Hyderabad: The COVID-19 pandemic started off with the demonization and vilification of the Muslim community in India. The Nizamuddin Markaz incident in March last year added salt to the wound. “Corona bombs” or “corona jihadist” were just two of the many derogatory words that the national media and elected legislators used to malign the Muslim community. Without any truth the Muslims were directly held responsible for the spread of the virus as a result the entire community faced socio-economic boycott and mass discrimination.
But the community did not allow the hate campaign against it to deter from serving the people, not withstanding faith or belief system. Against this backdrop siasat.com decided to speak with some NGOs and individuals who provided exceptional service during the pandemic.
“Participating in relief works and contributing to help people in times of distress is what ‘real education’ encourages to do,” Talha Faiyazuddin, the President of Student Islamic Organisation (SIO) Telangana said.
SIO launched a national COVID-19 helpline and in Telangana, connected more than 6000 people to healthcare facilities with the help of the ‘COVID relief task force’ which has over 1000 volunteers across the State. They are working to ensure that COVID-19 patients get oxygen, plasma, medicines, beds and other help which the victims required. There is also an ‘online doctor tele-communication team’ with 154 medics available 24×7.
According to Hafiz Rashad Uddin, the President of Jamaat-e-İslami Hind (JIH) in Hyderabad, an amount of Rs 1.39 crore has been spent on COVID-19 relief works in the city since the pandemic began last year.
He told siasat.com that an amount of Rs 13.56 lakh was distributed as lockdown relief, Rs 4.21lakh for medical aid and Rs 53.82 lakh was distributed as “fitra” or obligatory charity before the Ramzan Eid prayers. Further, he said that 430 oxygen cylinders were arranged for the needy and 5,271 ration kits and 4,420 Eid packs were also distributed.
Abdul Mohaimim Azhar, Vice President of Safa Baitul Ma’al, said that his organisation was able to mobilize Rs 1.64 crore for various services. He said the NGO provided more than 300 oxygen cylinders and over 100 oxygen concentrators, 7000 cooked food packets and 12,000 ration kits. It also organised relief camps and extended financial aid for migrant communities and medical kits to about 3000 families. It also helped about 200 persons to revive their livelihood sources by assisting in setting up Small and Medium enterprises.
Azhar also said that the organization has over 40 doctors and two ambulances ready for the service of people.
Social Data Initiative Forum (SDIF), Access Foundation and Safa Baitul Maal joined hands during May to provide free oxygen cylinders at the entrances of Gandhi Hospital, Chest Hospital and King Kothi Hospital to help patients breathe easy from the time they get down from the ambulance till they get admission in the hospital. Over 150 patients are benefiting every day for more than a month now.
Access Foundation’s Mariya Tabassum said that more than 80 oxygen cylinders that are in circulation in the city belong to her organization. A refilling facility has also been provided. She added that 47 oxygen concentrators and financial aid worth Rs 5000 per victim was given by her foundation. She did not say how many persons availed of financial assistance.
Syed Jalaluddin, who runs Youth Welfare, said that his group has cremated and performed the final rites of around 2000 people who passed away due to COVID-19. Of the total, 200 victims were Hindus and the remaining Muslims. “We provided this assistance to both Hindus and Muslims,” he added.
A group of professionals and students, who came together and formed United for Fair and Just Society (UFJS), said that his group has supplied ration worth Rs 45 lakh since the first lockdown. Abdus Sabur of UFJS said that his group gave 60 cylinders and oxygen free of cost and also took up the responsibility of refilling. “Currently we are doing a “Know your Neighbour” campaign in different areas where some needy families are identified and provided free ration,” he said.
Toufiq Mohammad Khan, a businessman who owns an event management company and convention halls called N.M Company, said that he started an NGO to help people get back on their feet by providing them with food, ration kits and other necessities during the pandemic.
“Our NGO has provided ration kits to at least 2,000 families since the start of the pandemic,” Mohammad Aftab Khan, the son of Mr Taufiq said.
Siasat initiative: If you or your organization is involved in voluntary work during the pandemic, please share details with firstname.lastname@example.org. We would publish it with the intention to inspire others to rise during these testing times.