COVID-19 brought out many unusual heroes. Ishan Jain, 13, is one among them. This student of Heritage Xperiential Learning School, Gurugram, initiated a relief programme by raising funds on social media, and distributed 2,000 masks besides providing dry ration to nearly 500 underprivileged families.
In March, after the nation-wide lockdown was announced, Jain realised that scores of daily wage workers had become jobless. “I spoke to my parents if we could do something for them. They were very happy with my thoughts and guided me on how to go about it,” says Jain. He launched a fund-raiser on Ketto and shared this information on his Instagram account.
“Apart from my family and friends, many unknown people also contributed. I managed to collect around Rs 2 lakh.” Jain purchased dry ration, made small kits and got in touch with the Civil Defence Team of Gurugram. “The Civil Defence volunteers told us of pockets where the daily wagers lived. They even helped us distributed the dry ration that we had purchased,”says Jain.
In time, Jain got to know that migrant labourers had congregated at the Tau Devilal Stadium (TDS) to go back home. Witnessing their dreary living conditions, Jain decided to help them out with essential items.
Once again, he approached his family, friends and social media followers, and collected Rs 1.5 lakh, with which he purchased 500 hygiene kits. Each kit contained washable, reusable masks, sanitary pads, towels, soaps and cloth bags, which Jain distributed to the women living at TDS.
Now that commercial activities have largely resumed and most migrants have gone back to their villages, there isn’t much need. “But, at any point if I see more people need help, I will launch another fundraiser, and do everything I can to help,” says Jain, who wants to set up an NGO after he comes of age. The Haryana State Department has honoured Jain with ‘Icon of COVID-19’ award for his initiatives.