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Kailash Tandel

Kailash Tandel, a doctoral student at IIT Bombay, has been visually impaired since childhood. Coming from a fishing community near Cuffe Parade, Mumbai, he is trying to organise medical aid and food for the fishing community as well as persons with disabilities. He has also been educating the youth in his area and has mobilised 15 others to join him. Together, the group has been able to reach out to 920 families with ration kits, have distributed sanitary pads to 3,000 women, and handed out 300 sanitizers to people across Machimaar Nagar, Sudaam Jhopdi, Darya Nagar and Murti Nagar.

Dr. Harmandeep Singh Boparai

Dr. Harmandeep Singh Boparai was working as a frontline worker in New York. But when he saw his own nation buckle under the weight of the coronavirus, he returned to his hometown, Amritsar to help with the growing number of cases.⁠ He began by imparting training to nurses and doctors in the region to help them properly understand the COVID protocol. However, when COVID-19 cases began rising again, he decided to stay back in India. The 34-year-old doctor, who is a specialist in anaesthesiology and critical care, is currently working with Doctors Without Borders at a 1000-bed Mumbai hospital.

Manisha Balaji Waghmare

Every day, 29-year-old Manisha Balaji Waghmare travels almost 32 km from her home in Kasbe Tadwale village, Maharashtra, to the Osmanabad district civil hospital on her scooter to feed COVID patients and their families nutritious home-cooked meals. Manisha has been carrying a minimum of 100 tiffin boxes every day for several days now. She has already fed more than 2,000 people, all for free, at her own expense of Rs 7,000 daily. But neither the expenses, nor the distance has affected her determination to help people selflessly, as she believes helping one another is the only way to combat the pandemic.

Chandra Prakash Ojha

Chandra Prakash Ojha, a 60-year-old resident of Bikaner, Rajasthan, did not let his age come in between him and his zeal to help families suffering from COVID-19. With a group of volunteers, he provides free and fresh home-cooked food to 100 families twice a day. He continuously provides food to each family for all 14 days of recovery and until the family tells him that they won’t need the food anymore. He pays special attention to the food of patients who suffer from comorbidities such as diabetes. Despite his age, he has been giving his all to this cause.

Nisha Bhagat

Nisha Bhagat, a tribal woman who runs a café in Ranchi, Jharkhand, received frantic calls requesting her to supply khichdi to a family who had tested positive for COVID-19, as they were unable to cook food. She then decided to start providing food to COVID patients for free. She posted a message on social media about her free food service for patients and immediately started getting calls for help. Nisha starts cooking the meals at 5 am to deliver them to patients on time. She has made and delivered over 5,000 packets of nutritious and home-cooked meals till date.

Arshi Ansari

Arshi Ansari, a 26-year-old from Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, runs a computer coaching centre. When Arshi’s father tested positive for COVID-19 and was gasping for oxygen, she faced a lot of trouble finding it for him. So she decided to deliver oxygen cylinders on her two-wheeler to people in need around Shahjahanpur and Hardoi, which is 67 km away from the city. She also went as far as states such as Uttarakhand to offer help. Earning the title of ‘Cylinder Bitiya (daughter)’, Arshi has put her own health at risk of pandemic and refuses to charge any fee for her service.

Fasil Ali

Fasil Ali, a martial arts trainer from Jammu and Kashmir, has been reaching out to COVID patients troubled by the lockdown. He launched a helpdesk for people with comorbidities who found it difficult to reach hospitals for important check-ups like kidney patients on dialysis, mothers in labour or those needing ambulance services. Working almost 24 hours a day, he identified at-risk groups in the community and arranged COVID tests for them. He ensured delivery of home-cooked food, medicines and essentials to the doorsteps of families affected by the virus, and rehabilitated youth battling drug addiction due to job loss.

Pranav Gupta

Pranav Gupta, a 26-year-old entrepreneur from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, has been tirelessly working to purchase and set up oxygen concentrators in the remote villages of Gujarat so that COVID-19 patients can access critical medical facilities. Pranav, along with a team of five others, has also provided medical kits to over 3,000 families across 10 districts in the state so far. Working over 12 hours, day and night, and putting aside his own work, the selfless young man has also set up community kitchens. These kitchens have been providing 500 meals a day to both — COVID-19 hospital staff and patients.

Pallavi Priya

Pallavi Priya, a young software engineer in Hyderabad, was determined to help those most in need during the pandemic. She has been providing food to over 700 daily wagers and has also been providing groceries to over 100 families in Hyderabad. Apart from this, she has also distributed sanitary napkins to 500 women across the city. Pallavi ensures that only eco-friendly products are used while distributing food, groceries or sanitary napkins. She has also been collecting old phones and laptops that are then sent to government schools and underprivileged children so that they can continue their education during the lockdown.

Zahra Ali

Zahra Ali Akthar, a helpline volunteer at Mercy Mission and a member of Project Smile Trust, deals with COVID-19-related emergencies in Bengaluru. Zahra has been answering over 300 calls per day from family members of patients or COVID-19 patients themselves. Equipped with a notepad and a laptop, the 37-year-old quickly jots down their details and patches them through to the right resources. The mother of three gets her strength from her kids who often try to help her by taking down details. With a less than 15-minute break for meals, she is available day and night to recieve calls.

Shruti Mittal

Shruti Mittal, a social media influencer from Delhi, and her group of volunteers work day and night to help people get access to oxygen, hospital beds, essential medicines, ambulances, food and plasma donors. From finding a bed at midnight for a critical patient to calling up patients’ relatives, Shruti works for more than 18 hours a day, sometimes getting just 2 hours of sleep. While verifying leads for all essential services for COVID treatment, Shruti also identifies fraudsters selling essentials on the black market at exponential rates. She aranges awareness sessions about COVID in collaboration with hospitals through social media.

Sahil Momin & Anish Momin

Sahil Momin and Anish Momin took it upon themselves to fill and distribute oxygen cylinders free of cost. The uncle-nephew duo pooled in their money and collected funds from their family members, friends and even community members. They made it their daily task to reach the oxygen plant early, fill oxygen cylinders and distribute it to those in need. At the peak of the pandemic, Sahil and Anish were spending anywhere between Rs 40,000-50,000 per day on transportation and cylinder costs. Both have worked tirelessly to transport over 10,000 cylinders to both — urban and rural parts of Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Madhumitha Gomathinayagam

Madhumitha Gomathinayagam, a resident of Chennai, is India’s first transgender HR professional. From creating awareness on the importance of wearing masks to providing grocery kits to differently-abled people, those who are bedridden, cancer patients, transgenders, senior citizens and abandoned women — she has been doing it all by herself. Risking her life to serve people everyday, Madhumitha also reaches out to pregnant women with nutritious meals, to less-privileged women with sanitary pads and to children with books and stationery. She has not stopped for even a day to rest and continues her battle against hunger caused by this raging pandemic.

Chandrajeet Kumar

Delhi-based Chandrajeet Kumar is helping slum dwellers across the city as well as villagers to fight the pandemic. Chandrajeet started with organising free doctoral consultations, procuring oxygen concentrators for those in need and getting people access to an oxygen ambulance. Working almost 20 hours a day and hardly finding time to prepare for his civil services exam, Chandrajeet has left no stone unturned. He started a 25-bed COVID care centre in a village in Haryana that could benefit neighbouring villages too. He has also helped set up an oxygen kiosk and a free ambulance in another village in Bihar.

Akaash Sarkar

As the COVID-19 second wave intensified, 23-year-old Kolkata-based student, Akaash Sarkar, wondered about the condition of pet-parents who were affected by the coronavirus. Pet parent to his dog called Sandy, he could relate to the challenges of taking care of dogs while fighting a life-threatening disease and so he volunteered to foster them for the 14-day quarantine period. Through a social media post, he threw open his doors to both strays and domesticated dogs, and reached out even during the recent cyclone Tauktae. He has managed to take care of five dogs, providing them with nutritious meals, shelter and love.

Mukesh Hissariya

Mukesh Hissariya, 49, is no ordinary man. This businessman from Patna, Bihar, has been conducting the last rites and cremation of those who have lost their lives to COVID-19. So far, he has conducted the funerals of 130 coronavirus victims, and among these, he has cremated 35 such bodies where the family members of the victim did not turn up, perhaps fearing for their own safety. Mukesh has also been organising blood donation drives and free medicines for children suffering from a rare blood disease — thalassemia. He has spent over Rs 3 lakhs of his savings for this cause.

Madhav Prasad Joshi

Madhav Prasad Joshi, a 44-year-old medical store owner, has been the much needed respite for people in the hilly areas of Uttarakhand. He has walked more than 22kms per day, crossing the 100-km mark, to provide relief material and Kadha, which is made of Indian spices, to the villagers. While distributing masks, sanitizers and medicines, Madhav informs people about the protocols to follow in order to take precautions against the virus. He, along with his group of volunteers, have made it a point to spread their contact numbers across villages and reach the most remote areas to provide much-needed help.

Yesu Raja

Chennai-based make-up artist and LGBTQ activist, Yesu Raja, has made strides in empowering the queer community. During the lockdown, when several members of the community faced challenges to find even basic essentials, Yesu stepped in to help them. Founder of Magizhvan Foundation, he used his personal resources to provide food and groceries to over 150 families and even paid the house rent for 10 people. At a time when many were losing their jobs, he managed to find employment for two people. But above all, he has also been facilitating free counselling services to over 100 people from the community.