Our country is in a state of chaos. The pandemic has brutally hit most aspects of people’s lives, and many struggle to get their basic needs met. The amount of work that needs to be done to bring back normalcy is a herculean task.
UPAY has been the frontrunner and has launched several initiatives since the beginning of the pandemic to serve the people in need, especially those belonging to underprivileged communities.
The primary aim of the organisation has shifted from that of making education accessible to helping people cope with the difficulties they have to face as a result of the pandemic. People lost their jobs, resulting in unstable household income and the desperate struggle to afford the bare essentials. That is when UPAY started the COVID Relief campaign, which has been running for more than a year now.
Here are the top 10 steps UPAY took:
1. Meal Distribution:
UPAY recognizes its primary beneficiaries to be the communities who are roadside sellers, daily wage labourers, or those who perform odd jobs. The first attempt was to distribute ration kits and cooked meals to the people from migrant communities, villages, or anybody who came to ask for help.
The organization also worked for the truck drivers who provided essential service of transporting medicines and daily use products from one state to another. Since the entire country was under complete lockdown, there were no food services available for these drivers travelling across states. They were helped with cooked meals, water, refreshment kits, and some hygiene essentials. This project was then taken up as a CSR implementation project for about 5 months.
2. Production and supply of masks:
The sudden spike in demand for essential equipment like masks, PPE kits, and gloves was prominent during the early pandemic stage. The supply to police officials and frontline workers was delayed. UPAY helped furnish them with their requirements.
Through the skill development centres that were already established in certain communities, women in slum areas were taught stitching and given the work of production of masks. This not just helped us to supply masks to our community but provided the women with income for their families. For many of the women participating, they were the sole bread earners in the family during this crucial period.
3. Helpline for migrant labourers:
When the migrant workers’ crisis was at its peak, the organization set up a helpline. The helpline aimed to register grievances, like monetary help, shelter, care to pregnant women, and meal distribution among other services. A team of volunteers managed the helpline with help from local police stations. We assisted our beneficiaries by registering their Aadhar cards on the MHA portal which further helped them attain the necessary services. The helpline got to collaborate with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India during this phase.
4. Transformation to Online operation:
With schools being shut, education was moved online. However, children from underprivileged backgrounds lacked the necessary digital infrastructure to keep up with this massive change. UPAY returned to its aim of education. We collected smartphones and tablets through donations by individuals and approaching companies for their CSR funds.
The organization further planned to have their volunteers and teachers tech-ready so that they could deliver quality education. The curriculum was revised, and the approach towards education was restructured to ensure maximum students could have access to education using hybrid learning models.
5. E-commerce site:
An IT-enabled team of volunteers collaborated with UPAY to build an e-commerce website called SabkaSaman.com. Through this initiative, the organization aimed to help artisans from remote locations to remodel and customize their products as per the needs of the market. Further, we provided them with an integrated marketplace to sell their products while UPAY took care of delivery across India. This helped the artists who were out of jobs, gain a steady income.
Currently, in the 2nd wave of the pandemic, the need of the hour has prompted UPAY to focus on fulfilling medical needs and providing health care assistance for the people.
6. COVID Taskforce and Helpline:
UPAY nominated a Task Force team consisting of more than 80 volunteers that work 24×7 to identify and verify resources all over India. A dedicated helpline has been launched to accept requests from people who need any kind of medical assistance. A team manages these requests and works round the clock to resolve them.
A huge repository of resources has been created with the help of the IT Team. This repository is available for the general public in the form of a web portal.
7. Online Doctor Consultation:
A teleconsultation facility for people who do not have access to doctors and private health care centres has been set up. It was observed that some people were not ready to visit a doctor out of fear.
Thus, a team of doctors who have been volunteering with UPAY helped in such cases by providing consultation. Any requirement such as medicines, COVID tests, or medical equipment like thermometers and oximeters that were prescribed to the patients, were provided at their doorstep by UPAY.
8. Oxygen Van:
In Mauda, an oxygen van has been launched to benefit people in around 10 of its villages. The van is equipped with oxygen supply. It aims to ensure that people have necessary oxygen until they get admission into a hospital.
9. Oxygen Support Center:
Another COVID care center in Noida has recently been established with a multi-bed facility for patients who struggle to find beds in hospitals. The care center has a 24/7 supply of oxygen cylinders as oxygen concentrators along with a visitor area facility and necessary medical supervision.
10. Emergency Vehicle:
In a recent initiative, an emergency vehicle has been launched for COVID patients in the Delhi-NCR region. This vehicle will provide free of cost transport service to and from hospitals to anyone in need.
All these medical facilities are available to people free of cost and are launched and run in collaboration with the district administrations to ensure the presence of police personnel and medical staff to deliver professional help to the patients.
Throughout this pandemic, UPAY worked primarily in locations like – Delhi, Nagpur, Pune, Mauda, Gadarwara, Gurugram, and Bangalore. The organization has also successfully raised money through crowd-funding and utilized more than INR 27,02,675 in its various COVID care operations.
With the pandemic at its peak, and people across classes suffering the battle against COVID, UPAY is open to collaborating with other organizations and institutions to carry out its functioning and make the lives of as many people a little easier during this crucial time.
If you have the capability to help someone in dire need, donate today and make a difference!
Written by: Sneha Manoharan (Intern, UPAY)