We can agree that the poor, the marginalised and the daily wage labourers are some of the worst-hit people due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is impossible for them to work from home and thus, they have been putting their lives in danger trying to earn a livelihood by stepping out of their homes.
Most of us have stocked up on groceries, vegetables and other essentials. But what about those who cannot afford to do that? To ensure daily wage labourers or the underprivileged don’t go hungry during the 21-day COVID-19 lockdown, many people have volunteered to come to their aid.
One such amazing group is based in Bengaluru. This team of 30 volunteers are professional or aspiring Chartered Accountants (CA) of the CAPS coaching class, who have come together to help the needy living in and around Bengaluru.
In a short period, the group has benefited over 500 families!
Spreading Hope Amidst the COVID-19 Panic:
We got in touch with one of the volunteers, Shravan M Rao, a 25-year-old CA aspirant. “Even before the nationwide lockdown, we could see that the daily wage workers were badly hit by the pandemic. We wanted to help them out in our capacity and the easiest and the quickest way of doing that was to ensure they have an adequate supply of food and groceries even when the shops are shut. So that’s the initiative we took,” he tells The Better India (TBI).
The group started with sharing a video on social media, circulating their number in public. Their idea was for people on social media to share that number with domestic workers, security staff and labourers who might need some help during lockdowns. The needy would give CAPS a call, leaving their name and contact information.
The Better India’s “BETTER TOGETHER” initiative has brought together civil service officers from across the country as they help migrant labourers, daily wage earners, frontline workers, and all those who need our help most in these troubled times. You can join us and support them in this fight against COVID-19.
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“We call them back and do a basic verification. For example, if an auto driver calls us, we ask for their driver’s licence and registration number. We just don’t want anyone to take undue advantage. After the basic verification, we get our volunteers to buy groceries worth Rs 2000 from one of the stipulated shops in various parts of Bengaluru and ask the beneficiary to collect it,” Shravan explains.
As of now, their reach is limited to Bengaluru. But CAPS Foundation got calls from outside the city too. But lack of accessibility did not budge them at all. “The solution was simple. After the mandatory verification, we asked the person to go to the closest grocery store which accepts payments via UPI and to shop for whatever they need. Our only rule is Rs 2000 per family. They send us a picture of the bill and we e-pay to the store directly,” the CA tells us.
BN Gopinath, a frequent contributor says, “To rise to the need of humanity is the duty of every individual when God has given the strength to give.”
You Can Help Too!
When the initiative started on 15 March, the volunteers who are full time working CAs, paid from their pockets. When they reached about 100 families, their resources drained out and they started reaching out to others who had studied in the coaching class.
Today, the group has benefited over 500 families and you can join them too.
Here are four things that Shravan recommends you do:
- If you know any shopkeepers who want to partner with CAPS and help volunteers to make care packages, let the volunteers know. It would help them greatly in a time when many shops are closing down
- Better still, if you have contacts with supply agents, you can contribute greatly to the cause
- If you can provide financial support to the cause, the bank details are given below. Since the foundation is registered as a not-for-profit, you will also get an 80G certificate for donations
- Get in touch with daily wage and other labourers near you (but follow usual precautionary measures) and ask them what they need – food, medicines, hygiene products can be directly provided to them.
Get in touch with CAPS Foundation on 9886683697
Bank Details: Account Name: CAPS Foundation
Account Number: 64054464963
Bank Name: State Bank of India
IFSC Code: SBIN0040159
Branch Name: Hanumanthnagar
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)