Leena Parikh, CA     Jun 26, 2020     2547


The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a looming crisis for economies across the globe including India. As a very unprecedented move, the Government of India had to impose a nationwide lockdown commencing March 25th, to check the spread in the country and keep the number of fatalities to the lowest possible number. We didn’t have a choice but to confine ourselves indoors. Different classes of people utilized their time in their own ways; reading, learning to cook, working out, posting over social media and so forth. Then there are people like us who could work from home and win bread for our households. To an extent we had to learn to live with such situations.

However, in a country like India where a huge number of people are employed in the informal sector, live on daily wages. They are the ones that are worst affected as they don't have financial balance and can barely save for their food and shelter to last beyond a week. Neither they have any proper work contracts nor are they protected by labour law of the country. As the subsequent phases of lockdowns kept being enforced, it was becoming increasingly evident that the true challenge for such people wasn’t to evade the coronavirus anymore but just to get enough food to stay alive. Staying indoors and surviving is not an option for them. The lockdown only exposed them to starvation. Although the lockdowns are being partially relaxed now, there is still so much to be done for the families that were left deprived during the pandemic.

These are families of construction workers, contract workers, street sellers, rickshaw drivers, cart pullers, laborers etc. who were already forced to dwell on footpaths or makeshift huts and depend upon donations to feed themselves and cook on stoves made of bricks (burning twigs for fuel). Sometimes they just have to skip the meal. Even worse, a lot of these people are migrant labourers who migrated to larger cities, leaving their families behind at their native rural villages. Earlier they could feed themselves by buying cooked food from cheap street vendors but now even the street vendors are out of business indefinitely and unsure of how they are going to feed themselves.

It’s quite an irony that the people that helped us build our houses and offices, have to stay out in the open, without earnings; and the people that helped build the hotels and restaurants are left with very little to fill their stomachs. It’s a pity that they have been left out of the mainstream and never treated as a part of the society that we live in.

"The reports of people sleeping hungry had been coming out, we feel that as human beings, it's our responsibility to help the most vulnerable amongst us in their time of need.”

Many people complain of air conditioning  malfunction or poor internet connection but once we see the miserable situation of this section of our society we can only imagine how fortunate we are that we have food on our plates and a place to live. 

Entigrity Foundation came up with a thought to use some of our capacity to serve this underprivileged section of the society.

Started Food Distribution Drives: Entigrity Foundation came up with a thought to use some of our capacity to serve this underprivileged section of the society. Entigrity split in teams of 2 or sometimes more, set out to distribute packets of uncooked food items as well as cooked meals to the needy people living on the streets, of course wearing masks and gloves at all times. What we started doing was thrice in every week, with each team visiting different locations, together we try to cover the entire western Ahmedabad as our region of service.

“The best part of our food distribution system was that we are going door to door. We are providing them freshly cooked food packets following social distancing and lockdown norms.”

Food Kits and Ready Meal: Our food kits consist of 2 kilograms of wheat flour, 1 kilo of rice, half a kilo of pulses and 6 oz of cooking oil. These items put together are good to feed a family of 3-4 people for about 5-6 times. We also distribute cooked meals for those who can’t cook for themselves. The cooked meals are different on different days, but are taken care of that they sustain for long.

We try and ensure that we do not visit the same spot again on consecutive drives so that we are able to help as many families as we can. 

Starting from May 1st week. so far Entigrity Foundation has distributed 3500+ Food Kits to the street dwellers living in multiple localities of Ahmedabad. We intend to distribute another 7000 food kits and 20000 Meals in July - August that can support more than 1 thousand families. 

We intend to distribute 1000 food kits every week for the rest of the year. Although this series of drives was started to help the underprivileged during lockdown, going forward we would want to continue it further even after life restores to normalcy. 

Entigrity Foundation wants to extend a note of thanks to our volunteers Himanshu Nayak, Piyush Sharma, Rajesh Chudasama, Satish Gramany, Akshay Shah, Kaushal Shah, Kirtan Dave, Krutik Shah, Tejas Bhatt, Yash Pancholi, Hem Shah, Hardik Parikh, Swapnil Alani, Subrat Satapathy, Dilip Makwana, Babu Thakor and many others who have proactively volunteered in this drive and have been supporting us selflessly and fearlessly in this cause. Their support is truly valuable and is worth a mention because every drive needs about 3-4 hours of time on hot summer noons and which they could use otherwise with their families. 

“Although we believe that no help will be enough to bring the lives of these people back to normalcy anytime soon, we will continue our efforts and contribute towards reducing the problem to every possible extent that we can.”

We feel blessed to have this opportunity, taking small steps on a noble path where we can nourish a few lives and bring some relief to the people who have suffered the worst. It feels great to know that we are not alone in this. However most of the focus of the government and other NGOs are centered towards just feeding the street dwellers and no thoughts on how to provide them a proper place to live. We are at the peak of summers in India when heat waves are very common. This will be followed by monsoons, which will bring even more miseries. So far, no administration has been able to find a solution to the accommodation problem of the destitute.

For an idea, as all government run schools, colleges and universities or similar properties are closed during these times, they could be used as temporary shelter homes. If the urban development plans can consist of parks, libraries and convention centers, they can surely create a plan to create shelter homes for the underprivileged.

About The Author

Leena Parikh, CA

Director, Training

Aim to empower team with knowledge - Training & Development

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