Bengaluru NGOs step up to help people hit by Covid-19 pandemic

Children Education Women
Kids at Ujjwal Initiative

Several NGOs in Bengaluru are helping people hit by the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.“Our main purpose is to produce reusable products and make people aware of menstrual hygiene,” Divya G. who works as an embroidery teacher at MITU Foundation, informed The Observer. The NGO is involved in making recycled products. Almost all products available there —purses, handbags and envelopes —are made with clothes and reused paper donated by people. “We don’t buy any new clothes. We make products ranging from masks to sanitary pads from the clothes that we get as donation,” Divya shared.The NGO offers 21-day-long internships to girls.

Girls at MITU Foundation learning stitching and embroidery

“I am learning embroidery here and it is nice. I am learning a skill that would improve and make my life better,”, said a student interning at the MITU foundation.Asked about how the training will help them, another student said: “I study in Malleswaram Ladies Association High School. This training helps in my college assignments.” Another student said that learning these skills will help her to open up her own cloth products store from which she can generate some income.The NGO is involved in charity too, helping women in need. “We make diapers and napkins, caps and balls. These are donated to BBMP hospitals for poor women…. The eco-friendly and reusable sanitary pads made by our girls are given to poor and marginalized girls of society,” said Divya. The different products are put up on sale at various events across Bengaluru and the money collected is used in making baby kits and reusable pads which are then donated, thus helping the ones who are in need.

Raise Empower Women Around (REWA) is helps helpless and destitute women. Abhishek Saran, founder and director, said he started the NGO back in 2014 with the aim of helping women in need. Along with Touchstone, a pre-school, he started the ‘Ujjwal initiative’, which aims to provide education to children from marginalized communities. “Every child has the capacity and potential to do good in life. The only problem is that some children don’t get the opportunity to do something good; they don’t get access to good quality education,” he, said. The initiative started last year in March, but they had to resort to hold online classes due to the pandemic. “Since last year, we have been conducting online classes for these children and it is going well. We feel happy when we see these children doing good.”

Children of marginalised community acquiring education under “Ujjwal Initiative”

Shikha Mohan, principal of Touchstone, a pre-school, said: “Providing education to children of maids, domestic staff, auto drivers, etc. feels nice. I feel happy and satisfied that I am able to contribute something good to society.”Right now, the initiative is online. “We have a WhatsApp group where we post homework and classwork and give directions on how to complete the work. If there is still some confusion, our teachers drop a voicemail to sort out any confusion,” Mohan said.The Observer reached out to people whose children are studying under the Ujjawal initiative. Shashi Kala, mother of Manasa, a class 1 student, said: “My daughter attends online classes and is doing pretty well. Sometimes, I face Internet connection issues. Otherwise, the teaching is good and I am quite happy with the teaching.” Shankar Ganesh, father of Kaisha, who studies in class 1, said: “My daughter had studied in Tamil medium but the teachers take care of that. They teach well and make sure my child understands everything. They also conduct extracurricular activities like drawing and making rangoli.” Janaki Deepak, mother of a five-year-old student, shared: “The teacher teaches very well. I am very happy that even in this pandemic, my child is getting good quality education. She also has extracurricular activities like, drawing, coloring, and water coloring.” During the lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called upon NGOs to come forward and provide necessities to the underprivileged. The Supreme Court of India praised the contribution of NGOs in these tough times. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations also applauded the work of civil societies and grassroots organizations for bringing economic and livelihood opportunities for the disadvantaged.


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