- On April 26, 31-year-old Tulika Devi from Guwahati lost her fiancé to COVID
- The loss inspired Ms Devi to help other COVID patients in need
- Ms Devi along with her friend and elder sister started ‘Proyaax’ campaign
New Delhi: From a shortage of medical essentials like hospital beds and oxygen to long queues at crematoriums and burial grounds, the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was testing for everyone at various levels. In the middle of the second wave, on April 26, 31-year-old Tulika Devi from Guwahati lost Aiyushman Dutta, her journalist fiancé, to COVID-19. While grieving the loss of her loved one, a shattered Ms Devi channelised her sorrow to lend a helping hand to other COVID-19 patients in home isolation and in need. This led to the genesis of an initiative called ‘Proyaax’.
Proyaax is an Assamese word which means ‘initiative’ in English. It’s an initiative of Ms Devi along with her friend Priya and her elder sister. Through the campaign, they are providing all the help people need when in home isolation. From home-cooked meals, to assisting in buying medicines and other essentials and getting them delivered to COVID patients’ doorsteps, the trio has been putting in their own money to procure essentials, cook and deliver food.
Talking to NDTV about the idea behind her campaign, Ms Devi said,
I wanted to do something to release my pain and loss and also help people in this gloomy situation. One fine day, in a casual conversation with one of my friends Priya Tamuli, I said we should do something for COVID patients. Priya immediately agreed and said, ‘we can provide free home cooked meals to the patients’. That’s how Proyaax was born and I found peace in helping others.
Elaborating on how the team behind Proyaax ensures their own safety while helping people across Guwahati, Ms Devi said,
We follow all COVID precautionary measures while cooking and delivering food and medicines. Also, we are vaccinated against COVID-19, so we are not afraid of working on the ground. Secondly, we have delivery boys to assist us in the process and they too follow masking, handwashing and distancing at all times.
Talking to NDTV about the motivation behind supporting Ms Devi, her friend Priya Tamuli, another COVID warrior said,
Since 2020, I have been involved with a lot of NGOs and organisations and supporting them in cash or kind. But in 2021, I saw that the pain was even more. There were more people who were dying and those who needed help. Hence, I decided to be more involved and doing something of my own.
According to Ms Devi, in two months’ time, the trio has reached to over 50 families. One of the beneficiaries of Proyaax said,
They helped us by providing food at our doorstep as we were unable to do anything on our own.
While signing off, Ms Devi said her late fiancé is her inspiration and added,
Every time I just think of Aiyushman and the time he was suffering from COVID. Though he lost the fight against COVID-19, he fought a lot. Proyaax was born during a miserable situation to help people and will continue to do so.
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.