Student volunteers collect funds to help stray animals during lockdownUpdated: Apr 29, 2020 19:00 IST
After helping provide food and essentials to tribal villages and help senior citizens with their daily needs during the ongoing lockdown to combat the spread of Covid-19, college students volunteering with the National Service Scheme (NSS) are now also focusing on the welfare of animals.
Students from a few colleges affiliated with the University of Mumbai (MU) have been raising funds to provide food and water to stray animals and birds.
“Since we have to follow lockdown rules, our volunteers are ensuring that we only step out to help strays and birds close to our residence. Over the past one week most of us have noticed an increase in the number of strays that gather every day for food now,” said Idrish Badgujar, an NSS volunteer and student of RZ Shah College, Mulund. He added that around 18 volunteers from his college have started this initiative in several areas in Mulund and Dombivli.
In some cases, students have also been reaching out to animal shelters to help raise funds to provide food for animals. “We started a page on Facebook and Instagram to help raise funds, and the donations have ranged from ₹150 to ₹5,000 by students as well as others. While we are facing trouble, we cannot forget that animals are probably in a stickier situation as they are left with no food during the lockdown,” said Abhish Rege, another NSS volunteer.
Over the past few weeks, the state and central government have also been encouraging NSS volunteers to step up and come to the rescue of people in need. Atul Salunkhe, state liaison officer, NSS, government of Maharashtra, said that over 1.4 lakh students across the state have already registered on their official website and are ready to help. “We hope to start a helpline that can reach out to people across the state,” added Salunkhe.