NGOs turn saviors for most vulnerable communities during COVID-19 pandemic (New Indian Express)

NEW DELHI: Providing ambulance for COVID-19 patients, arranging for the cremation of those who succumbed to the disease, providing meals to the needy, and helping bridge the growing digital divide in education, NGOs in Delhi have left no stone unturned to help the most vulnerable during the pandemic.

The ongoing pandemic had an unprecedented impact on lives, livelihood, and children’s education.

Lending a helping hand, many NGOs are working day in and day out to help those deprived of basic necessities in these trying times.

NGO Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal (SBSSD), for instance, has been working round-the-clock to help COVID-19 victims and their families by providing ambulance, hearse, and cremation services.

Run by former Shahdara legislator Jitender Singh Shunty and his dedicated team of 21 people, the NGO has since March 21 carried out the funeral of over 570 people who lost their lives due to the viral disease.

“If we were earlier carrying out cremation of five to seven people each day, with the spike in COVID-19 deaths, the number has gone up to 25 now. Not only this, but we have also ferried over 1,200 coronavirus patients to hospitals in our ambulances so far,” Shunty told PTI.

SBSSD operates a fleet of 16 ambulances and bears the entire expense for cremation, he added.

The national capital has recorded over 100 COVID-19 deaths for the fifth consecutive day on Tuesday, pushing the death toll to 8,621.

A total of 109 fatalities were recorded on Tuesday, as against 121 each on Monday and Sunday, 111 on Saturday, 118 on Friday, 131 on November 18 — the highest till date — and 104 fatalities on November 12.

Shunty is motivated to help more and more people come what may.

This, even when he lost his ambulance driver Arif Khan to coronavirus in October and had contracted the disease himself along with his wife and two sons in July.

Nor just SBSSD, helping in their own way are other NGOs like Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS) and ChildFund.

ChildFund is helping poor students who don’t have any means of accessing digital tools for online classes by organizing “neighborhood classes”, distributing books, making phone calls, and even visiting homes to keep the learning going.

SEEDS, on the other hand, is donating meals, personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, and hygiene kits to the most vulnerable communities, including children in orphanages, transgenders, daily-wage earners, sex workers, people with disability, and tribals.

“In the fight against COVID-19, SEEDS has been making a difference by reaching out to more than four lakh people across 12 states — Delhi, Bihar, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh — with nearly 14 million meals, 8,448 PPE kits, and 24,825 hygiene kits,” said Dr. Manu Gupta, Co-Founder, SEEDS.

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