This is how good Samaritans are helping Delhi survive in lockdown
“We get calls from people who request for food telling us that they haven’t had even a morsel to eat in two days,” says Manisha Bhatia, president of the Abhinandan Educational and Welfare Society. Scores of daily wagers and migrant labourers have been facing a challenging time due to the lockdown, and are in dire need of food, masks and medicines.
In times of such hardships, it’s the NGOs and citizen groups that have stepped up to help. “In the lockdown phase, it has become very difficult for many to move about and procure ration. The priority right now is to distribute food and basic sanitisation material to people in need,” adds Bhatia, whose NGO takes two rounds of the city daily, to distribute food, masks, sanitizers and other essentials to about 20,000 people. The Delhi Police has been helping them out with the distribution. They also talk to people and create awareness about how coronavirus spreads.
Another foundation that has been quite active in feeding migrant labourers and daily wagers during the lockdown is Uday Foundation. “Right now we are feeding over 4,000 people per day and distributing dry ration at more than 15 locations in Delhi-NCR. We make sure our food is hygienic and nutritious, and we are feeding the homeless, who don’t even have utensils to make their own food. We are also feeding 1,500 outstation patients and their families who travel to Delhi to avail medical facilities in hospitals like All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). These include patients who are on chemotherapy and dialysis. We have collaborated with the Delhi Police to distribute foods in bastis where people aren’t willing to go,” says Rahul Verma, co-founder of Uday Foundation.
Apart from NGOs, some citizens have also formed groups to come up with heartwarming initiatives. Take for instance Vaishali Poddar who has created Taskforce Corona. “People were tweeting to me from many parts of Delhi and asking for help. I realised that in order to cater to all the requests, I will need a network of individuals who could fulfil requirements for food and essential items in their respective localities. Therefore, I made a group called Taskforce Corona comprising 31 people from all over Delhi. Now, as soon as I receive a request, I forward it to the group and the individual residing near the area where help is needed, does the needful. I have myself distributed about 500 food packets, given to me by the NGO Humanitarian Aid International, in North Delhi,” says Poddar, a resident of Delhi.
The help that is being extended is not only limited to daily wage earners but also to families who have patients that need prescribed medicines and aren’t able to get them during the lockdown. Ankit Jain, a jeweller by profession, who at times helps the NGO Humanitarian Aid International, on an individual basis, says, “I helped out an individual who was in Mumbai while his mother was stuck in a village and needed medicines during this lockdown. With the help of a few people, the medicines were delivered to his mother the next day. The lockdown has turned every individual into a social worker. I also help my friends in distributing food packets.”
Author tweets @FizzyBuddha