Winters have arrived, and while the season is cherished by many for the wide range of food and clothing that it offers, among other reasons, it is harsh on the weaker sections of our society. Winters are hard for the poor for they cannot afford to remain cosy inside their blankets.
A large section of the working poor class comprises daily wagers, who get up early to assemble at various ‘labour chowks’ to find work for the day. The work could be of loading or unloading of goods from vehicles, construction, or running errands for businesses.
Most such daily wagers come to seek work without breakfast, let alone a wholesome nutritious breakfast. This makes them more vulnerable than others out on a full stomach.
Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation has thus started food distribution drives for such daily wagers. The drives started this week from two places – one in Ghaziabad and another in Northeast Delhi, which incidentally was hit by riots in 2020.
You can see pictures from one event below. We distributed home-cooked potato and other vegetables sandwiches served in brown paper packets, which also avoids the use of plastic.
We plan to have these drives on daily basis.
You can be a part of this drive by contributing to our Foundation. Link here.
We, at Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation, feel blessed to have been able to help many poor and downtrodden families.
A substantial number of people have been able to bounce back in their lives with our support, and more continue to do so. Our help has taken multiple forms and addressed myriad needs and we have been egged on by the passion of our founders and the zeal of our volunteers, who have sought to ensure that no family in need of help is deprived of that help.
The following cases show the extent that we have gone to pull individuals and families out of trouble.
Meena Devi had lost her husband several years ago. She was facing extreme hardship during the Covid-induced lockdown as markets and offices were closed down and people were forced to stay back home. Meena was struggling to access even the most essential items. One of our volunteers, Kartikeya, met her during our lockdown rehabilitation drive, and after getting to know about Meena’s plight, we immediately made arrangements for essential items to be provided to her. Meena has never ceased to thank us for the timely support that we had offered.
The people of Harkhadi village in Uttar Pradesh also found us standing strongly behind them whenever a need arose.
We helped the villagers in getting a hand pump installed, which made the availability of water in the village smooth and easy. Considering how several villages in the country face a terrible water crisis and how people are forced to travel long distances to fetch water, installation of hand pumps is often considered to be a major rural development measure. The foundation also undertook a blanket distribution drive in the village, helping needy families.
The best part about this initiative was that the villagers readily volunteered to facilitate the distribution drive and the blankets reached the intended beneficiaries even though we had never met them one on one.
Then we had Devandita Mishra, a law student who had a major leg surgery. She approached us for help for travelling from Ghaziabad to Gorakhpur following her surgery. She said she had booked tickets for general class, but after her surgery, she realised she needed better coach and seats. She said she had run out of money.
We were more than happy to assist her.
A family from West Bengal came under duress as their minor daughter was kidnapped and brought to Delhi. The girl was rescued after intervention of national child commission. While our co-founder Swati Goel Sharma was covering the case for Swarajyamag.com, the girl’s father revealed he was very poor and struggling to make ends meet. He said he did not have enough money to even make rounds of the police station for formalities.
We immediately helped the father with an amount.
We undertook extensive campaigns to support the underprivileged sections with ration and food during the lockdown. Ankur Kumar was one such individual whom we helped. The differently-abled hails from the scheduled caste community.
A road accident had badly damaged his spine. During the lockdown, Ankur and his family were finding it difficult to make ends meet. We made arrangements for essential items and also approached the ministry of social justice and empowerment on Ankur’s behalf with an appeal for medical aid.
Another one of our lockdown beneficiaries was Ashok Mishra, a labourer. He was hit by the disappearance of day-to-day earnings during the lockdown. Our volunteers met him during our lockdown rehabilitation drive and provided him with ration. Even after that initial help, our volunteers stayed in touch with him and his family.
Our sewa also involved monetary assistance to the kin of a murder victim as the compensation provided by the government was taking a long time to arrive.
This refers to the infamous Loten Nishad murder case, in which a youth in Uttar Pradesh was killed by his neighbours for his comments blaming the Tablighi Jamaat for the spread of the coronavirus in the initial stage of the pandemic last year. Loten’s elder brother Birju told us that the family was in urgent need of money as the compensation of Rs 5 lakh announced by the government was not immediately available.
Our founders, who were closely tracking the case, decided to lend their support. Accordingly, Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation transferred a small amount to Birju’s wife so that the family could survive till it received the government compensation.
Our sewa during the lockdown involved crucial support to migrants, who were stuck away from home with employment and livelihoods quickly vanishing. Nithya, a Tamil migrant living in Delhi, contacted us as her family was struggling to access basic and essential supplies.
We made arrangements for ration and other essential items to be provided to her. The video she sent expressing her gratitude would remain with us as our biggest earning.
Today, we can proudly say that the tales of service rendered by us have spread far and wide, and many individuals, impressed by our record, have approached us for help.
The recently-widowed Pushpa was one such individual. A resident of the riot-hit region of Delhi, Pushpa had lost the breadwinner of the family. The lockdown brought about more troubles and her family was struggling to make arrangements for essential supplies.
Looking at how we had supported families in her area, she contacted us in the hope of receiving support. We made sure that she did not go empty-handed as part of the riot rehabilitation and lockdown rehabilitation drives.
Then there was the case of Kaila Devi‘s family going tlhrough severe financial hardship following her death. When we learnt about the family’s misfortunes, we rushed to provide whatever little help we could. We also shared the case with the appropriate authorities so that the family gets some relief.
The foundation thanks all its volunteers for working selflessly to realise the dream of our idols to wipe the tears of as many needy families as possible. Do support us so that we can carry on in our endeavours with vigour.
The Covid-19 pandemic that struck last year brought the world to its knees. People died by the thousands and those who survived the coronavirus or were spared by it could not escape the destruction of livelihoods. The lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the virus brought the country to a standstill; people struggled to find two square meals a day. They were staring at extreme uncertainty. The daily wagers and the other unprivileged sections of society suffered the most and became more and more vulnerable as organisations shut down and sources of income vanished.
Many of those, who had come to big cities in the hope of earning a better living, were suddenly left high and dry. Some of them braved the virus and the crackdown by law enforcement personnel and started the long and arduous trek back home, where they could be with their near and dear ones in a time of crisis and would have at least something to eat. Those who stayed back were faced with despair.
Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation rushed to the aid of those stricken individuals and families. Our founders sent out volunteers with the task of identifying families that were in need of support. Although we could not pay them a regular salary, we ensured that they had enough to eat.
One such family was that of Sapna Devi. A daily wager, Sapna used to stay in Delhi with her family of four. She found her work to be severely affected because of the lockdown. Whatever Sapna had saved nearly dried up within a few weeks of the lockdown. Her family had run out of ration. Luckily, one of our volunteers Vijay got in touch with the family and delivered all essential supplies. We assured Sapna of every support whenever required.
Maya and her family members were also in dire straits. Delhi faced the twin crises of riots and lockdown last year. The worst affected areas housed the daily wagers and labourers. These sections were troubled the most as a result of the lockdown. Maya, a daily wage worker and a widow, was somehow managing to look after her family, but suddenly the pandemic broke out. The family did not know where the next meal would come from. Our volunteers were going door to door to locate the families in need. The volunteers met Maya and her family members and provided them with essential supplies.
Mukesh, a painter, used to brighten the walls of buildings, but his own life was surrounded by darkness. First, the riots and then the lockdown wreaked havoc in his life. The sudden lack of daily work hit him hard. Mukesh belonged to a category of workers, whose earning is largely seasonal. Soon Mukesh’s savings vanished and his family also ran out of essential supplies. Our volunteers met Mukesh and his family members and provided them with food and ration.
We met Suresh (name changed) in Delhi’s Shiv Vihar. Suresh stayed and worked at Gandhi Nagar. His wife used to stitch clothes for a living. The duo were somehow managing to raise their kids when disaster struck in the form of the lockdown. The family was struggling to feed itself. Our volunteers Kartikeya and Vandana reached out to Suresh and his family members and provided them with all the essential supplies, including our lockdown relief ration kit.
The foundation also jumped to the rescue of auto-rickshaw driver Ravi (name changed). There were no passengers for Ravi’s auto-rickshaw and work stopped due to the lockdown. The family hoped that things would soon be normal, but the lockdown kept stretching on. The family of seven was faced with starvation. Seeing our work in their locality, Ravi and his family members approached our volunteers, and soon found us standing behind them as a source of support. We made arrangements for essential supplies for Ravi and his family too.
If you are impressed by our sewa work, don’t forget to support us so that we can save many such families in need.
Delhi burnt at the start of last year as rabid mobs ran amok on the streets, looting, killing and vandalising as the entire world watched in horror. The protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act soon assumed communal colours and innocent people with no stake in the protests suffered. So the capital was hit by misfortune even before the pandemic struck, and when the pandemic did strike, families were completely devastated.
Amar Kumar, a resident of northeast Delhi, which was the epicentre of the riots, had his shop burnt down during the riots. His house was looted and mobs assaulted him as well. Amar’s family lost everything. The lockdown came close on the heels of the riots and Amar’s family sank deeper into crisis. The family had no way to sustain itself. One of our volunteers met him and his family members during our riot rehabilitation drive. Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation supported Amar and his family in whatever way that we could. We continued to support Amar later too.
Giriraj Sharma from Delhi’s Maujpura area sustained severe head injuries after a mob attacked him with an iron rod. He said he was beaten up for trying to protect a temple in his area. Giriraj had multiple stitches on his head. As a result of the injury, he had to miss work and also had to shell out a lot of money for his treatment. Not being from a well-to-do family, Giriraj struggled to bear all the expenses. When our volunteers shared Giriraj’s story with our founders, they made it a point that all possible help can be delivered to Giriraj and his family.
Vinod (name changed) and his three friends were caught unawares on February 24 last year when they had ventured out of their house to buy milk. Vinod and his friends were attacked within 200m of his house. Vinod sustained head injuries. They were shell-shocked and left to die. Vinod and his friends were somehow rescued and received medical assistance. They still can’t believe what happened to them on that fateful February day. Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation extended help to Vinod as part of its riot rehabilitation drive.
Rajendra Kumar Arora of northeast Delhi’s Moonga Nagar area also received help from our riot rehabilitation fund. A street vendor by profession, the elderly Arora used to run a small shop. One day, he had raised the shutters of his shop as usual. The area was in the grip of a pogrom at that time. Little did Arora know that he would soon be faced with the darkest day of his life. A bloodthirsty mob attacked and vandalised his shop, throwing all his belongings onto the street. Arora ran for his life. With our help, he was able to set up his shop again. The elderly Arora’s fight even after such a massive tragedy is extremely inspiring.
Shishpal, a tea-seller, from Moonga Nagar also has a similar story to share. Moonga Nagar falls in northeast Delhi, which was one of the areas worst hit by the riots. His shop was attacked and vandalised by a mob. Shishpal had gone to open his shop when he came under attack. Traumatised, Shishpal tried to save his only source of income but failed. He ran for his life. The riots left Shishpal with a broken cart and lost hope. Our volunteers met Shishpal and extended support. Then when the going got tough during the lockdown, we provided him with ration kits as well.
Another resident of Moonga Nagar who faced the brunt of the riots was Pooran Singh. He is from a lower middle-class background and lived in a big joint family. The family was somehow managing to survive, but the riots brought about large-scale destruction. A mob targeted Pooran’s house, pelted stones at it and vandalised the belongings, not even sparing the ration that was there in the house. The distressed family, seeing our sewa work, approached us. We transferred an immediate relief fund and also provided the family with essential supplies.
Subhash Gupta from northeast Delhi used to run a garment shop and a godown. Mobs went on the rampage in his area and Gupta’s shop and belongings were gutted. Even his house was partially burnt. The lockdown that followed made Gupta’s situation even worse. His savings had run thin and his shop needed renovation before it could open again. We met him during our riot rehabilitation drive and helped him with an immediate fund transfer and also with essential supplies.
Kaushal and family members, who belong to the scheduled caste category, were left in terrible trauma after the riots. They witnessed severe damage to their property and things went from bad to worse as a result of the lockdown. The income source of the family was badly disrupted and the family members sought our help. We were happy to support Kaushal and his family members with our riot rehabilitation fund.
Somdutt, who had migrated to Delhi from Rajasthan’s Alwar and was working in the capital, was stabbed with a knife during the riots. Somdutt belongs to a lower-middle-class family. We met him and his family after we came to know of their plight. The family members burst into tears while narrating the story of the assault. Somdutt’s condition was serious when we met him in the hospital. After recovering a little, he went back to his village and is yet to return to Delhi. Even after he had left Delhi, we were in contact with him.
If you feel that our sewa work has been worthwhile, do support us so that we can help many families like these.
For many, the strict nationwide lockdown imposed last year to break the chain of coronavirus infections provided a rare and welcome break from maddening work schedules and pressing deadlines. For those working from the comforts of their homes, it gave the opportunity to spend time with their families. There were, however, financial hits to bear for nearly everybody. For the underprivileged sections of society, the loss of livelihood became difficult to withstand, and for those whose professions demanded them to go out on the streets, the lockdown came as a killer blow.
We can proudly say today that our timely intervention helped saved three families who depended on their three-wheelers. We helped them in getting back on their feet after their vehicles were as shooed away from the streets as a result of the lockdown.
The streets were deserted and auto-rickshaw driver Prabendra Kumar was forced to cool his heels at home. The lockdown drove passengers away and Prabendra’s savings dried up. His family ran out of supplies and did not even have money to buy groceries. We learnt about Prabendra’s plight from our teams that regularly visited slums and daily wagers’ colonies. We arranged for immediate supplies so that Prabendra and his family did not go hungry.
We had stood staunchly behind the victims of the Delhi riots a few months earlier and the lockdown brought with it newer and stiffer challenges. We saw from close quarters how uncertain the lives of slum-dwellers had become. Our founders had been sending volunteers to find families in dire need of help. We found families struggling for even the most basic needs of life.
Like Prabendra Kumar, Satendra (name changed) used to drive an auto-rickshaw for a living. His work was severely dented by the lockdown and his family was reeling under crisis. One of our volunteers Rahul met the family during our lockdown ration distribution drive. We at once provided the family with the necessary supplies.
Sablu Kumar, who pulls a rickshaw in northeast Delhi’s Shiv Vihar area, also received our help to tide over the lockdown woes. He was already struggling when the lockdown was imposed and the sudden disappearance of passengers pushed him further into trouble as his job stopped fetching the little money that it was fetching. Sablu and his family of six struggled to make ends meet.
Our volunteer Kartikeya, himself a resident of Shiv Vihar, met Sablu and narrated to our founders Sablu’s story. We helped him with immediate supplies. Inspired by our sewa work, Sablu subsequently became our volunteer and helped us reach others crying for help. He became a Sewa Nyaya volunteer himself for the ration distribution drive. Now that the lockdown has been lifted and with Sablu’s rickshaw not earning him much, he turned to vegetable vending. Sablu has been someone who has frequently received help from us.
Our relationship with our beneficiaries has been enduring and we do not forget them after we extend help. We have supported them every time they have run into trouble. We are grateful to volunteers like Rahul and Kartikeya, who dared to venture out of their homes at a time when the coronavirus was running amok and selflessly serve humanity. Your support would allow indefatigable volunteers like Rahul and Kartikeya to work with even greater motivation.
Delhi last year was torn apart by some of the worst riots in its history; surely the biggest since the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984. Families lost their breadwinners. Many turned homeless overnight. Others lost their livelihoods.
Shyam Sahni lives in northeastern part of the city, which was one of the worst affected by the riots. He used to run a tea stall on rent and had a rented accommodation for him and his family on the floor above. Rioters looted his house and vandalised his shop. They carried away Shyam’s six gas cylinders and stocks of ration. Shyam and his family barely escaped with their lives with the help of their landlord. We met the family as part of our riot rehabilitation drive. We helped the family with a relief fund. We also made sure they were regular beneficiaries of a month-long free food drive in the area during lockdown.
Subhash Gupta was another victim of the Delhi riots. He had a garment shop and godown. His shop was looted and set afire, and was partially burnt. Like Shyam, Subhash also escaped with his life. His earnings of lifetime was tuned into ashes. Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation offered a monetary grant from its riot rehabilitation fund to help him in reviving his life and livelihood. Even if we were not able to turn his shop new again, we certainly ensured that the shop is well-stocked. Our indefatigable volunteers have worked day in and day out to help those like Subhash, who badly need it.
Chandrapal Singh, a 66-year-old vegetable seller, found his cart destroyed by the rioters. Chandrapal and his family lost their only source of living. After learning of their plight, we sent them immediate help, with which Chandrapal could resurrect his business. The courageous Chandrapal never gave up despite terrible odds and desrves respect for that.
Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation has always tried to rescue families that have been driven to the edge of collapse as a result of misfortune. Our volunteers and sahyogis have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us to realise our sewa goals. They have hit the streets even when the rest of the society had chosen to stay indoors. We have sought to build a human chain, whereby if one falls, others undertake rescues. The rescued families have never ceased to thank us.