BHOPAL: The residents of a housing society in the city have adopted a few families who have lost their earning members to Covid-19.
'Helping Hands' is a group of around 40 residents of the Flamingo Colony in Aakriti Eco-City. It was formed during the last wave of the pandemic and was meant primarily for helping those living in the colony, especially senior citizens, facing problems due to the lockdown.
The group was the brainchild of Avi Udenia and Nitin Tiwari- both residents of the colony. But, slowly, they expanded their work outside the colony. "We started arranging for lunch and dinner for around 250 labourers who were stuck in the city," says Udenia, an educationist.
During the second wave, the most important work of the group is extending a helping hand to middle-class families who have lost their earning members, are hand to mouth but are too embarrassed to seek help.
Udenia recalls that one of the families being helped by them has two women and four kids. Their husbands used to run a school and the family was quite comfortable. Then, Covid struck and took away both the men. The expenses on treatment and the drying up of income left the family very vulnerable.
"When we came to know about them, we decided to supply them rations that would last them for a full month. We'll replenish the supplies next month and we'll continue to do so until the family becomes self-sufficient," Udenia says.
The group members are trying to arrange for a permanent source of income for the family. "Our first priority is to get the school running again. We may pay the rent for the building or help them run online classes. If that isnít possible, we'll try to secure a job for one of the women, who is qualified enough to get a data entry operatorís job," she says.
Earlier, they helped the brother of a cancer patient secure a job. "He was in the I-T sector, but lost his job. We got him work in our institution," she says.
The group has employed the son of another Covid victim as an office boy. "I think it's better to help five families till they become self-sufficient rather than giving partial help to 100," she says.
In the second wave, they have mainly supplied dry rations to groups supplying cooked food to the needy in various parts of the city. "We make weekly supplies to them," says Udenia. They need backup and the group provides it. They have, so far, supplied around 1,500 kg each of wheat flour and rice, 800 kg of pulses, 1,000 litres of edible oil and 500 kg of sugar.
They have also launched a medicine drive under which they collect unused medicines of Covid and non-Covid patients and supply them to Hamidia and JP Hospitals. "Some doctors in these hospitals are helping us channel these medicines to needy patients. We also have arrangements with some chemists that, if someone comes to their shop who canít afford medicines, they can inform us," she says.
Some members have also donated plasma. They have also supplied oxygen cylinders and some medicines and injections by securing supplies from other cities. Their latest venture is supplying raw material for preparing breakfast for 500 people.
She says that the satisfaction one gets by coming to the aid of someone in distress is immeasurable. "Ours is an upper middle-class colony and everyone is helping in whatever way they can. It is with their help that we've been able to do whatever we've done," Udenia says.