Twenty-four-year old Smita Tandi is a policewoman who puts her proficiency in social media to good use by serving people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Chattisgarh-based cop has more than 7,20,000 followers on Facebook, who keep track of her every post to see how they can help people in distress.
Smita joined the police force for training in 2011. However in 2013, her father Shiv Kumar Tandi fell ill and the family was unable to fund his medical treatment.
Shiv Kumar Tandi was a constable too, but after he met with an accident in 2007, he was forced to retire from the police force. Following his untimely demise in a private hospital, Smita realised that there were thousands of people whose death could be prevented with timely medical intervention.
She decided to help poor people in medical need by making the general public aware of such cases and requesting them to help out with the expenses of the treatment, if possible.
She and her friends launched a Facebook group in 2014 in order to create awareness about government schemes for poor people as well as to help them seek donations. She told Hindustan Times, “I decided to take the cause to Facebook. Initially, people did not respond to my posts, but in a month started donating money. I believe people accepted I was not ‘fake’ and trusted me.” Whenever the state-level volleyball player learns about the problem of a poor person in Bhilai, Raipur or anywhere close by, she visits the person when she can and posts about them on Facebook only after checking out the facts.
Up until now, Smita has managed to help 25 people pay for expensive medical treatment. One such person is an autorickshaw driver called Dinesh Pratap Singh, who is based out of Bhilai. His 13-year-old daughter was suffering from a form of cancer, which doctors in Bhilai were unable to diagnose. He told Hindustan Times, “I went to Raipur and admitted her to a private hospital. I came to know of Smita Tandi. She came to my house and raised money for me through Facebook. I managed to take my daughter to Delhi. Her condition is better now.”
Her quick responses and proactive approach to helping people in need has helped her develop a good rapport with her seniors in Chattisgarh. She was recently assigned the role of heading the social media complaint cell of Bhilai women’s helpline.
To follow her on Facebook, click here.