- Transgender community has been one of the worst hit due to COVID-19
- NGO distributed ration and essential supplies to 100 transgender families
- NGO has converted its day care centres into shelter homes for the homeless
New Delhi: While the coronavirus lockdown has eased and economic activities have resumed, many are still suffering from the COVID-19 crisis and the aftermath of the lockdown. The transgender community has been one of the worst-hit sections of society due to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. All sources of their income have been blocked and most are unable to access support being provided by the government due to lack of formal documentation and identification. While executing COVID relief in Delhi, Wishes and Blessings, a Delhi based NGO, realised that there was no aid reaching the transgender community residing in Ajmeri Gate, Delhi. The team took it upon themselves to ensure that all their basic needs and requirements were met.
The NGO organised fundraising for the purpose and carried on a relief drive on 20th August.
As part of this relief drive, ration and essential supplies were distributed to 100 families belonging to the transgender community, to fill the gap that was created by the coronavirus crisis.
Talking about the initiative, Founder and President of Wishes and Blessings, Dr Geetanjali Chopra told NDTV,
Our organisation believes in extending a helping hand to all communities irrespective of caste, class, age and gender. We have always laid special emphasis on reaching out to those who are marginalised, including Commercial Sex Workers and members of the transgender community. While there are many organisations doing good work to reach out to those who have been impacted by the lockdown, very often these communities are left ignored.
One of the beneficiaries of the relief drive, belonging to the trans community of the Ajmeri Gate area, told NDTV on the condition of anonymity,
Due to the lockdown we completely lost all sources of income. We would visit weddings to give our blessings, but since that has stopped, we have nowhere to turn to. We would also sustain ourselves by begging but that is no longer helping us. These past five months have been very difficult. Today, I am so happy. We got enough ration to sustain ourselves for the coming few months. Blessings to everyone who has helped us today.
Dr Chopra added,
We feel blessed that we could reach out to the community and provide them with the means to sustain themselves until they are able to resume a normal life.
The NGO has converted its daycare centres into shelter homes to ensure that the homeless have a safe space to stay till the lockdown is lifted and also provide them with hygiene supply like soaps to safeguard the health of all. A larger part of their efforts is providing nutritional aid in the form of cooked meals and ration kits, she said.
At the peak of the initiative in March, the organisation served 45,000 meals per day and distributed ration kits to over 8,000 families across 7 states – Assam, Delhi, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, Dr Chopra told NDTV.
She said that Wishes and Blessings aims to continue relief drives until their beneficiaries are assured of their security.
Dr Chopra further said that they are determined to reach out to all those who have been harshly affected by the lockdown, and aim to share the load with the government and other organisations working on the field.
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.