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Shahnawaz Shaikh

Amid the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mumbai-based Shahnawaz Shaikh’s friend lost a close relative due to a lack of oxygen. The unfortunate incident pushed Shahnawaz to sell his own SUV to start an oxygen supply scheme. This scheme has helped more than 6,000 people to date, earning him the moniker of the ‘Oxygen Man of India’. This year, Shahnawaz has set up a control room under his organisation, the Unity and Dignity Foundation (UDF). His team at UDF receives more than 600 calls every day and has been efficiently helping coordinate and provide oxygen cylinders to people across Mumbai.

Haresh Shah

A teacher by profession, Haresh has been working relentlessly to help people since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. He has been predominantly working in Maharashtra’s rural areas by collaborating with other partners and setting up six COVID-19 Treatment and Recovery Centres in highly impacted areas. Haresh has also been running a continuous COVID-19 assistance helpline. Along with a few volunteers, he has managed to arrange 48 plasma donors and around 30 hospital beds in different parts of the country. He has also managed to arrange 11 oxygen cylinders and helped provide essential medicines to patients in critical need.

Mukti Kanta Pradhan

Mukti Kanta Pradhan, a cook by profession, has been dedicating his culinary prowess to help those in need. He spends more than half his day in the kitchen cooking meals for the poor. Since the lockdown began in May 2021, Mukti Kanta has provided meals for a small fee to those who can afford to pay. He then uses this money to provide food to the less privileged. He has been distributing food to street vendors, security guards, and homeless people around the city. He makes over 40 food packets a day and has supplied over 1,000 packets for free.

Akshay Sanjay Kothawale

When the pandemic struck in March 2020, Akshay, an autorickshaw driver from Pune, decided to use the Rs 2 lakh he had saved for his wedding to feed the poor. To date, he has arranged food for over 1,550 families and continues to distribute food packets to migrant workers in Pune everyday. Keeping aside his own needs, he has been selflessly giving to vulnerable groups. As people faced difficulty finding transport during the lockdown, Akshay ferried people in need to and from hospitals. He makes it a point to give medical workers free rides in his auto.

Santosh Kumar Panda

In Kiriburu, a remote village in Jhakrhand, access to basic medical facilities is still a major challenge. So good samaritan Santosh Kumar Panda has stepped to help those who cannot access adequate facilities at this time. He has been going out of his way to deliver essentials right to the doorstep of COVID-19 patients. Riding through dense forests, he has been making deliveries of not just food, medicines and other essentials, but also oxygen cylinders in remote tribal areas — all free of cost. With a team of 10 volunteers, Santosh has helped more than 75 people survive the pandemic.

Madhish Parikh

Madhish Parikh and his team have set up one of the largest oxygen banks in Ahmedabad. They have been giving vitamins to thousands of vulnerable people in need, and every day, they distribute home-cooked meals at government hospitals. They have also launched a website to share verified information of resources.

Madhish has helped raise Rs 70 lakh for COVID-19 relief, distributed over 10,000 ration kits, served over 5 lakh meals, and distributed over 2,000 face shields and more than 10,000 PPE kits, gloves and masks to frontline workers. He also arranged training programs with UNICEF Gujarat for over 100 volunteers.

Kirty & Milind Datar

Amid the pandemic, Milind Datar, an entrepreneur from Pune, started DonateMealPune with his wife, Kirty Datar. The couple has joined hands with various caterers around the city to distribute meals, along with immunity boosters to the hardworking police personnel who were manning the streets during the COVID-19 lockdown. They have also raised and donated around Rs 60 lakh in COVID relief through their efforts. They have distributed 550 coconuts and more than 5,000 bottles of sugarcane juice to police personnel.

Additionally, they have provided 2 lakh meals to people in need and distributed more than 12,000 masks and 8,000 sanitizers.

Malleshwar Rao

Malleshwar Rao, a humble man from Hyderabad, is doing all he can to help COVID-19 patients. He refills 70-80 oxygen cylinders each day from Cherlapally Industrial Area and delivers them to Durga Bhai Desh Mukh Hospital and Tirumala Hospital on his four-wheeler. Since the first wave, he has provided grocery kits to 70,000 families, served food to over 5,000 people everyday, and donated 23,000 PPE kits and 6,000 masks. Alongside, he has distributed water bottles among frontline workers, helped 150 people with emergencies by arranging calls with doctors, and distributed 50 tonnes of fruits and vegetables to those in need.

Sunand Sampath

Sunand Sampath, an engineer from Bangalore, is working to bridge the gap between people from different segments and the resources they require in these times. There’s a lot that this good samaritan has been up to amid the second wave. For one, he is supplying essentials and meal packs to members of the transgender community. Alongside, he has arranged for food for over 4,000 stray dogs, provided tele-counselling to 800 COVID-19 patients, helped send 3,500 migrant labourers back home, and distributed 15,000 rations kits. He has also provided financial support to two children’s homes and packed food for 8,000 people.

Sathya Sankaran

Sathya, with a group of 650 volunteer cyclists, is running an initiative to deliver food, medicines, and other essentials to COVID-19 patients and vulnerable groups such as senior citizens. Their aim is to tackle not one but two global crises — the pandemic and environmental degradation. With an average of 100 deliveries a day, Sathya’s Relief Riders operate in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Hubli-Dharwad, Silvassa, Guwahati, Gurugram, Jaipur, and Belagavi. They take all necessary precautions to safely deliver your supplies, even during a lockdown. And they do this all without adding a single ounce of carbon emission to the environment.

Dattatraya Sawant

Government school teacher and part-time autorickshaw driver Dattatraya Sawant decided to halt his primary occupation in order to selflessly provide relief to those in need during the pandemic. Dressed in a PPE suit, the Mumbai resident ferries COVID-19 patients and vulnerable groups such as senior citizens to and from hospitals and COVID care centres to make sure they can get access to timely medical attention. In fact, this inspiring man does so without charging a single penny. So far, the good samaritan has helped more than 70 people gain access critical medical care by setting aside his own needs.