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.