COVID 19 warriors: These volunteers risk lives to help the vulnerable in lockdown situations

Several Good Samaritans and volunteers in Hyderabad have been delivering essentials, medicines and food items to those in need. We compiled a list.

Published: 28th March 2020 11:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th March 2020 11:43 AM   |  A+A-

Several people are getting help and essentials as various NGOs and the volunteers in the city have taken the initiative to help those who can’t go out during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Several people are getting help and essentials as various NGOs and the volunteers in the city have taken the initiative to help those who can’t go out during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  Deserted roads. Closed shutters. The silence in the neighbourhoods is broken only through a dog’s barking or through a distant horn of a racing bike. And this time for 62-year-old Meena Rahman living at Rasoolpura it’s the sound of hope. The sound announcing that someone is bringing her packets of home-cooked food. And this volunteer isn’t from Swiggy, Zomato or Foodpanda; it is of a volunteer delivering her meal at the time when she needs it the most because she lives alone and in this old age she needs cooked food urgently.

Several people like her are getting help and essentials as various NGOs and the volunteers in the city have taken the initiative to help those who can’t go out during the Covid-19 lockdown. Syed Osman Azhar Maqsusi, the founder of Sani Welfare Foundation who started the campaign ‘Hunger has no religion’ has been distributing food packets to many in the city. He says, “In the Old City under Dabeerpura flyover, we have been preparing food and delivering the parcels.” The packet consists of Khatti daal, tamatar rice or steamed rice and sometimes even veg biryani. Unfortunately, he has not been able to go to Gandhi Hospital for food distribution because of the lockdown restrictions. He started it since 2012 providing food to 1200-1500 before Covid-19 pandemic hit the world.

Ask him as to why he started it and he shares, “I have experienced hunger since I was a child. I know what it feels going without food for several days.”Meanwhile, Prashanth Goud Burra, film distributor-cum-producer of Sarthak Movies, was among the first to take the initiative to support the daily wage earners in the film fraternity. On March 15, Prashanth went personally to Krishna Nagar, the hub of junior artistes and film crew (set assistance, train and trolley workers etc), to distribute grocery and other items (rice, provisions, hand sanitisers and basic medicines) worth `1,000 for over 800 people  hailing from the Telugu states as well as Odisha and Bihar. “It would have been easy to give money and wash my hands off, as a few of my friends suggested, but I felt that giving them supplies will ensure they are healthy and safe. Plus I did not want the money to be misused,” said Prashanth who joined hands with Vijay Varma and Mohan Goud for on-ground distribution. 

“Although I appreciate actors donating to the CM Relief Fund, it is a good idea to support the film fraternity that works with us and for us. I am happy that many more from Tollywood industry have now taken the cue and have come forward to help the needy during the lockdown days. The industry has not been functioning for over two weeks now. These workers neither are so poor that they have White Cards and can get the rations of the government and are not so rich that they have spare cash to get through,” adds Prashanth.

He says that so far Tollywood star NTR was the only one has come forward to give to the industry. He adds, “I think more actors should treat this like a cyclone or a flood situation and help our brothers and sisters from the industry.”

In a Rasoolpura slum the 20,000 dwellers are getting help by Kriya Sangh Society run by Nayeem Pasha. He shares, “We have tied up with other organisations like Helping Hands, team NGOs among others for more help resources. We have 70-80 volunteers going out every day to deliver food and medicines.” He adds that more volunteers are required, who can work for them, but from their area helping those in the same locality. Other than food packets, they are also sending rice, pulses, oil and other essentials. They are also sending medicines required for chronic diseases to the ones in need. He adds, “In these times, the daily wage earners don’t have work and hence can’t buy medicines which increases their health risk.

People send us WhatsApp pictures of their prescriptions which helps us understand their requirements better.” They started with their own money. But if people want they can contribute donations through Google Pay or Netbanking. At the same time, there are NGOs which are catering only to medicine requests and requirements. Says Kamal Nayak the founder of Good Universe NGO, “We caterto specific needs and hence have chosen to stay away from food distribution. It’s only medicines that we take care of. I am a diabetic myself and totally understand what skipping the dose can do.

We did a small fundraising campaign to arrange the required amount. GHMC has been helpful in giving us permission. We are doing it for the elderly, pregnant women and children especially in the slums of Savita Nagar and Golidoddi slums, five kms away from Gachibowli. Climate change and women health, sanitation and hygiene. We do a lot of research in terms of climate and women health. It’s a full time engagement,” says social entrepreneur Kamal. He says he has witnessed poverty and slum dwelling from close quarters in Odisha.He has been sending TS mandates written in Telugu and Urdu on sanitation and hygiene to slum leaders so that they can educate and inform other slum dwellers.

— Saima Afreen  



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