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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Chandigarh: Good Samaritans step up to care for families devastated by Covid-19

The Indian Express had covered the stories of 13 such families (headlined Farewell, Dear Father, June 7) who had been left devastated by the second wave of the pandemic, losing their loved ones and their sole breadwinners.

Written by Hina Rohtaki |
June 8, 2021 1:38:06 am
People have already stepped up and have started taking responsibility for such families in various ways — like providing a stipend to the school-going children every month so that they didn't drop out, and doling out free ration to ensure that no one slept hungry. (File)

As the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic slowly eases out, Chandigarh city residents have stepped up and have started to ‘adopt’ families who lost their breadwinners to the deadly virus.

While the Chandigarh administration is still in the process of compiling a list of people who have lost their breadwinners to the pandemic, the Good Samaritans of the city have already stepped up and have started taking responsibility for such families in various ways — like providing a stipend to the school-going children every month so that they didn’t drop out, and doling out free ration to ensure that no one slept hungry.

The Indian Express had covered the stories of 13 such families (headlined Farewell, Dear Father, June 7) who had been left devastated by the second wave of the pandemic, losing their loved ones and their sole breadwinners. The stories, ranging from a son wanting to drop out of his education to financially support his family to a wife having to fill the big shoes of his husband in her hunt for employment, had an immediate impact with help for such families starting to pour in from Monday morning.

Two such Good Samaritans were Indian National Youth Congress President Srinivas BV, along with Chandigarh-based Congress leader Manoj Lubana and Vaibhav Walia, who said they have decided to provide free ration to all such affected families so that they didn’t have to sleep hungry.

On Monday, Lubana himself took the onus of delivering ration to the family of a security guard, Rajesh Kumar, who had succumbed to Covid leaving behind his wife and two children at Dhanas.Vaibhav Walia, All India National Secretary, and in-charge Youth Congress Chandigarh quickly arranged ration for the families along with Lubana and the volunteers went to deliver it.

“If everyone comes forward and pitches in even a little, we can make a lot of difference in their lives. The goal should be to not make these families realise that they were alone now. We have been delivering free ration to many such families so that they don’t have to worry about food, at least,” Lubana told The Indian Express on Monday.

Srinivas, on the other hand, tweeted, “ We have decided to help as many families as we can. Chandigarh SOSIYC team has started with the family of guard Rajesh Kumar who leaves behind his wife, son, and daughter.”

Philanthropist and businessman Karan Gilhotra, on the other hand, has offered free scholarships to all the children so that they don’t drop out.

“This is a hard time for everyone. We don’t want the education of these children to suffer because their fathers lost their lives to Covid. Hence, I have decided to take care of their education and offer them free scholarships in whichever course they want to enroll in at the SV Institute of Engineering and Technology group of institutions,” Gilhotra said.

Like Gilhotra, Doctor Sandeep S Chhatwal, who also runs an NGO, too, said that he has decided to give free stipends of Rs 1,000 every month to every child of all families that were covered by The Indian Express on June 7, till they attain the age of 18.

“We extend a commitment of Rs 1,000 per child per month till they attain the age of 18. This fund will be given to the surviving parent/guardian to be used for the education/ bringing up the child.

The beneficiary will have to submit a copy of the child’s mark sheet/progress report on an annual basis for the support to continue for the next year. Giving children the care they deserve is what we believe in,” Chhatwal, who is the managing trustee of NANHI JAAN, a project of NGO Veeranwali foundation, said.

Another Chandigarh-based businessman, Arun Aggarwal, said that he too would sponsor the education of two to three kids from such families.

Likewise, Prateek Rishi, of Raine foundation JC Rishi Scholarship, on Monday got in touch with the family of Varinder Sharma, a Pinjore resident who lost his battle to Covid, and said he will pay the school fee of his two kids till they found suitable employment.

“We were able to contact Varinder ji’s wife and spoke at length about the education of the children. I have decided to take up the education fees of her daughter, who was supposed to appear for her Class 12 exams, which later was canceled, this year. I will also fund the education of her son, who is in Class 6,” Prateek said.

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