At a time when the world is challenged by an unfamiliar and fatal virus, what can actually work to keep us afloat? It is a belief that there is light at the end of this tunnel.
With that belief, a bunch of young leaders are reaching out to their neighbours and lending a helping hand. They are unstoppable because of their courage and resilience. They are also all around you.
Meet Ashwitha, our Youth Mentor from Mysore.
She lives in Ramabainagar. Her community is made up mostly of migrant workers, who travel three days a week to construction sites. Following the month-long lockdown, almost all of them lost their jobs. None of them had a BPL card to avail of the government benefits during the lockdown.
“The Gram Panchayat members in my area know Magic Bus for several years now. They also know me for my work with children in the neighbourhood. I have been a Youth Mentor in Magic Bus for the last eight years,” Ashwitha says. The Gram Panchayat members wanted Ashwitha’s support to prepare and distribute cooked meals to people who were starving because they had no money to buy food. Ashwitha took charge of the entire initiative from the first day, mobilising support from the young people, and volunteering to cook the food herself.
“I was very scared at first. I have a child at home. My husband has lost his job too. I didn’t want to get infected and pass it on to my family. We are all holed up together in a single room through the day,” she says, adding, “I also knew if I didn’t take the initiative people in my locality would starve, children would go without food. So I took it up. I ensure I have a mask and gloves and sanitisers on me. I leave home early in the morning and when I come back, I head straight to the bathroom to wash my hands and clothes,” she explains.
Today is the 10th day of food distribution in Ramabainagar. “We feed 600-800 people in a day. Members of the Gram Panchayat fund procurement of ration. We plan to do this for another 10 days,” she says with a smile.