “We have 20 volunteers, as of now, who are stitching masks from reusable fabrics such as T-shirts and saris after sanitising them properly according to the guidelines,” Spriha says. She adds that overall, there are 50 people in the team, who are being helped by the hyper-local communities, who let them know about people who need the masks.

A two-day shutdown made Maker’s Asylum realise that they could do much more being open than closing their doors. Armed with a wood-cutting lab, laser cutters and 3D printers, they went about designing M-19 shields (M represents makers), they decided to help the healthcare community with the design open to all. Pranav Krishnan, head of strategy, says, “The idea was to ensure that the design was open source so that everyone and anyone could contribute to the cause.” The 17-member team have managed to send out 11,427 shields till now, and are anticipating the need for at least 10lakh more. The shields have been distributed to Cooper Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital and KEM Hospital, among others.

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