Top 5 stories of women who did very unique social things during Coronavirus.

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By Likita Gowda

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging things we’ve all experienced in our lives. With the initial horror of the unknown, the strict lockdowns, safety measures to follow, the fear of the disease and having to adjust to a new ‘normal’, the pandemic has certainly taken a toll on us. But guess what, give yourselves a pat on the back for we’ve all handled it well till now, and we’re sure that the light at the end of the tunnel is not far away. 

While this is how most of us average folks have lived through the pandemic, there were some who rose to the challenge. Not only did they face it fearlessly, they went out of their way to help the society during this time of distress. Here are five stories of extraordinary women who did very unique social things during COVID-19. Read on and get inspired.

1. Upskilling Migrant Workers | Shipra Bhutani Sharma

The pandemic saw a huge number of migrant workers moving back to their home states due to the loss of jobs. This is where Shipra, the founder of Capita Connect saw a unique opportunity. Her organisation helps connect specific industries with skilled workers. And through the pandemic, they have not only been helping migrant workers find jobs but have been tirelessly working on upskilling them. 

The organisation in partnership with the state governments, collected data on migrant workers, saw what skills they had and then connected them with respective industries for jobs. And if a certain worker did not have any jobs available in the field that they were working in, those workers were taught new skills with the app SkillMitra. Everything from making masks to PPE kits was taught to meet the needs of the industries at the time. The industries could also connect with skilled workers through Capita Connect. Shipra and her team’s efforts have already helped over 20,000 plus migrant workers to find jobs and upskill themselves. They have also been conducting job fairs to help more people in need. Truly incredible.

2. One Million Meals | Ruchira Gupta

Meet Ruchira Gupta, the founder of the Apne Aap Women Worldwide. This visionary and her organisation are on a mission to end sex-trafficking by preventing inter-generational prostitution. They essentially help the victims of sex trafficking by sponsoring the education of children of sex workers and give them a better life.

Right when the pandemic started and schools were shut, many such children were forced to go back home in red light areas from their boarding schools and all sex workers lost their income overnight. Besides, their occupation wasn’t safe for them due to COVID-19.

Within the first few days of the pandemic, Ruchira received a call in distress from a child in the red light area for food. This made her quickly arrange for 500 meals in the area. And this is how the One Million meals food drive began. While they initially distributed cooked meals, they soon started distributing dry rations to the marginalized families. With help pouring in from India and around the world and even celebrities like Chef Vikas Khanna and Abhay Deol talking about it on their social media, Ruchira and her team have helped provide over five million meals. More power to them!

3. Project I am Enough | Siya Tayal

Started in July 2020, Project ‘I am enough’ promotes body positivity and offers a safe space to girls who have experienced body shaming. The brainchild behind this is 15-year-old Siya Tayal. 

With this project she aims to help normalise all body types and create an acceptance for them in society. This project already has a network of over 500 people who openly talk about their bodies and what they feel about them without any judgement. Besides spreading the cause on social media, Project I AM also aims to have physical events once the pandemic is over. 

4. Toto service for COVID-19 Patients | Munmun Sarkar

Siliguri’s first woman toto driver, Munmum Sarkar is a force to be reckoned with. Right when the pandemic struck, she took it into her own hands to help those in need. This fierce 48-year-old ferried COVID-19 patients for free through the pandemic. Upset by the way COVID-19 patients were treated by public transport vehicles, she decided to offer the service and helped to ferry them to hospitals and medical health care facilities. And knowing that the disease was enough of a distress to infected patients and how exorbitantly they were being charged to be ferried by ambulances and other transport services, she decided to offer the service for free. Despite knowing that this would affect her own income. 

Although she was opposed by family members and neighbours for doing this initially, her efforts have been lauded by doctors, hospitals and over time by all. She is happy that her husband supported her in this since the beginning. She took extreme care in sanitising her vehicle after every ride, besides wearing a PPE kit and following other safety measures. Not only did she ferry patients, but she also helped transport groceries and other essentials to those in home quarantines. We salute her for her incredible and selfless service.

5. Masks for frontline workers | Raji Radhakrishnan

It’s strange how differently abled people are often always seen as a burden to society. Not only are they seen in a bad light, shunned away from living normal lives but also rarely encouraged to learn skills, educate themselves and be as independent and self-reliant as they could be. And time and again, it’s people like this who surprise us with their grit, resilience and even talent.

Raji Radhakrishnan, a thirty-year-old differently-abled girl from Kerala stitched over 1000 masks for frontline workers. Raji’s mother, Prabha Unni who runs an NGO for people with disability, is super proud of her daughter. She says although Raji learnt stitching only in November 2019, her newly learnt skill came to the rescue of many during the pandemic. What is even surprising is that usually Raji would ask for money every time she helped her mother but for this task of making masks, she did not ask any money from her mother. She helped because she wanted to, even though her brain isn’t fully developed to understand how serious the pandemic is. And that has made Raji win everyone’s hearts.

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