On 24th March, The Indian Government announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak. On very short notice, the first phase of lockdown came into effect on 25th March. This lockdown has affected migrant workers across the country. With no work and almost zero savings, a lot of workers started migrating to their hometown. During this crucial time, many people took a stand for humanity and provided on the ground support to the migrants and the people in need.
In this series, we have honoured the glory of few such Unsung Heroes, Let’s take a bow to their exceptional work during the lockdown.
A 31-year-old Mumbai man Shahanwaz Sheikh sold his SUV to buy oxygen cylinders for COVID 19 patients. His business partner’s sister, who was 6 months pregnant, died on 28th May in an autorickshaw outside a hospital after five other hospitals refused to admit her. They turned her away saying they don’t have vacant beds for people with Covid19, while few said they don’t have ventilators. He started distributing the cylinder for free to Covid19 patients on June 5. Till now he has helped more than 300 families.
Santa Brigade (Gurugram)
Santa Brigade is a group of over 30 teenagers from Gurugram, who have come together to raise funds for underprivileged people by cleaning cars. At 6 am in the morning, every member of the group step out and clean the cars in the local area for about four hours, charging 200 to 1000 INR for each car depending on the vehicle type. A 19-year-old college student Siddhant started this group on May 1. In the first couple of weeks they have raised 15000 INR, they used this money to buy groceries, vegetables, sanitizers and mask to distribute among underprivileged families.
Pappan Singh (A farmer from Tigipur, Delhi)
In the time of lockdown when many contractors abandoned their labourers, this mushroom farmer from Tigipur Village, Delhi spent INR 68000 to send 10 of his labourers to their home by flight. The farmer said that his workers are his family and they have been working for him for the last several years. According to him, when his labours applied for Shramik special trains, they did not get replies.
Dev Kumar Verma
Founder of Pathshala(A free school for underprivileged children)
This 36-year-old man is an official from Coal India Limited (CIL) and founder of Pathshala in Jharkhand. The parents of most of the students are the labours from a local mine. But during lockdown with no money and job they were scrambling for a day’s meal. In this critical situation, Dev Kumar started distributing food kits to mine labourers. He distributed as much as 4000 kits from his salary. Taking inspiration from Dev Kumar nearby villages started approaching him. Currently, through his community kitchen, he is feeding nearly 12000 people every day.
This is an NGO based in Kochi that follows the concept that whether it’s a cat or a dog or a human, we all are one. All forms of life are one. During lockdown with no human to feed the stray animal, they were left starving on the streets. However, these warriors from Oneness Foundation stepping out every day to feed at least 1000 stray animals on the street. 24 volunteers from the foundation distribute food every day on around 15 vehicles.
Datta Ram Patil
A farmer from Nashik
Datta Ram Patil is a small farmer from Nashik. With only three-acre of land to harvest, he donated wheat harvested on one acre of his land to needy people. Despite his financially unstable condition, Datta Ram believed that:”If my family has one chapatti to eat, then I can give half to others who are in need.”
Owner of a waste management company
Krysyn Rego is the owner of a waste management company in Mumbai. He is leading a mission to provide low-cost face shield to needy people. With every item he sold, he donates one to the Police, Health workers, Hospitals and NGOs. So far he has made more than 15000 units. Now he is aiming to sell 50000 units while donating another 50000 to needy.
These heroes have proved to us that the biggest change starts with a single step. No help is small or big, every individual working for society is a hero. Through this article, we thank every individual who helped those in need during this lockdown.