The riots of 2020 were perhaps the worst that Delhi had seen since 1984. It destroyed lives and livelihoods and created an all-pervading atmosphere of fear and mistrust. Humaneness and compassion seemed to have become forgotten traits of the human character, bloodthirsty mobs roamed the streets and innocent people bore the brunt of a deadly power struggle.
Caught in such a vortex of a pogrom, Sonu, a tea seller from Northeast Delhi, saw his income grinding to a halt, while his life nearly stopped too. Sonu was shot by the rioters and left for dead. His tea stall was vandalised. The poor tea seller, however, refused to give up. He refused to die. He had sustained several wounds but fought on. The lengthy stay at the hospital, however, put him out of work for months. His tea stall needed immediate repairs too.
As a result of this forced loss of work, the financial condition of Sonu and his family started declining. At this point, Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation stepped in. Our volunteers met Sonu no sooner than they had come to know about his sad plight. The foundation immediately arranged for financial assistance from its riot relief fund, with which Sonu could pay his hospital expenses, recover and get back to work. Our timely assistance gave Sonu renewed hope.
Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation has gone the distance in financially supporting families that have been torn apart by disaster. For those that had lost loved ones, our founders and sewa volunteers have been a pillar of strength, helping them tide over the trauma and counselling them back on to their feet.
The foundation has focused in a big way on rescuing the victims of riots and lockdown, standing staunchly behind families that have suffered due to no fault of theirs and whose very survival had suddenly been put in jeopardy. Do support us so that we can extend a helping hand to the poor and downtrodden sections of society, for whom life is a daily struggle.
Women who scale the heights of their careers and those who turn breadwinners for their families have always been inspirational. Their stories have become case studies. However, what often lie behind the glowing faces of the women achievers are stories of struggle, hardship and compulsion. Anybody who has watched the Julia Roberts-starrer Erin Brockovich would understand the difficulties that working women have to deal with.
Gulesh Chouhan’s tale is no different. The independent and self-driven Gulesh is one of the first female cab drivers in Delhi-NCR. Her life has been celebrated by one and all, but little does the world know that Gulesh has had to undergo tremendous ordeals to reach where she has in life.
Gulesh was happily married and a proud mother. Like any other woman in a similar situation, she was busy building a home and raising her child. Life was carefree.
Things, however, soon turned ugly. Gulesh lost her husband when she was just 27. The tragedy left her shattered, and she found herself drowning quickly in the quicksand of despair. Life, for Gulesh, had hit a dead end. Yet, it gave her no respite. She could barely grieve the loss of her husband when a thousand responsibilities were thrust upon her. Her child was now totally dependent on her. She was all that the child had; the child was all that she had. Raising a child as a widowed mother carried with it added difficulties. The child, however, tended to give Gulesh a new lease of life and she bravely took up every challenge that she was faced with. She became a cab driver and started life afresh.
We came across Gulesh during the dark days of the Covid-induced lockdown. She was hesitant at first, but gradually opened up and shared her story. We found this intrepid woman grappling with a financial crisis and wasted no time in providing help. Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation immediately arranged for a relief grant, with which Gulesh was able to clear the obstacles in her way and cruise along on the highway of success.
The motto of the foundation is to ensure that monetary difficulties never become the cause for ambitions going unfulfilled, and we have helped many others like Gulesh to be always ready with answers no matter what question life poses. Do support us so that we can make sure that women like Gulesh never have to give up their decision of turning independent.
The Covid-19 pandemic that erupted last year destroyed livelihoods, wiped out savings, snuffed out lives and broken families apart. The world stood a helpless witness to one of its biggest medical crises and the lockdown that was imposed as a desperate attempt to stem the rot served to create joblessness hardly seen before.
Prashant, who had migrated to Delhi from Bihar in search of a better living, found himself floundering in a sea of troubles as the pandemic brought the world to a standstill. Prashant used to send a part of what he earned in Delhi to his parents, who lived a life marred by poverty.
Prashant lost his job in the lockdown, which meant that although he could somehow sustain himself, he could no longer support his parents, who were solely dependent on him. Breaking the news of job loss to his parents would have broken them totally. Prashant, therefore, kept mum. Nor could he return home with such a piece of bad news. As had happened with many poverty-stricken individuals during that difficult time, Prashant was caught between a rock and a hard place. There was nowhere to go.
Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation entered Prashant’s life when he approached us, having witnessed the service that we had been rendering to the society during the dark days of the lockdown. We met several families during our post-pandemic rehabilitation drives. Some were deprived of ration, some needed money to pay their rents, some struggled for means of transport and most of them required two square meals a day. We have seen migrant families teetering on the verge of collapse. We provided every assistance that we could.
Prashant, therefore, came to us with a lot of hope, and we ensured that he did not go empty-handed. We extended an immediate relief grant, which Prashant sent to his parents, salvaging their lives. However, sending money to his parents was not all that Prashant needed. He required something that he could subsist on himself. We stayed in touch with Prashant to help him realise his sundry needs.
Prashant soon got his job back as the pandemic waned a bit and the government’s restrictions loosened. Prashant never gets tired of thanking us for our timely help that saved not only his life but also those of his parents. Prashant’s job loss could have driven his parents into hopelessness and uncertainty, and we ensured that such a thing did not happen.
Migrants have been some of the biggest Sewa Nyaya beneficiaries, and we have tried to make sure that they do not have to rush back to their native places in distress and desperation, with their dreams of earning a better living in a big city shattered. During these initiatives, our beneficiaries have grown a bond with us, and that is what makes our sewa unique. Do support us so that we can support more such people like Prashant who have a mountain of responsibilities on their shoulders, but lack the wherewithal to carry them out properly.
Srimannarayan Mishra never imagined the misfortune that would befall him, that too on Janmashtami, a day celebrated widely as marking the birth of Lord Krishna.
According to Hindu legend, Lord Krishna’s birth had coincided with severe rain, but his father Vasudev had to brave the rain to carry the newborn Shri Krishna to Gokul to put the Lord in the foster care of Nand Rai and Yashoda, while ‘saving’ him from the wrath of King Kansa. The story also says that the great eternal snake Vasuki used its hood like an umbrella to protect the Lord from the rain as Vasudev carried Shri Krishna on his head through the mighty Yamuna that had parted to give way.
Srimannarayan was buffeted by rain too, but no miracle saved the Lord’s devotee. Srimannarayan found no umbrella, literally or metaphorically, and the temple priest, who lived in a small hut made of mud in Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpuri, found his house being washed away amid heavy rain. That too, on such an auspicious day as Janmashtami.
The poor priest was distraught and seemed to have lost all his faith in God when a miracle did happen.
Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation got wind of how the rain had wreaked havoc in the life of the Lord’s ardent devotee. We rushed to his help. Perhaps the Lord had chosen us to help his devotee!
Our founders decided to stand steadfastly by Srimannarayan’s side as he sought to rebuild his house. We provided him monetary assistance of Rs 5 lakh and this remains one of our biggest sewa works till now. Srimannarayan is overjoyed that when everything seemed lost, help arrived in such a big way.
Srimannarayan’s house is still in the making, and we have remained in touch with him. The priest and his son Suresh never cease to thank us for our support.
Our sewa has always been out-of-the-box. From making women independent to making the downtrodden self-reliant, our work covers a vast canvas. We truly believe that where there is a will, there is a way. Do support us so that we can carry on our work with renewed zeal and vigour.
Suresh Chand was an emotional wreck when we met him. The small pan shop that he used to run was in shambles and items from the shop lay strewn across the street. Suresh, an elderly and differently-abled man, had his only source of income snatched away from him.
That is what the riots that erupted in Delhi last year did to Suresh and many like him. People lost their belongings and lives as mobs ran amok. Years of savings were consumed by the flames of rage as the capital was going through one of the worst crises in recent memory. The environment was heavy with fear and tension, and danger lurked at every step. The government assured of rehabilitation, but most of those assurances remained hollow.
Suresh ran his shop with the help of his wife Saraswati, who is also a divyang (differently-abled)। Neither can walk without support.
Suresh narrated to us the events on that fateful day when his shop was vandalised. He was sitting at the counter, as he did every day, minding his business and selling his wares when a mob went on a rampage. People around started running helter-skelter. Suresh was worried about his wife. He asked her to move to a safer place. Then the mob started pelting stones. With the situation quickly going out of control, Suresh had no option but to leave his shop at the mercy of the hooligans and leave.
When the storm passed, it left devastation in its wake. Suresh had lost everything. He was driven to destitution.
Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation then took it upon itself to help Suresh in piecing his life back together. We made an immediate transfer of Rs 25,000.
After a year, when we met Suresh again, he had bounced back admirably. He was sitting at the counter of his shop that he had rebuilt with our support. He lamented that except for our foundation, nobody else came forward to help. Hardships have not totally vanished from his life, but at least he has his shop back.
Doing whatever little we could for Suresh made us happy too. It was another case in which we could live up to our aim of helping the underprivileged and vulnerable sections of society. Do support us so that we can continue our mission.
Twenty-year-old Savita wandered the streets of Delhi in search of work, but work was not easy to come by. She had migrated to Delhi under considerable duress, with her family struggling under a mountain of debt. Savita’s father had borrowed Rs 25,000 for his utensil shop in 2015. He, however, could not repay the debt and the loan amount bulged to Rs 80,000 in five years.
Fed up with repeated visits by the creditors, Savita decided to find work and shake off the debt burden once and for all. After a lot of searching, she landed a job as a house cook in Delhi. However, that was not the end of her ordeals. Her life was slowly getting back on track when the pandemic struck and a strict lockdown was imposed. Savita lost her job and was stranded in an alien place with hardly any resources to sustain herself, let alone send to his family.
Savita’s life was in free fall, and it seemed she and her family would be crushed under the pile of debts. Things took a turn for the better after we met her during one of our sewa drives during the lockdown. A distressed Savita approached us for help. We decided to clear her debt and also give her a bit extra to cover miscellaneous expenses that she might be incurring.
Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation made an immediate transfer of Rs 90,000. Savita sent the money home. Her parents were relieved and thanked us profusely for our support.
Today Savita is debt-free and has also got her job back. She is happy that her struggle had paid off. This year (2021), she also married her fiancé.
Do support our work so that we can come to the rescue of more such people and help them in bearing the weight of family responsibilities.