New Delhi: At a time when stories of social distress, sickness, deaths and malaise are coming from all across the country during Covid-19 pandemic, there have been few incidents offering solace as well. After the health crisis hit the country leaving the poor and marginalised worst affected, government, the social services sector, corporates started extending help to those impacted by the lockdown. Behind this, few unintended needy also got benefitted either by hitherto unimaginable employment opportunities such as mask sewing, temporary free rations or financial help in the name of Covid-19 aid.
For instance, with a rising demand for face masks in the wake of Covid-19, lakhs of people got skill training and got employment for sewing masks. In Jaipur, several differently-abled people, who were earlier looking for a job, are now employed and earning a stipend of ₹3,000 per month for sewing masks.
Jaipur-based NGO Narayan Seva Sansthan wanted to provide more than 40,000 face masks and 525 PPE kits to the various needy, railway employees, police, deprived people and daily wage earners. But the NGO was clueless how to procure them. They decided to hire people to sew masks. And the decision brought fortune to many, like Udaipur resident 25-year-old Bashilal Meghwal a differently-abled person. He received skill training at Narayan Seva Sansthan on mask sewing. “Due to Covid-19 pandemic, as millions of lives got derailed, many got motivated as well and they came together and provided their services in several sectors like health, free food, mask distribution, ration kits, jobs to the poor, and help to migrants,” Prashant Agarwal, President, Narayan Seva Sansthan said.
Another heartening story amid pandemic is that of Dhiraj Mushahar, a 68-year-old resident of Koran Sarai, in Buxar, Bihar. Affected by polio on his left leg, Mushahar had to resort to begging to make ends meet for himself and his family. It was difficult for him to look after a family of 10, especially in the present scenario, where lockdown has restricted the movement of people on road, taking a beat on his only means of survival. “There are days when I can’t manage even ₹10″, says Mushahar, expressing the looming uncertainty over the next meal. The prevailing conditions have forced his family to take only a square meal per day. His prolonged illness has barred him from working leaving the burden of income generation on his 3 daughters. Jyoti (27), Saraswati (25) and Chotti (19) are the bread-earners of the family, working as day labourers. Their mother died five years ago due to cancer.
During the Covid-19 crisis, The Hans Foundation along with CARITAS India started offering meals and rations to the poor. During these dire times, Mushahar has been getting regular rations and will continue to get for the coming few months, which was never possible earlier.
Owing to nationwide lockdown, many poor lost their jobs but several police officials along with government-organised community kitchens for feeding those left high and dry.