Srinagar: As the Jammu & Kashmir gears up for its first Eid al-Fitr celebrations as a Union Territory, a small NGO which has been working tirelessly for the specially abled persons and destitutes in the Valley throughout the lockdown period, has worked hard to bring smiles on few people’s faces here.
globalbihari.com had earlier too profiled the Save The Destitute Foundation — a team of young volunteers, who are working tirelessly to ensure essential supplies for the destitutes.
This time the NGO embarked on a mission to provide COVID Emergency Response Eid kits to destitutes and persons with disability. On the eve of Eid al-Fitr, it distributed 300 Eid kits comprising one month’s groceries to the needy persons of Srinagar and other districts like Budgam , Baramulla, Shopian, Anantnag . Out of these 300 kits, 70 were provided to persons with disabilities. Special kits were provided to widows, and daily wagers. These wagers also included migrant workers from different states.
“It’s going to be a month since the Centre issued disability inclusive guidelines to ensure the safety of disabled people through the COVID-19 pandemic but progress on this front has been patchy,” Zaheer Jan, founder chairman of STDF said. He further pointed out that though of late there has been a “huge” jump in COVID cases in Jammu and Kashmir, still there was no support system for disabled people in place.
Mudasir Shaban, a social worker and founder of Disability Welfare Trust, lamented: “Forget essential services, even basic information about safety measures is not getting through to disabled people in Kashmir. There are no helpline numbers, no door to door delivery of essential goods and services, and no system for issuing passes for caregivers especially parents of special children. Even more alarming is that basic awareness information about ways to keep oneself safe is not reaching people during this lockdown.”
Endorsing Shaban, Dr Fouzia rasool and and Dr Sheema Reeyan — both are senior physiotherapists, said due to lockdown, persons with disability and special-need children have been suffering a lot. They added: “In every district persons with disabilities need help during Eid. They need groceries, ration etc. Government provides just Rs. 1000 monthly pension to persons with disability but now a days Rs 1000. is not sufficient . Persons with disabilities need more. Their medicines are costly and many of these disabled person need diapers. Rs. 1000 is hardly any support.”
As it is, only few voluntary organizations have reached out to persons with disability during this covid 19 and most of these people have suffered a lot. “We are very thankful to our team members Dr Fouzia Rasool , Sunny sajad Hyder for helping us to reach out to vulnerable families. Besides we could not have done anything without the support of Mudasir Shaban, and his team members Azhar , Sahil And Nizam who played volunteer role for distribution of these kits and helped us reach these needy families,” Jan said.
Jan asserted that STDF was always trying to help the needy people during this covid 19 and thanked all those who came forward and donated these Eid kits.
Obviously the numbers of such kits are not enough. But indeed there is immensely satisfying to see smiles on the faces of these destitutes and special need persons. “It goes beyond saying that we need more resources. We also need more persons,” Jan said.