‘Good Samaritan’ aiding 200 marginalized families in Mumbai, Pune amidst COVID-19 lockdown

Rashmi Prasad

Pune, 4th May 2020: Amidst COVID-19 lockdown, some ‘good samaritans’ have come forward to help the needy. Among them is Rashmi Prasad, an employee of Aide et Action International, who is aiding 200 families hailing from the marginalized section of society. She has arranged food provisions in Pune and Mumbai to enable them to tide over the joblessness in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown. As of now, food kits worth Rs. 400 each, have been distributed to 140 domestic workers. These food kits comprise rice, flour, pulses, oil, salt and sugar. Also, girls have been provided 2 reusable cloth masks and a bar of antiseptic soap. 60 families of youth, who have received training under the iLEAD programme, were provided food material worth Rs. 600 each which included kitchen supplies like rice, flour, pulses, oil, sugar, salt, turmeric powder, pickle and biscuits and sanitary products for girls. To date, she has aided 146 families in Pune and 57 families in Mumbai and it is targeting to reach out to at least 250 families. She raised funds with the help of members of her family, who actively participated in the cause.   

The COVID-19 pandemic is indeed a difficult time, especially for the underprivileged section of society. At this critical juncture, it is our responsibility to continue to reach out and support those who rely on us in whatever way we can,” said Rashmi Prasad, Project Manager-Maharashtra, Aide et Action International. 

These kits were distributed through various modes according to the convenience of students and the availability of food products with the local vendors. In some cases, ration kits made by iLEAD faculty were received by needy students from the iLEAD centre and in some situations; money was paid directly to the local shopkeeper in exchange for food material to students. Social distancing norms were diligently followed during the process.  

“It is heartening that our employee has come forward to aid the marginalized section of the society in her personal capacity. As a responsible organization, we are committed to keeping them afloat during the lockdown,” said Dr. Aishwarya Mahajan, Director- Livelihood Education, South Asia, Aide et Action International. 

“I am thankful to the Aide et Action team for their support during this critical juncture. The lockdown has brought many difficulties for us. Some of us are struggling to make ends meet due to loss of jobs,” said Parveen Shaikh, a beneficiary in Malad, Mumbai.   

The initiative follows a Situational Analysis study conducted by Aide et Action for iLEAD students on their employment status wherein it came to light that many families of students were reeling under temporary joblessness due to COVID-19 lockdown.  

Aide et Action International has trained more than 1500 youth in various short -term courses in Mumbai and 350 youth in Pune through its livelihood promotion the programme called iLEAD (Initiative for Livelihood Education and Development). It also supports the educational need of 140 school going girls of domestic workers in the Dattawadi region of Pune.