- Fans India has provided 10 days worth of groceries to the poor in Mumbai
- We aim to ensure that at least 400 families do not go hungry: Founder
- It has collected funds from its members across the world for the initiative
New Delhi: A group of fans of the Indian Cricket team living across six countries have come forward to provide relief to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The members of the fan club called Fans India, a non-profit organisation aims to provide a platform to admirers of Indian Cricket to come together and celebrate the game. But now during the coronavirus outbreak, the members of the club have undertaken the task of feeding the families of daily wagers and migrant workers who lost their livelihood during the COVID-19 lockdown. So far, the Fans India group members have reached out to over 400 families in Mumbai and are currently in the process of covering poor families in other cities as well.
Rajul Sharma, Founder of Fans India group who lives in Australia said to NDTV,
We saw reports that there a lot of poor families in Maharashtra, that is worst hit by COVID-19 and various other parts of the country are facing a very hard time because of the economic shutdown that was imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of people have lost livelihoods during the past months of the pandemic which has brought them and their families to the verge of starvation. Therefore, we decided that we will provide a helping hand to the families worst affected by the pandemic. I know Indian cricket fans are eagerly waiting to cheer for Team India again. While the whole country is fighting against coronavirus, it is time to cheer for the whole country. I encourage Indian cricket fans to help needy people around them and become the real fans of India.
Mr. Sharma further said that the members of Fans India group staying in six countries- Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, Dubai, London and India came together to raise funds. With the help of the funds collected, the organisation has been able to provide 10 days’ worth of food and cooking essentials to 400 families in Mumbai. Mr. Sharma further added,
After collecting the funds from across the various countries, we provided it to some local organisations in Mumbai that helped us in reaching out to and deliver the foodgrains and cooking essentials to those in need.
He further said that while they have provided ration for 10 days to the needy families just once but they are working on a follow-up programme with these families and adding new families after 10 days. Meanwhile, the group will be conducting another round of food and cooking essential distribution among 100 families each in Mumbai, Delhi, Ludhiana and Hyderabad. The ration distributed by the group includes 5 kg of rice, 5 kg of wheat, 1.5kg of Dal, 1kg of sugar, 1kg of salt, 1kg of poha, 1litre of oil, chilli powder, coriander powder, 1 kg of onions and 1kg of potato.
Abdul Rizwi, a Fans India volunteer who helped in the distribution of the ration in Mumbai said,
When we set out to identify the needy, we found out that what we had planned to do was just a drop in the ocean. The sufferings of the people because of coronavirus induced economic shut down is unimaginable. We saw that while some people were actually scared of the disease, some felt frustrated with the current state of affairs. However, what most people in slums are scared of is how and when they will be able to get back to earning livelihood and how to provide for themselves and their families in the meanwhile.
23-year-old Rajesh Kumar, who was working as a mechanic in an auto repair shop and lost his job after the lockdown was imposed, said that while he lives alone in Mumbai, he has elderly parents in the village to take care of. But now after almost four and a half months of the lockdown, he has no savings left to support his parents. Rajesh who is not a beneficiary under the public distribution scheme said,
My life has always been tough but this is the first time that I am feeling completely helpless. I want to thank these brothers who were kind enough to come to check on me and so many others like me living in this ‘basti’. I am unable to send any money home because I don’t have any money for myself here. Brothers from Fans India have provided food for some days. After that let’s see what will happen. I sometimes eat cooked meals from the government’s community kitchen and sometimes some NGO also give us cooked meals.
Shehnavaz Ali, a member of Fans India group said that it took about 3-4 days for the group to distribute food among the families in the Goregaon area of Mumbai. He urged the people to come forward and help those who are in need. He said,
COVID-19 pandemic has created a crisis like situation in many parts of the country. Even small acts of kindness are very important in these times. All of us who can, must help and if somebody is unable to help but wants to, they can always take guidance from some NGO or can even offer their time as volunteers. Our motto is to ensure that we are able to prevent at least some families from starving.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.