When the nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24th, Bengaluru-based HR professional Sachin Sabyasachi became extremely worried. His parents were thousands of kilometres away, in Bhubaneswar, living alone and without any support.
The state borders were now sealed, and the septuagenarians would find it extremely difficult to get essentials like groceries, medicines etc.
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The few helpline numbers he tried were also not working or unavailable. That changed, when he got in touch with Janmejay Mohapatra, the co-founder of a software startup called Ajatus.
“My parents have no one around who can help—and since I had requested them to refrain from stepping out of home, we were all worried about how they would procure groceries and medicines. But when I reached out to Janmejay, within no time, he and his team member (Sasmita) reached out to my parents and got the list of essentials they needed. Within 24 hrs the essentials were delivered and my parents thanked me for the work done. We all truly appreciate the tremendous efforts of Ajatus,” Sachin tells The Better India (TBI)
Formed in 2014, Ajatus specializes in Machine Learning, artificial intelligence and works on data analytics. During the lockdown, the company has shifted its focus to help out senior citizens and vulnerable communities by delivering essential items at their doorsteps.
Today, Ajatus has completed over 1200 delivery requests and helped at least 600 elder citizens in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Berhampur.
What keeps them going through these difficult times, is the sheer recognition that someone out there is having an even more difficult time and that a simple home delivery can make this difficult time, easier for them.
Connecting Bhubaneswar for the welfare of senior citizens:
Odisha has at least 89 confirmed cases of COVID-19. But the state has taken several measures to flatten the curve. Through governmental and individual efforts, the citizens of Odisha are trying to curb the spread of the infection.
And the initiative by Ajatus is one such example.
“We were ahead of the COVID-19 curve, right from the start, and had implemented a work-from-home policy even before the government announced it. But when the nationwide lockdown was implemented, matters became all the more serious. It was a no-brainer for us to use our expertise to help out senior citizens. The work was to be pro bono, and the first draft of the model was ready within 24 hours,” he says.
It is a well-established fact that people above the age of 60 years are at high risk of catching the COVID-19 infection. So Ajatus focused on such citizens.
“We needed to take their comfort with technology, so we designed a simple website for them. You fill a form with your name, number, address and the service you need and leave the rest on us. Or you can call our helpline number, and we’ll be there,” Janmejay tells TBI.
Here’s the link to their website: https://www.covid19help.live/ and the helpline number is: 9090890909.
Quick deliveries for an easy lockdown period:
Ajatus has teamed up with vendors and local chains to provide the essentials during the lockdown period. They provide free delivery services as a bridge between the clients and the vendors.
“Initially, only the employees of Ajatus would deliver goods, but as word got out, more and more people in Bhubaneswar started calling us, and we had to call for external volunteers. Today, we have about 30-40 volunteers undertaking last-mile deliveries,” says the 34-year-old.
Janmejay and Girish Prasad Sahu, his business partner, have ensured that every delivery is completed within 24 hours of the request except when it comes to medicines. That is done even earlier.
Sarbeswar Senapati, who availed the services of the startup, tells TBI, “During the COVID-19 lockdown, I couldn’t get groceries from the regular local stores. When one of my relatives told me about Ajatus, I went on their website and was assisted instantly as I sent them my grocery list on WhatsApp, and they delivered the items to my home within two days. The delivery boys had come wearing masks and used a sanitizer while dealing with us. I am very grateful to them for helping out during the lockdown. I hope they help more people effectively and safely.”
The next plan for Ajatus is to form similar services for migrant and daily wage labourers where you can tag their location, and other details and Ajatus will help them out.
COVID-19 has caused disastrous situations across the world, but when kind and hardworking individuals like Janmejay and Girish put their best foot forward, it is proof that all hope is not lost.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)