Reducing Distress: supporting those affected by COVID-19

Aqsa Hafeez Ur Rehman
University of Delhi


The world grieves as everything comes to a standstill due to COVID 19. India is on lockdown from 25th of March and the capital Delhi from 13th of March. The worst struck in this lockdown is the workers in the unorganised sector who are left with no source of income to feed themselves. There are families in the heart of the walled city Delhi who do minimal work for fulfilling their daily needs. Their occupation is manual labour, envelope making, stitching, work as labour on shops, junk collecting work and widows. They are the most marginalised and vulnerable section of the society.

I realised that despite the on-going programme of food distribution, these families are unable to get any support. It all started when I got to know that one of the school students is stuck in Delhi along with ten other daily wagers and they don’t have anything to eat. I started this work of connected people with the organisations who are providing ration kits to the people.

Initially, I filled the online forms of the needy families on various Google forms which were providing monetary support and food to the needy. In the next three days, those sites closed their link as they had sufficient funding and cannot support more families. During that time, I only filled five family details but later on, I started getting more requests. I started talking to the Delhi Youth Welfare Association directly over call and requested them to support the families. They supported two families till 31st march and after that, they were denied due to lack of funds.

I had details of ten more families who required ration but I have nowhere to go and I don’t have funds to support them either. I used my social media to ask people for donations and request them that it will go directly to the needy families. Fortunately, I got three contacts who showed interest and to support the families. I collected money, made the ration kits, showed the bill details to the donor and delivered it to the family.

I have been working in the riot-affected area of Delhi, since the beginning of March. I talk to them on the weekly basis and ask about their wellbeing. I am working to provide them with food as well. I connect them with the donors, inform them if any team is coming there for distributing food. I requested one of my friends to help one family who started living on rent across her street and provide them ration.

Till 5th April, I have worked with a total of twenty-three families and I am still getting details of the families who are in need. Apart from providing people with the basic necessities like food, I am searching for the organisations who are working on health as I am getting the news that these marginal people require health facilities as well.