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Shruti, Ganga & Jamuna

Engineer Shruti Kaushik, along with Ganga Negi, a student of social work and Jamuna, an athlete, are providing free meals with bottled water at a hospital in Dehradun. Each day the trio drive to the Doon hospital where they serve about 300 meals and over 200 water bottles to COVID-19 patients, hospital staff and policemen on duty. To date, they have worked tirelessly to distribute over 5,000 meals. The team has also set up an oxygen langar where those in need are provided an oxygen concentrator, for free. They have been able to provide oxygen to over 90 COVID-19 patients.

Payal Jain

Despite incurring heavy losses due to the pandemic, a restaurant-owner from Mumbai, Payal Jain has dedicated most of her staff to cook nutritious meals for frontline workers across the city. Started almost a month ago, she has distributed more than 1,000 meal packets to police staff, auto rickshaw drivers, healthcare workers, security guards, housekeeping staff and the underprivileged living in various slums across Mumbai. She had opened her restaurant, Cafe Peter, in March 2021 but her dwindling business pushed her to contemplate shutting down. However, the idea to provide free meals to frontline workers gave her a new-found positive purpose.

Mahita Nagaraj

Mahita’s group started when she got a call from a UK friend to send some supplies to her parents. That’s when she formed the Caremongers. She named the initiative Human Kind Global. The group, operational across Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media, consists of over 70,000 volunteers located across over 100 countries. Within a year, the voluntary initiative has fulfilled over five million requests in 21 countries across the world. On 9 May 2021, they recieved 18000 calls in one day and were able to tackle that with the number of volunteers that have joined her in the past month.

Mehak & Rhea

Mehak Singhal, 23, and Rhea Singhal, 20, have worked tirelessly to provide verified resources of oxygen cylinders, plasma and medicines to people across Delhi-NCR during the second wave of the pandemic. After their entire family contracted the virus and while helping another friend find COVID resources, the sisters realised the sheer chaos to get verified information. Mehak and Rhea slept for less than an hour a day and performed the mentally-strenuous task of verifying, accumulating and providing resources to anyone who reached out to them. Even though they faced many challenges, they didn’t let anything deter them from their cause.

Srabasti Ghosh

Every morning, Kolkata-based Srabasti Ghosh and her mother, Ajanta Ghosh, prepare wholesome meals for almost a 100 COVID-19 patients for free. A thespian and a private sector employee, she juggles her time between work and COVID relief initiatives, such as distributing lunch and dinner meal packets for almost 100 people, coordinating to get hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, medicines and other essentials for COVID-19 patients. Dedicating her time and savings, she supports hundreds of strangers across the city on a daily basis. Srabasti spends at least Rs 5,000 everyday, which has amounted to an expenditure of more than Rs 1 lakh.

Trishi & Riya Pandey, Prashanto & Priya Banerjee

When Trishi and Riya Pandey and Prashanto and Priya Banerjee returned to Ranchi in April, they came across people in the street who could not afford one meal a day. This was when the four neighbours started ‘Daal-Chawal’. The team buys rice, dal, biscuits and bread, packs the items at home and then sets out every day to distribute these packets. Each day the group spends more than six hours putting together and distributing the packets. Till date the team has distributed over 400 kilograms of dal and rice. Trishi and her team have also been distributing masks for free.

Palanivel & Raghavendar

Palanivel and Raghvendar, mechanical engineers from Mylapore, Chennai, were forced to shut their own small business due to the lockdown. They decided to use their savings to help the needy and started delivering groceries, vegetables and medicines to senior citizens who live alone and to COVID positive patients across the city. The residents only gave them the money for the essentials, as Palanivel and Raghvendar refused to take any fees for their service. They have also been feeding homeless people, many of whom are elderly and unable to feed themselves. They have distributed around 1,000 nutritious meal packets till now.

Aditya Dessai

Aditya Dessai, an engineer based in Goa, has been diligently going to markets, offices and homes of people affected with COVID-19 to disinfect these spaces. With the local administration unable to help all the people in need, he along with a team of volunteers, have been risking their lives to sanitise over 100 places across the state. While the cost of sanitisation is Rs 1,500, Aditya and his dedicated team have been setting aside their work to disinfect areas free of cost. He has also been regularly transporting oxygen cylinders and food packets to workers at testing centers across Goa.

Shyam Kurup

A Naval architect from Alappuzha, Kerala, Shyam and his team have raised funds and are building a COVID care centre with 150 beds to prepare for the third wave. He runs an emergency delivery system to deliver medicines to over 250 covid patients so far. Shyam risks leaving his sister, who lives with disability, while he is out on the streets helping people in need. He also goes without food on several days because of the lockdown. One day, Shyam came across 12 women who needed food. He used his own money to feed them. Incidences like these are frequent.

Amreen Farooq

Delhi-based Amreen Farooq has been spending no less than 18 hours a day distributing ration and cooked meals to the underprivileged. She has distributed rations among 500 families and provided 1,400 cooked meals to date. Realising the issues faced by homeless women and women living in low income areas, Amreen started providing sanitation kits to them, which includes masks and sanitary napkins. Additionally, she provides milk substitutes for babies in such underprivileged families. At a time when relatives of patients were falling into the traps of fraudsters, Amreen and her group of volunteers have been regularly verifying oxygen cylinder leads.

Arshmeen Baveja

Troubled by the impact that the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was having on migrant labourers, 25-year-old Arshmeen Baveja from Delhi has raised funds in a unique way. An engineer by profession is also passionate about painting. Putting her talents to good use, Arshmeen used her brush strokes for a noble cause. She digitally painted 10 artworks and put them up for sale. Her beautiful artworks helped her raise over Rs 42,000 in just 10 days. With the amount that she raised, Arshmeen generously donated the same to the Migrant Workers Solidarity Network to take their work forward.

Sandip Kusalkar

Sandip Kusalkar, a 36-year-old freelance journalist from Ahmednagar, lives in the district with one of the highest rates of infection in Maharashtra. He bought ventilators as well as oxygen concentrators for two hospitals in rural areas. Sandip also distributed over 2,000 grocery kits. He also took a loan of Rs 3 lakh and has helped 2,000 people in villages get vaccinated. Losing three classmates to COVID, Sandip is now setting up a COVID Care Centre for children. He has identified around 40 children in the district who have lost a family member to COVID to help them with their education.

Sadam Hanjabam

Sadam, a PhD scholar from Imphal in Manipur, has been working for more than 12 hours a day to help people fight COVID-19. He, along with his volunteers, run a mental health helpline that reaches out to people who have lost their livelihood or a family member. Sadam also provides food, medicines to COVID positive patients and families. He also provides oximeters and fulfills requests for essentials by amplifying these needs. Sadam has also joined hands with the authorities to help set up a Child COVID Care centre where children who contract the infection can be provided with immediate treatment.

Sasikanta Dash

Sasi Kanta Dash, a college principal from Pondicherry, has been distributing food and groceries in rural areas. Sasi Kanta has been helping people while also feeding over 300 animals, including birds, cows, cats and dogs every day. He spends six hours everyday carrying out his volunteer work. An environmentalist by nature, Sasi Kanta believes that COVID has spread wildly because we have exploited nature to extreme ends. To make up for this exploitation, Sasi Kanta has also started a new initiative whereby he plants six jackfruit trees in his village each time someone from his community passes away from COVID.

Mansoor Chetlu

Mansoor Chetlu, a 32-year-old resident of Bengaluru, has distributed free food packets, oxygen cylinders, guided people on how to use these cylinders and helped open a COVID triage in collaboration with Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). A subcontractor by profession, Mansoor lost his job in March 2021. But he used his resources such as luggage trucks and tools to set up oxygen pipelines for his new initiative. Working for about 18 hours a day, Mansoor has helped over 1,000 people affected by COVID. He is now determined to set up another triage for the destitute who lack valid identification cards.

Yatish Babu

Yatish Babu has been providing oxygen cylinders free of cost in Bengaluru. He has distributed over 300 oxygen cylinders that he bought from his own savings. Seeing how people were dying just because they did not have access to cylinders, is what inspired Yatish to take up this cause. He has faced many challenges such as travelling long distances to provide a cylinder late at night, entering rooms of elderly COVID patients to check their oxygen saturation levels when their children have abandoned them or even climbing to the fifth floor of a building with a 50kg cylinder in hand.

Rachel Violet Michael

Bengaluru-based Rachel is not your ordinary 23-year-old. Her determination to serve COVID-19 patients brought her to an overburdened COVID ward of a hospital that was falling short of frontline staff. Spending nine hours a day in a PPE suit, did not stop her from volunteering to be a nurse at the hospital. From changing their clothes and diapers, to holding their hands in their last moments, Rachel was there for every patient for 20-long days. While she was struggling to keep herself mentally strong, Rachel also supported critical COVID patients who missed their families or those who died in isolation.

Akshey Gera

After contracting COVID-19, Akshey Gera, a bank manager in Panipat, Haryana, was appalled by how expensive his treatment was. Lying in isolation, he began to wonder how those less fortunate than him could afford the treatment. What would happen to them and their families? This was when the selfless young lad began making regular visits to a hospital in the city to find out if anyone was struggling to buy the medicines or other medical essentials. Since then, the 27-year-old has been able to pay the bills and buy medicines for over 10 people out of his hard-earned savings.