The Coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdowns have been devastating for many families. They have taken away lives and livelihoods. Those who lived their lives with hard work and dignity turned jobless and needy overnight.
At the peak of the pandemic, one of our founders Swati Goel Sharma had decided to help rehabilitate as many families as we could when life resumed to normal again.
We are very much working on that mission.
Here are five families that Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation has rehabilitated over the past few months.
- Jasveer Singh
Jasveer Singh from Delhi’s Mangolpuri had a small business of filling quilts. His business was meandering along. Jasveer has a daughter, who studies in Class 10, apart from three sons. He earned just about enough to fund his daughter’s studies and sustain the family.
However, he would soon be driven to the verge of disaster. The advent of trendy blankets pushed quilts more and more towards extinction and Jasveer’s business started floundering. He was already copping losses when the lockdown imposed in March last year sounded a death knell.
Jasveer suddenly found himself neck-deep in a sea of debt with the shore nowhere to be seen. He had no option but to sell all he had.
Jasveer’s lower-middle-class family used to stay in a small rented apartment. With no work in hand, Jasveer could not figure out how he would be able to pay his house rent. Soon, he and his family would be thrown out to the streets, Jasveer feared.
Jasveer was desperate to find an alternative source of income and decided to drive a rented e-rickshaw. He had just begun to set his life back in order when the second wave of Covid struck and totally put paid to Jasveer’s hopes of a turnaround. The e-rickshaw could not fetch any money and Jasveer could not pay the owners their everyday share. As a result, soon the owners took the vehicle back.
Devastated, Jasveer approached us. He sought our help to buy an e-rickshaw. Owing a vehicle would mean that he would not have to worry about paying rent and being hounded by owners if he failed to do so.
Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation was only too happy to help. On July 7, we were able to give Jasveer the battery-run rickshaw that he so badly needed. The battery-run rickshaw cost Rs 1.3 lakh. Jasveer got a huge lifeline.
He shared his happiness with our team member, Vishal Gautam, who personally oversaw paperwork to get him a licence from the transport department as well as the process of purchasing the vehicle. “While I was returning home in my new e-rickshaw, my family members waited outside. They were extremely happy. It feels like someone has fed a morsel to the hungry.”
Inspired by our selfless service, Jasveer has promised to give free sewa to at least one needy commuter every day. He says he would carry forward this ‘sewa-bhava’ (service-mindedness) and help people in need. His struggles have evidently been an eye-opener for him and he now wants to ensure that nobody has to endure the kind of ordeal that he has.
We at Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation always try to ensure that an individual gets the help he needs and becomes self-sufficient too. We wish Jasveer luck and pray to God for his success.
Watch Jasveer’s happiness below:
2. Durga Rani
Durga Rani from Delhi, a woman in her twenties, cannot walk without crutches. However, she still is possibly the most enthusiastic person we have ever met.
Durga used to make LED bulbs for a living along with her brothers Sachin and Ravi in Shiv Vihar area. Her mother is a housewife, while her father died years ago.
The family made bulbs and sold them at nearby stores. Incredibly, even though Durga had a handicap and could not talk, she used to join her brothers in distribution of the bulbs. She always wanted to go out for work.
Her life was pretty uneventful, but then disaster struck. Both her brothers passed away within a few months of each other. While Sachin died in an accident, Ravi could not bear the loss of his brother and passed away too. Durga’s brothers were like an umbrella for the family, especially after the death of their father. Now, that umbrella was no longer there, snatched away by cruel fate.
Durga was shattered and all alone to fend for herself and look after her mother.
One of our volunteers, Kartikeya, learnt about her plight from a Facebook post and reached the family earlier this year (2021).
We decided to build an earning source for them. We gifted Durga a grocery kiosk in front of her house. The kiosk was built a little bigger than usual so that Durga could fit into it easily along with her wheelchair. We got it fully stocked. Before opening it for the public, Durga requested for a havan ceremony. We arranged that for her as well.
When riots broke out in Shiv Vihar last year, mobs damaged Durga’s wheelchair. She was perhaps saved by the grace of Goddess Durga. Shiv Vihar, one of the epicentres of the Delhi riots, saw many families being affected. People were killed, assaulted and their shops were vandalised.
After our help, Durga has been able to get back to earning a living. Kartikeya, who passes by her shop almost every day, finds Durga sitting in her wheelchair and waving happily.
Watch her happiness here:
3. Rinku Devi
Rinku Devi is a resident of Saharsa District in Bihar. She lost her husband seven years ago to Tuberculosis. Since then, she has lived a life of struggle and poverty.
She was left alone to look after her three children – two boys and a girl. Though she tried to cut corners and raise her children well, a lack of regular income affected her plans severely. Her children had to drop out of school.
Her fellow villagers, who had been helping her in some way or the other, approached various social organizations. One of such local organisations run by one Manish Gupta, approached Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation for financial support for Rinku Devi.
On our behalf, Manish met her and saw the condition of her family. He noticed that Rinku Devi‘s husband had a grocery shop. After his death, it had been lying vacant. Manish suggested that we revive the shop. We immediately agreed.
The post-lockdown life has been difficult for all of us, but Rinku Devi was among the worst-affected. She tried to run the grocery shop somehow with a limited stock. However, the income was just not enough to sustain the family. Lockdowns continued, and no respite was in sight for her.
With financial support from us, Manish Gupta has now stocked her shop well. In fact, it is among the most well-stocked shop in the area now.
After her vacant shop got refilled, Rinku Devi thanked us profusely. She said she was glad that we did not merely help her with funds for a month or two, but made her self-reliant. She says she can now look after her children well, and live her life with dignity.
Watch the video below to see her happiness and relief:
4. Amit Sharma
Amit Sharma is a ‘divyang’, a term popularised by prime minister Narendra Modi for physically challenged people. A resident of Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh, he is associated with the state’s physically challenged sports association.
Early this year (2021), Amit decided to start a dhaba in Meerut. This was a unique initiative for the fact that the entire staff comprised of divyang people. They named it ‘Pandit Ji Kitchen’.
The venture was covered widely in the local media and received appreciation from various quarters.
The kitchen sold meals at an economical rate to school and college students, living in hostels nearby. The area has a number of private educational institutes.
Much to Amit’s disappointment, the second wave of Coronavirus hit the country and a lockdown came into effect in the state in April. Schools and colleges remained closed as did commercial establishments like malls and markets. Students returned to their homes. Hardly anyone was seen on the streets.
The kitchen, unfortunately, never picked up the way Amit had hoped it would. Nobody foresaw the second wave, after all.
Amit approached Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation for help. He wasn’t sure what kind of help he needed. After some conversations, we decided that we would adopt the kitchen as long as the lockdown was in place.
Amit said he was selling about 40 thalis everyday when the situation was normal. We decided to buy the same amount of thalis from him every day. Amit had an additional task though – to distribute the thalis for free to the needy, particularly daily wagers who were out of work during the lockdown.
This way, the dhaba kept running and no staff member lost his or her job. Teamwork!
We have not stopped this support even after the lockdown was lifted in June. We would be supporting Amit till the end of this year.
5. Santosh Kumar
Santosh Kumar Maurya lives in Gopalpur village of Mirzapur district in Uttar Pradesh. He is 50 percent handicapped. Both his legs have a problem. He cannot walk without support.
The struggle of living with such handicap was aggravated by the burden of responsibilities at a very young age. He had to quit his studies early. The family owns a patch of land in the village, but say they cannot use it for farming because of water problems.
Santosh is the only child of his parents. He left his village and moved to a town. Some years ago, he began working at an internet cafe. He earned about Rs 2,000 a month. With this trivial amount, he could barely survive. He is now married and has a kid, but the income has not moved up much.
The recent spate of lockdowns left him completely broke. He lost his job. He struggled to meet his family requirements. He was no more able to help his parents who, too, were solely dependent on him. He took a loan to survive, but that burdened him even more.
Our team happened to meet Santosh. When he learnt about us, he asked us for help. He said he wanted to buy a laptop and a printer to start an internet service shop.
We paid him the amount he had asked for, and some more. Soon, he bought the laptop and the printer. He also bought a small stock of mobile accessories to keep at his shop.
A week ago, he opened his shop. He has named it ‘Siva Maurya Online Seva Kendra’.
Watch his happiness here:
This is only the beginning. We are committed to rehabilitating many more families, particularly the ones from weak and marginalised sections.
Support us to make our sewa work reach every individual in need. Thanks to all of our Sahyogis who have stood by us even in the tough Covid times.