LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh's commercial capital Kanpur is on a mission -- securing the future of two minor sisters orphaned last month by the COVID pandemic.
The two little sisters aged 11 and six years, who lost their parents to the killer virus within three days (May 6 and May 8) now have a grandparents in their landlord Prem Kumar Pandey and his wife Manju Pandey.
Not only has Pandey, the 60-year-old advocate decided to not take from minor sisters, the rent of the flat, where their family had been living since eight years, but has also decided to turn their legal guardian till the two sisters attain their dreams of becoming a dental surgeon and a police officer respectively.
"Both of them are our responsibility till they attain their dreams. I'll soon start process of becoming their legal guardian and take care of their needs, including their education. Though I lost their parents, who were very close to my family, God has gifted me two granddaughters. While the elder of the two sisters is aged 11 and is Class VI student, the five years younger sister is in Class III. They'll continue to study just like they did in the past," Pandey told The New Indian Express.
While the Pandey couple has vowed to take care of the two sisters entire life as grand parents (both sisters only have one relative, who too is financially constrained), many more Kanpurites are pitching in to support the little sisters.
Popular comedian Raju Srivastava (who too hails from Kanpur) met with the two minor sisters in Mumbai, where they had accompanied Pandey to spend time with his daughter's family recently. The popular comedian not only regaled them with his signature comedy, but also handed over Rs 16,000 cheque to Pandey for supporting the little ones future.
But that wasn't all, as Kanpur's singing prodigy, The Voice of India Kids Season 2 2017 fame Guntaas Kaur too met them in Mumbai and has contributed Rs 11,000 for them.
"We're now working to get a bank account opened for the two sisters soon, so that many more Kanpurites eager to support them can send money directly in their account," Pandey said.
Those eager to support to support the cause of the two sisters, include young IPS officer Raveena Tyagi.
Also, a group of Kanpur based traders led by Akhil Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal's state general secretary Gyanesh Mishra too have gifted Rs 11,000 to the little sisters along with three months ration, clothes and study material.
But it's not just the little sisters orphaned by COVID, instead seven more families who either lost, both parents or earning father, have got helping hand from the 150-strong Kanpur based traders group 'COVID Sewa Vyapari Group.'
"We've so far traced eight such families, including three families (each having two daughters) who lost both parents and five families who lost the earning fathers. Each of the family, including the little sisters now living with advocate Pandey have been given as immediate Rs 11,000 and three months ration. We are identifying other such families. The UP government has announced Rs 4000 monthly pension to all such kids/families, but it will take some paper formalities to start. To ensure that such kids/families are not left sans support till then, we've decided to give each of them Rs 11,000 each and three months ration. We've started with eight such families and are tracking others also," the traders group head and foodgrain trader Gyanesh Mishra informed.
Prior to this initiative, the same traders group funded treatment of over 250 poor COVID patients at different hospitals of Kanpur during the pandemic's second wave's peak, besides providing free oxygen ambulances to other patients.
They also rendered food and medicines to two villages worst hit by COVID in Kanpur.