So far, the year 2020 has been nothing short of devastating for people across the globe. Death, unemployment, hunger, and deteriorating mental health are just a few issues that are plaguing the world. Given the fact that a pandemic of this degree is a first-of-its-kind for many people and governments, the systems and enterprises that run countries and continents have begun to show their shortcomings.
When the lockdown was imposed in India back in March, the news was perceived differently across the country. Soon enough, it was clear that our workers and daily wagers were stranded with neither the knowledge of the happenings around them nor means to tackle their helpless situation. While some people figure which bread to bake next, these people yearn for a single morsel of food. In such times, the youth of India that has stepped up to cater to the very basic needs of people who are unable to help themselves.
Over the last few months, the country has seen a number of organisations being set up by young Indians who truly understand and empathise with the grave situation of migrant workers and daily wagers. Taking things into their hands, these youngsters have provided food, water, sanitary products, and helped spread awareness about COVID-19 as well. With the number of migrants and daily wagers helped running into thousands, they have got their hands full during this lockdown. Selfless acts of service are the need of the hour, and these youth organisations rose to the challenge to make a dent in this otherwise gruesome period.
Originally a Delhi-based NGO that rehabilitates youngsters from marginalised communities through sports, particularly rugby, Yellow Street in partnership with Aumtara Foundation is now focusing on providing basic necessities to those who need it most. Founded by Saif Ullah Khan, Yellow Street soon formed a COVID Volunteer Response Team under the mentorship of Rajesh Nandan Singh Meher and with the help of Yusra Khan, Shruti Sharma, Rupali Rakheja and Hano Haider. They aim to tackle the dearth of food and safety materials in parts of Delhi and have so far, successfully been able to reach out to 5,000 such families. Over the course of the lockdown, they have also provided sanitation services and attempted to bust myths about COVID-19 among the people. The response team has since collapsed, but Yellow Streets continues to push out food and other materials that they receive from various companies in kind. Their rugby students, who are as young as 16-year-old, make the task force that undertakes sourcing, packing, and delivering. Saif says, “This is the age where one is most curious and can do the most. Everyone who works with us came together and channelised their energy into helping people.” He says that the basic vigour and will to help comes from the youth, and that is what they try to utilise to push through.
Recognising a gap between the community and generic donation processes, 24-year-old Rehan Gupta devised ForDailyWagers, a non-profit platform that simply connects the contributors to the beneficiaries. Their website recommends what to donate and from there, the contributor can directly send ration from an online grocery store to the beneficiary’s doorstep. “I wanted to give people the satisfaction of knowing who exactly is going to receive the donation without having to break any social distancing norms,” says Rehan. ForDailyWagers also allows people to hold donation drives on the occasion of their birthdays, where instead of giving out gifts, others can contribute to the donation drive. With active help and guidance from recent graduates Jassil Jamaludhin and Naivedya Chaturvedi, the organisation has connected over 460 people with donors and 320 families have already received the groceries. “What’s amazing about this is that all members are either students or fresh graduates, and at a stage of life where people are the most selfish, they are volunteering to impact others,” says Rehan. These members, who are a blend of selflessness and compassion, belong to ages 18 to 25.
When the Shramik trains began and the migrants were able to move around, a group of five students thought to tend to their requirements. Dhruv Jatti, Dev Bhagat, Medha Prasad, Zamya Mujawar, Balaji Nitish, and Trishank Batavia initiated efforts of reaching out to more students in order to form a student community that would help people in need in Bengaluru. Now, close to 1,000 students make up the community. “For the migrant crisis specifically, we raised money through donations and also received donations in kind. We then gave out water, bananas, refreshments and tried to give out different items each day just so it doesn’t get boring,” says Dhruv. A women-only team took forward the initiative of distributing sanitary pads too. Currently, this student community aims to help with the shortage of beds in Bengaluru, given the rise in the number of cases. Additionally, they have also been working towards helping the security guards posted at COVID-19 hospitals by providing them ration, raincoats and protective gear. With their motto, ‘The youth can empower’ they tap into the potential of youngsters in the city. The community not only focuses on humanitarian aid but also condcusts research on socio-political aspects.
If you enjoyed reading this, we suggest you read: