Shell India brings to us the inspiring story of Seetha, whose grit and determination is testament to the fact that #GreatThingsHappenWhenWeMove. Article sponsored by Shell.
Everyday at 7 am, an auto-rickshaw painted in blue and black pulls up outside Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai. This auto-rickshaw, however, is far from ordinary as its owner and driver, R Seetha Devi, is providing oxygen for free to those in need.
But what inspired Seetha to start this initiative was her tragic loss in May 2021.
When her 65-year-old mother, a dialysis patient, contracted COVID-19, Seetha rushed her to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. They had to wait outside the hospital for hours as the hospital had no vacant beds. After a wait of more than 4 hours, they managed to get her admitted but she succumbed to the virus.
“My mother could have been saved if she had got oxygen supply on time. I do not want anyone else to suffer like my mother. That is why I decided to start an oxygen service outside the hospital,” says the 36-year-old.
On May 6, she fitted an autorickshaw—that was being used to deliver food as part of an initiative by her NGO, Street Vision Social Charitable Trust—with an oxygen cylinder. Seetha drives the autorickshaw to the hospital every day to provide oxygen to those in need, outside the hospital, for over 12 hours a day.
“I take calls 24/7, in case someone urgently needs oxygen. My team of volunteers and I reach the place as soon as possible, make the patients sit inside the vehicle and provide them oxygen”, Seetha says.
Since starting the initiative, she has been able to provide oxygen to more than 500 people free of cost and has converted two more autorickshaws into oxygen-supplying vehicles.
Apart from providing oxygen, Seetha has been using her autorickshaw to transport the bodies of unclaimed victims of COVID-19 to the burial ground. She has also set up sanitary napkin dispensers in 10 hospitals across Chennai and delivers food to the needy in and around the area where she lives.
“During the second wave of COVID-19 so many people are scared and unable to get the right resources. I feel a sense of duty to help them in whatever way I can. I am glad that through my efforts I have the chance to help save a few lives,” says Seetha.
When she found herself at one of the lowest points of her life, Seetha displayed extraordinary courage and decided to help others. Her relentless efforts to help society is a source of true inspiration, one that Shell India is bringing to the fore through their campaign — ‘Great things happen when we move’.
Through this campaign, Shell aims to celebrate the indomitable spirit of Indians, their dreams, and aspirations along with their inspiring journeys. ‘Great Things Happen When We Move’ is a campaign about people who display unconquerable courage and motivation to realise their ambitions by doing one simple thing — moving forward. The campaign encourages Indian women to step out, move forward and chase their dreams by highlighting their inspiring stories. The core assertion of stories, like Seetha’s, is to establish that mobility is a key enabler of people’s progress.