World Population Day in its 30’s

World Population day UPAY NGO

The Five Billion Reason

Today on 11th July 2021, World Population Day has turned 31. While the name speaks for itself, it still begs the question of what we are celebrating and why 11th July in particular? It’s not as if we know the population started on this day. Then why 11th?! 

There is a reason. It’s the ‘Five Billion’ reason. On 11th July 1987, the United Nations Population Fund recorded the global population reaching the 5 Billion milestone. This day saw a sudden spike of public interest in the world’s population. It inspired Dr K.C. Zachariah to recommend marking the 11th of July as world population day. Consequently, it was adopted by the United Nations. On 11th July 1990, the world observed the first World Population Day. 

The main focus of this day is to bring attention to the issues that arise with the rapidly rising population. These cover territories like family planning, maternal health, poverty and human rights, among many others. 

The 31st World Population Day aims to reinforce the prioritisation of reproductive health and the rights of all people. The UN fears that alarm over sudden and extreme changes in fertility rates due to the pandemic may lead to violation of basic reproductive rights of individuals. Thus, this World Population day aims to remind the world about its importance.

The concern regarding the increasing population has been a debate in India for some time now. Uncertain fertility rate changes in a post-covid world have fueled this concern in the past few months. But what do the numbers say? How concerned should we really be?

What is population explosion? Is it something to be afraid of?

Population explosion is a common term associated with a sudden increase in the population. 

A population explosion would lead to pressure on resources and planning of the government. Usually, when the government plans for its citizens, it keeps in mind statistics such as growth and GDP rates. However, an event such as a population explosion may overthrow all planning and allow mismanagement to set in.

Population Explosion can have profound effects that may carry over well into the next generation. Thus, concern about the same was on many minds at the beginning of COVID lockdowns. However, research tells us otherwise. The fallout from the pandemic has made the future look bleak. Decreasing optimism about the future has led families to have fewer to no kids than what was feared. 

Is the population really spiking?

The debates in India regarding population control are based on the assumption that our population is rising.

Is this true? Is the population really increasing?

The answer to this is yes and no. Let’s look deeper.

As we welcome a newborn into the world, our population increases by one. There is no absolute stop to this growth. However, it is the population growth rate that shows how quickly it’s happening, and if it should be a cause for worry.

Many factors affect this growth rate. They include – fertility rate (average number of offspring that a woman has in her lifetime), life expectancy, and urbanisation. When these are affected, the population is also affected accordingly. We can see that over the last many decades the population growth rate has been on the decline. 

 In 1971, the global population growth rate stood at 1.97%, while in India it stood at 2.5%. The Fertility Rate of 4.47 was recorded globally, while in India, the rates were as high as 5.3. The following decades saw a steep fall in these rates- globally and in our country.  

This fall can be seen in the latest statistics. The latest data on the worldwide growth rate comes from the year 2020. It stands at 1.05%, and the fertility rate is 2.47. For the Indian population, the latest stats are from the year 2016. The growth rate stands at 1.3%, and the fertility rate 2.3. Projections estimate this to decline even further to 0.5% by the year 2041.

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World population day
Population Statistics in 1971 vs 2016(Growth rate and fertility rate)

To conclude from all this data, the population is increasing, but the growth rate is declining each year.

The bill which was tabled 35 times

The famous Two-Child Policy bill has been debated many times over the years. It is a controversial document that says that parents with more than two children will be excluded from government services and schemes. It was put forward to restrict families to two children. The bill has been presented and debated in the parliament 35 times now! However, no majority decision to convert it into law was reached. 

Are the laws needed to control the population in India?

The simple answer is, no.  We don’t need laws to restrict the number of offspring a couple has. We can clearly see that the growth rate of the population is declining. From the 1970s to 2018 the fertility rate and the growth rate in India have halved. The growth rate has come down to 1.3% in 2016 from 2.5 % in 1971. The fertility rate on the other hand has more than halved going from 5.3 in 1971 to 2.3 in 2016. Thus, the government’s efforts, over the last few decades, have already worked to curb the population growth. Further rules and more strict approaches may backfire.

Yet, we need to remember that this low growth rate was not achieved in one day. It took decades of encouraging advertisements and awareness programs displaying the disadvantages of having more than two offspring. Only after these efforts have we reached the current trend of “hum do humare do”. Just because we do not require a law does not mean we have the freedom to abandon family planning altogether. Family planning must always remain within the conscience of potential parents. Only then can we exist peacefully and harmoniously without pressuring resources.

World population day has been celebrated for more than 30 years now. It has been successful to a certain extent in fulfilling its purpose of creating awareness of the difficulties that come with overpopulation and its impact on our environment. However, much work is still needed. Decreasing growth rates are not an all-in-one solution to overpopulation related issues. These rates need to be maintained, and laws need to be put in place to tackle the environmental impact of the ever-growing human population.

Written by: Chinmay Jumde
Edited by: Ananya Shetty

THE COST OF CARING

If you want to read this article in hindi click here

Volunteers were the bridge that led us through the second wave of the COVID pandemic. They have been working day and night to procure and verify necessary medical resources and connect the individuals who need these most with the leads.

We might not be completely through with the second wave, but everyone can agree we are nearing the end. And we would not have reached here if it were not for the countless individuals who diverted their time, energy, and resources to make up for the overwhelmed medical system of the country.

By volunteering to take on this responsibility of saving someone’s life, COVID relief volunteers have put not just their physical health but also their mental health at risk.

The Struggles of a Volunteer

Thanks to the Mental Health Awareness work of the last decade or so, attending to the Mental Health Concerns during the lockdown have been a priority. Accessing care is still a luxury for many, but this is a start.

At the beginning of the previous month, we posted an article on the COVID-19 Task Force. I had the opportunity to attend the interview with the heads of different teams of the Task Force. During this interview, my attention was brought to the mental health concerns of this particular population – volunteers working for COVID relief.

“When I woke up in the morning, I saw a message from her. It said, “He is no more now.”

This is a quote from a volunteer named Aanya, who shared the struggles she and her team faced with  India Today. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident. Mr Indrapal Neware, head of the requirement team, shared an instance where they received a call for resources at around 10 in the morning. The team was putting in their best efforts to find a lead for this patient. At 3 pm the same day, the team gets a phone call “the patient is no more”. This is only one among many similar instances the task force had to experience.

  “I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.” – CS Lewis.

Loss, grief and Bereavement have been the elements of daily life for COVID relief volunteers. When he experienced the loss of his wife, CS Lewis compared the death of a loved one to amputation. In the quote above, he rightly puts the experience of grief as a process. It is an experience that expands through time so we can come to terms with it.

Within the same decade that the writer delves into grief in his book – A grief observed, psychiatrist Kübler-Ross postulated the five-stage model of grief – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and acceptance.

Much of the death the volunteers faced was not of their blood relation or even friends. They heard the passing away news of complete strangers whose lives were suddenly dependent on the volunteers. The volunteers may have only worked for the patients for an hour. But in that hour, they had taken the responsibility to save these strangers, and as suddenly they came into each other’s lives, one was taken away. The volunteers experienced their own kind of grief – a process they did not have time or energy to accept due to the urgency of the work they did.

Ms Jyoti shared with us a particularly grim week where she had to hear of 5 deaths. These were people she had known or come to know but did not have even an hour to sit with the news and process it because others needed her help.

It is not just the countless deaths that plague them but also the general sense of helplessness and hopelessness that comes with the work. Each volunteer on the team made near hundred phone calls a day only to find 8 to 10 genuine available leads. At least 20 to 30 phone calls had to be made to find just one bed in the hospital. It was not just acquiring the resources but often the act of convincing patients and family members to avail the resources accessible to you at the moment that proved to be a source of frustration.

A conversation with Mental health Counsellor Anushka Karira brought to light that a common concern among volunteers was the loss of their support system due to the stigma COVID carries with itself. There is virtue in volunteering. Yet, sadly, it is often forgotten by those the volunteers need the most.

Abandonment, rejection and isolation circle their minds, eating at their resilience little by little.

A closer look will show us that these valid feelings exist on both sides. The volunteers feel rejected by their families for lack of support. The vice-versa is also true on the seeming lack of concern the volunteer shows for themselves and their family by choosing to help others. 

The last couple of months have been challenging. It continues to be so for many. We can only do our part and hope that what we cannot control takes care of itself.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

“Aap Sahi Rahonge Tabhi Doosron ki madat Kar Paaonge” – Anushka Karira

The nature of the work may convince us to push our boundaries and keep working for hours on end. Taking a break from the important work you are doing may feel like a selfish thing to do. But you are only human. It is vital to take a break, eat and sleep well to be strong enough to lift others. The downside of not following through is burnout.

Burnout is a result of stress built-up within the body that one has not processed healthily. Counsellor Anushka Karira suggests you keep a lookout for its symptoms. They include –

  • Continuous depleted energy/demotivation
  •  Pain in your body that occur with no apparent physical cause
  •  Being really silent for long periods of time
  • Crying out of nowhere

 If you observe any of these symptoms, it is time for you to take a break. Timely intervention in the form of breaks will allow you to avoid severe consequences. Fight the pangs of guilt and take time for yourself. In this period, do those things that make you feel complete and in touch with yourself. 

Karira has shared with us certain activities to make this happen below. You can choose one that suits you best!

  •   Have a quiet conversation with close friends or family.
  •   Meditate (breathwork, mainly exhalation).
  • Be with yourself in the absence of electronics, books or any sort of distractions.
  • Go on a walk in nature (barefoot on the grass).
  •   Play with your pet
  • Watch the calming moments of a fish in the water or clouds in the sky.

Digital detox was also a term we discussed. These feelings you may experience when volunteering are challenging to face. Social Media sites provide the best escape from having to deal with them. Refrain from falling into this trap. When you have decided the hours you are away from work, switch off the phone wifi. Only keep the ringtone on for one emergency contact. This will assist you in keeping the phone away while being reassured you would be at reach’s length in case of a severe emergency.

Reaching out to a Mental Health Professional like psychotherapist Anushka Karira is also advisable, especially if the symptoms observed are severe or sustained for a long time now. 

Social Support is key to sustaining good mental health. At UPAY, we create this supportive environment within the teams in the Task Force. Each team head felt it was their responsibility to foster a supportive, caring environment for their volunteers. They emphasised the role of a leader in keeping the team motivated. In the face of disappointment, the team faces, all leaders reinforced the idea of keeping in mind those they could help and continue the work with the zeal everyone initially had. As for the leaders, they have each other along with the support of our founder Mr Varun Shrivastava.

These indeed have been challenging times. We are grateful to have those courageous and caring among us who have been the pillar to keep us strong. Thank you for your consistent efforts. This article is written in the hopes of making it easier for you to share your experience and equip yourself, just a little bit, to heal like you have been able to heal others. 

Written by :Ananya Shetty

देखभाल की कीमत

अगर आप इस लेख को इंग्लिश मे पढ़ना चाहते है तो यहा क्लिक करे

हमारे स्वयंसेवक वह पुल थे जिन्होंने  हमेंं कोविड  महामारी की दूसरी लहर से बाहर निकलने का रास्ता दिखाया। वे दिन-रात एक करके आवश्यक चिकित्सा संसाधनों की खरीद और सत्यापन के लिए काम कर रहे थे और उन व्यक्तियों को इन संसाधनों से जोड़ रहे थे  जिन्हें इनकी सबसे अधिक आवश्यकता थी।

हम भले ही कोरोना की दूसरी लहर से पूरी तरह बाहर ना निकले हो , लेकिन हर कोई सहमत हो सकता हैं कि हम अंत के करीब हैं। और ये इन अनगिनत व्यक्तियों के बिना संभव नहीं हो पाता जिन्होंने अपना समय, ऊर्जा और संसाधनों को देश की भारी चिकित्सा प्रणाली के लिए समर्पित किया हो । 

 जब  स्वयंसेवकों  ने स्वेच्छा से दूसरे के जीवन को बचाने के लिए खुद को जोखिम मेंं डाला, उस समय ना केवल अपने शारीरिक स्वास्थ्य को खतरे मेंं डाल रहे थे बल्कि किसी की जान बचाने की जिम्मेंदारी लेकर, कोविड राहत कार्य में लगे स्वयंसेवकों ने अपने  मानसिक स्वास्थ्य को भी खतरे मेंं डाला।

स्वयंसेवकों का संघर्ष

हमेंं पिछले दशक के दौरान शुरू हुए मानसिक स्वास्थ्य जागरूकता कार्यक्रम के लिए धन्यवाद करना चाहिए, जिसके कारण लॉकडाउन के दौरान लोगों मेंं मानसिक स्वास्थ्य संबंधी चिंताओं मेंं भाग लेना एक प्राथमिकता रही हैं। माना की कई लोगों के लिए यह एक देखभाल एक विलासिता हैं, लेकिन यह एक शुरुआत हैं। 

पिछले महीने की शुरुआत मेंं, हमने COVID-19 टास्क फोर्स पर एक लेख पोस्ट किया इसके कारण  मुझे टास्क फोर्स की विभिन्न टीमों के प्रमुखों के साथ साक्षात्कार मेंं भाग लेने का अवसर मिला। इस साक्षात्कार के दौरान, मेंरा ध्यान इस विशेष समुदाय के मानसिक स्वास्थ्य संबंधी चिंताओं की ओर गया जो थे कोविड -19  राहत के लिए काम कर रहें थे। 

“जब मैं सुबह उठी, तो मुझे एक संदेश मिला। उसमेंं कहा गया था, वह अब नहीं रहा ।”

यह आन्या नाम की एक स्वयंसेवक का उद्धरण हैं, जिसने अपने और अपनी टीम के संघर्षों को साझा किया।दुर्भाग्य से, यह ही एक इकलौती  घटना नहीं थी, श्रीमान इंद्रपाल नेवारे जो की उपाय एनजीओ की कोविड-19 टास्क फोर्स की आवश्यकता जुटाने वाली टीम के प्रमुख थे उन्होंने एक घटना का जिक्र किया जहाँ उन्हे सुबह के वक्त करीब 10 बजे एक फोन आया, और कुछ ही समय में पूरी टीम उस मरीज के लिए मदद खोजने में लग गई । दोपहर में 3 बजे के करीब उनके टीम के पास एक और फोन आया जिससे पता चला कि इतने प्रयासों के बाद भी मरीज बच नहीं पाया। बहुत सी ऐसी घटनाओ में से ये एक घटना थी । 

“मैंने सोचा था कि मैं एक स्थिति का वर्णन कर सकता हूं कि दुख को व्यक्त करो । दुःख, हालाँकि, एक अवस्था नहीं बल्कि एक प्रक्रिया बन जाता हैं ”  सीएस लुईस

कुछ समय के लिए दुख ,शोक और क्षति कोविड टास्क फोर्स में कार्य कर रहे स्वयंसेवकों  के लिए दैनिक जीवन का यंग बने रहे। जब उन्होंने अपनी पत्नी के नुकसान का अनुभव किया, तो सीएस लुईस ने किसी प्रियजन की मृत्यु की तुलना विच्छेदन से की। ऊपर के उद्धरण मेंं, उन्होंने दु:ख के अनुभव को एक प्रक्रिया के रूप मेंं ठीक ही रखा हैं। 

यह एक ऐसा अनुभव हैं जो समय के साथ गुजरता हैं इसलिए हम इसके साथ समझौता कर सकते हैं।

उसी दशक के भीतर जब लेखक ने अपनी पुस्तक  ए ग्रीफ अब्ज़र्व्ड (A grief observed) मेंं दुःख के बारे मेंं बताया –  मनोचिकित्सक कुबलर-रॉस ने दुःख को  पांच-चरणों मेंं बांटा – इनकार, क्रोध, सौदेबाजी, अवसाद और स्वीकृति ।

ज्यादातर मौते जिनका सामना स्वयंसेवकों को करना पड़ा रहा था , उनमेंं से अधिकांश लोग ना तो उनके दोस्त थे ना ही  संबंधी। स्वयंसेवकों ने पूर्ण अजनबियों के निधन की खबर सुनी, जिनका जीवन अचानक से उन पर निर्भर था। स्वयंसेवकों  ने मरीजों के लिए भले ही एक घंटे काम किया हो मगर उस एक घंटे में उन्होंने उस अजनबी को बचाने की पूरी जिम्मेंदारी ले ली थी, ये लोग (मरीज और स्वयंसेवक) जैसे ही  एक-दूसरे के जीवन मेंं आए, एक को छीन लिया गया। स्वयंसेवकों ने अपने स्वयं के दुःख का अनुभव किया । समय की व्ययस्थता और अपने काम की तात्कालिकता के कारण वे इस दुःख को स्वीकार भी नहीं कर पा रहे थे । 

सुश्री ज्योति ने हमारे साथ विशेष रूप से एक  गंभीर सप्ताह का वाकया साझा किया जहां उन्हें 5 मौतों के बारे मेंं सुनना पड़ा। ये वे लोग थे जिन्हें वह जानती थी  लेकिन उनके पास इतना समय नहीं था कि वे इस खबर के  साथ बैठ सकें और इसे स्वीकार  कर सकें क्योंकि अन्य  दूसरों लोगों  को भी उनकी सहायता की आवश्यकता थी।

उन्हें  न केवल अनगिनत मौतें  बल्कि काम के साथ आने वाली असहायता और निराशा की भावना भी पीड़ित करती हैं। टीम के प्रत्येक स्वयंसेवक ने  8 से 10 वास्तविक उपलब्ध लीड खोजने के लिए एक दिन मेंं लगभग सौ फोन किए। अस्पताल मेंं सिर्फ एक बेड  खोजने के लिए कम से कम 20 से 30 फोन करने पड़ रहे थे । कई बार सवाल न  केवल संसाधनों को प्राप्त करना था, बल्कि अक्सर रोगियों और उनके परिवार के सदस्यों को उपलब्ध संसाधनों का लाभ उठाने के लिए मनाने का कार्य था जो कि  चिढ़चिड़ाहट पैदा कर देता था ।

मेंंटल हेल्थ काउंसलर अनुष्का करिरा के साथ एक बातचीत मेंं सामने आया कि स्वयंसेवकों के बीच एक आम चिंता कोविड के दौरान अपने  ऊपर लगे लांछन के कारण  उनकी सहायता प्रणाली का नुकसान था। स्वयंसेवा मेंं पुण्य हैं , फिर भी, दुख की बात हैं कि इसे अक्सर वे लोग भूल जाते हैं जिनकी स्वयंसेवकों को सबसे अधिक आवश्यकता होती हैं। 

परित्याग, अस्वीकृति और अलगाव उनके दिमाग को घेर लेते हैं, धीरे-धीरे उनके लचीलेपन पर हमला करते हैं।

करीब से देखने पर पता चलता हैं कि ये वैध भावनाएँ दोनों तरफ मौजूद हैं। स्वयंसेवकों को अपने परिवारों द्वारा समर्थन की कमी के कारण अस्वीकार कर दिया गया हैं। इसके विपरीत यह भी सच हैं  कि स्वयंसेवक दूसरों की मदद करने के विकल्प को  चुनकर अपने और अपने परिवार के प्रति चिंता की कमी दिखाता हैं।

पिछले कुछ महीने चुनौतीपूर्ण रहे हैं और  बहुत लोगों  के लिए यह अभी भी जारी हैं। हम केवल अपना हिस्सा कर सकते हैं और आशा करते हैं कि जो हम नियंत्रित नहीं कर सकते हैं  वह स्वयं अपना  ख्याल रखता हैं ।

हम क्या कर सकते हैं?

“आप सही रहेंगे तभी  दूसरों  की मदद  कर पाओगे” – अनुष्का करिरा 

काम की प्रकृति हमेंं अपनी सीमाओं को आगे बढ़ाने और घंटों तक काम करते रहने के लिए मना सकती हैं । आप जो महत्वपूर्ण काम कर रहे हैं, उससे ब्रेक लेना एक स्वार्थी काम की तरह लग सकता हैं। लेकिन आप  सिर्फ इंसान हो। दूसरों की मदद करने के लिए  ब्रेक लेना, अच्छा भोजन करना और अच्छी नींद लेना महत्वपूर्ण हैं। 

अनुष्का करिरा का सुझाव हैं कि  अगर आपको नीचे दिए गए लक्षण होते हैं तो ध्यान दे । 

  1.  निरंतर घटती ऊर्जा / डिमोटिवेशन
  2. आपके शरीर मेंं दर्द जो बिना किसी स्पष्ट शारीरिक कारण के होता हैं 
  3. लंबे समय तक चुप रहना 
  4. बिना कारण के रोना 

यदि आप इनमेंं से कोई भी लक्षण देखते हैं तो यह आपके लिए ब्रेक लेने का समय हैं। सही समय पर ब्रेक लेने से आप  गंभीर परिणामों से बचे रहेंगे । अपराध बोध के दर्द से लड़ें और अपने लिए समय निकालें। इस अवधि मेंं उन कामों को करें जो आपको पूर्ण और अपने आप से संपर्क मेंं महसूस कराते हैं।

ऐसा करने के लिए डॉ. करिरा  ने हमारे साथ कुछ गतिविधियां साझा की हैं। आप वह चुन सकते हैं जो आपको सबसे अच्छा लगे!

  1. अपने करीबी दोस्तों या परिवार के साथ  बातचीत करें
  2. ध्यान करे  (सांस लेना, मुख्य रूप से साँस छोड़ना)
  3. अपने आप को सभी प्रकार के ध्यान भटकाने वाली चीजों से दूर रखे (खासकर के इलेक्ट्रॉनिक उपकरणों से )
  4. रोजाना घूमने जाए , हो सके तो नंगे पाँव घास पे घूमें 
  5. अपने पालतू जानवर के साथ खेले 
  6. पानी मेंं मछली या आकाश मेंं बादलों के शांत क्षणों को देखें।

डिजिटल डिटॉक्स (इसका मतलब हैं की इलेक्ट्रॉनिक संसाधन जैसे मोबाईल,लैपटॉप से दूर रहना ) भी एक ऐसा शब्द था जिस पर हमने चर्चा की। इन भावनाओं का आप अनुभव कर सकते हैं जब स्वयंसेवा करना चुनौतीपूर्ण होता हैं ।  इस जाल मेंं पड़ने से बचना चाहिए कि सोशल मीडिया इन सब से  निपटने के लिए सबसे अच्छा बचाव  हैं।  जब आपने अपने आराम करने के घंटे तय कर लिए हैं तब अपना फोन को सिर्फ आपत्कालिक स्थिति में बजने के लिए छोड़ दे । इसी तरह आप अपने लिए कुछ समय निकाल पाएंगे । 

अनुष्का करिरा जैसे मानसिक स्वास्थ्य चिकित्सक से संपर्क करना भी उचित हैं , खासकर यदि देखे गए लक्षण गंभीर हैं या लंबे समय से बने हुए हैं।

अच्छे मानसिक स्वास्थ्य को बनाए रखने के लिए सामाजिक समर्थन बहुत ही महत्वपूर्ण हैं। उपाय में हम स्वयंसेवकों की विभिन्न टीमों के भीतर इस सहायक वातावरण का निर्माण करते हैं। प्रत्येक टीम प्रमुख ने महसूस किया कि अपने स्वयंसेवकों के लिए एक सहायक, देखभाल करने वाले वातावरण को बढ़ावा देना उनकी जिम्मेंदारी हैं। उन्होंने टीम को प्रेरित रखने मेंं एक लीडर  की भूमिका पर जोर दिया हैं जब भी हमारी टीम को निराशा को सामना करना पड़ा, सभी टीम  लीडरो उन लोगों को ध्यान में रखने पर जोर दिया जिनकी मदद वे लोग कर सकते थे और सभी ने अपने काम को पूरे उत्साह से जारी रखा। सभी टीम लीडरो के पास ना सिर्फ एक दूसरे का समर्थन प्राप्त हैं बल्कि हमारे संस्थापक श्रीमान वरुण श्रीवास्तव जी का भी समर्थन प्राप्त हैं। 

ये वास्तव मेंं चुनौतीपूर्ण समय हैं। हम उन सभी साहसी और देखभाल करने वालों के लिए आभारी हैं जो हमेंं मजबूत रखने के लिए स्तंभ की तरह खड़े रहे हैं। आपके निरंतर प्रयासों के लिए धन्यवाद।

यह लेख इस उम्मीद से लिखा गया हैं कि इसके माध्यम से ना सिर्फ आपको अपने अनुभवों को साझा करना आसान होगा बल्कि आप स्वयं की चिंता करके अपने आप को 

अच्छा महसूस करवाएंगे जैसे आप दूसरों को कर रहे थे । 

MY JOURNEY AT UPAY – SHRUTI GARG

The first class of UPAY’s Delhi Zone started on 16th November 2017. I have been associated with UPAY Delhi since then. Little did I know that this small endeavour would become a lifelong attachment on my first day at UPAY. 

UPAY NGO shruti garg volunteer story delhi-ncr

It all started with me researching NGOs in India. I have always wanted to get involved with some kind of social work and give others a better chance at life. So, after selecting some NGOs as per my convenience, I applied to two to three – UPAY being one of them. To my surprise, UPAY was the first NGO to call me back. 

I was elated, but I also wanted to find whether the organization was genuine or not. When I was done with my survey, I was satisfied and happy to know that this organization does not profess to do one thing and does the other instead. It is authentic and determined to work on its mission. 

There are a few moments that make you want to hold on to them throughout your life. One such moment I hold on to is from my initial days with the Delhi chapter at UPAY.

I joined the Karol Bagh Center. I was a little nervous on the very first day. The first task I was to be involved in was to survey the community to know the children and parents of the area better. While surveying, some students told us that they wanted to study but didn’t have time to go to school. They had important roles in assisting their family with household chores and being the earning hand of their family. 

I remember the lines of a kid echoing in my ears every time I look back to this day –

 “hum padhna chahte hai ….aap log aaoge padhane toh hum bhi aaenge padhne ke liye” 

The child said that he and his friends yearned to learn, and if the volunteers came to teach, they would be ready to learn too! That moment was a turning point for me. Seeing the zeal of these children to study strengthened my conviction to become a UPAY volunteer. I wanted to help them achieve their dream. 

UPAY NGO shruti garg volunteer story delhi-ncr

I feel I was fortunate to be a part of this survey. It allowed me to have a deeper understanding of the day to day reality of the community. This experience was key in making me an essential part of this journey UPAY Delhi had undertaken.

The children at UPAY have always brought a smile to my face. Through them, I have created “A forever life” association with the organisation. 

To promote the work that UPAY has been doing,  I started posting my experiences on Facebook. I have been able to reach many people through it. They have always been appreciative and supportive of UPAY’s mission.

The Delhi Volunteers team is extra special to me. All the people are so loving and caring! They never hesitate to take on the workload and help other members as well. They are people who inspire me. I would especially like to thank Varun sir for his relentless efforts and undying motivation. Sometimes words have a profound impact on a person. His words have always stayed with me.

UPAY NGO shruti garg volunteer story delhi-ncr


On May 5th 2019, I visited the centre. Ernest Hemingway said, “Change happens gradually then suddenly”. I experienced that when I met the children after a long absence. They had familiar faces but a massive change in their behaviour. They talked more confidently and were even more in love with academics! The difference was apparent not only in the mode they spoke but also in the way they walked.

On one occasion, I was teaching about Matras in Hindi, a child, Sunil, came up to me and asked me, pointing, if what he had written was wrong. And it was indeed wrong; I was shocked, surprised, and happy to see their dedication to learn. The children who would never sit at one place to study are now showing great progress academically. Their ability to reflect back on their own and identify their own mistakes is spellbound. 

I appreciate the hard work done by our volunteers at UPAY. After noticing such changes and growth in children, I feel motivated to work harder for them. I feel grateful to be a part of such an organization and I hope with our little contribution, UPAY will be able to transform the lives of many underprivileged children like Sunil’s.





UPAY NGO shruti garg volunteer story delhi-ncr
Curated by: Jovial Mittal

Happy Doctors Day

Every year on July 1st, the Indian government acknowledges and celebrates Doctor’s Day. It is a beautiful day that gives us all an opportunity to celebrate and be grateful for the unwavering service of the medical community to our society. 

upay ngo celebrating doctor's day

Amidst the second wave of the Pandemic, the doctors have once again been at the forefront of our battle against Coronavirus. Millions of people worldwide have been infected by the virus. In India alone 30 million people were infected and approximately 4 hundred thousand people lost their lives. Doctors have been working more than 24 hours straight to ensure they help one more person recover, and save one more life. It has put them at a significantly higher risk of catching the virus.  

In these challenging times, it is the doctors who have given us hope by working tirelessly to preserve the lives of people and to eradicate the novel coronavirus. There can be no better opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate a doctor’s contributions, not only today but throughout history. 

Every year, India commemorates National Doctor’s Day in memory of the birth and death anniversary of the renowned physician and former West Bengal chief minister, Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy. He was a key figure in establishing various health institutions after the Indian independence. The yearly celebration of National Doctor Day enables the general public to become aware of how doctors play significant roles in our society.

उपाय एनजीओ happy doctor's day

The contributions of doctors in the development of our society can be traced back to Vedic texts like Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and ancient Buddhist texts, among others. These were some of the oldest texts which have laid the foundation for today’s medical sciences in India. In Indian society, doctors have been regarded as next to God. They are an inseparable part of our society. 

However, in the past few months, many instances have risen where doctors have had to take the brunt of the fallout from the pandemic. Recently in Maharashtra, a doctor was allegedly assaulted by four family members after a relative died while receiving coronavirus treatment. In another similar case, a doctor from Guwahati, Assam, was brutally beaten with metal trash and cans by relatives of a COVID patient who died because of a lack of oxygen cylinders. The rate of crime against doctors is rapidly rising, which is a major area of concern.  Fear of violence was the most common source of stress for doctors, followed by fear of being sued due to an increase in incidents of violence against doctors. It deters young people from pursuing careers in the healthcare profession, has a profound impact on society as a whole. Such acts of violence against doctors must be put to an end. We should raise public awareness and appreciate our doctors for their selfless devotion to our country.

Doctors are known for their altruistic dedication to their patients and society, and we are fortunate to have one in our midst. Ms Vishaka Singh has been relentlessly working with UPAY to tackle this fatal virus and preserve our society as well as she can. She has been supervising our facility at Noida oxygen centre after fulfilling her duties as an IRS Officer. Dr Vishaka had contracted the Covid 19 virus a few weeks before we launched our project, but even in that state, she helped us establish our COVID facility. So as soon as she recovered, she went out to work without taking a single day off. UPAY salutes her and is grateful for her selfless dedication to your beneficiaries. 

Like her, many doctors who were on duty for more than 36 hours at a stretch, helped us run our teleconsultation facility smoothly. All our doctors including Dr Kunal Kumar, Dr Olivia, Dr Salil Maheshwari ensured the patients are attended to and worked to uplift their spirits. 

UPAY extends this gratitude to our medical community including Dr Chandan Kumar, Dr Prassanna Moon, and Dr. Pramod Kumar who ensure timely intervention into our communities and get our children and their families checked.

We thank all of our doctor friends and colleagues for their kindness and generosity towards our society during these challenging times.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Doctor’s Day.

Written By : Siddhant. K. Jaiswal 
Edited by : Ananya Shetty