#VinitasPune -What Are You Waiting For? #KeralaNeedsYou And Now!

Kerala floods 2018
Image: Quartz

The floods in Kerala have already killed over 300 and more than 10 lakh people, children included are housed in  shelter homes…

It is estimated that rehabilitation in itself will need over Rs.20,000 crore or more. However, any help be it food, medicines or essentials will be welcomed at the relief camps right now.

Lt Gen D R Soni, Goc-in-C Southern Command HQ Pune has been personally overseeing the rescue operations. He has deployed 10 columns comprising 65 personnel each and sent 12 engineering task force (etf) from Pune, Mumbai, Secunderabad, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Jodhpur and Chennai.

These brave officers and soldiers have constructed over 24 temporary bridges and over 40 roads. By now, many more would have been built too. Doctors from the military services and from Sassoon General Hospital are at the service of the shelter camps. Several youth organisations from Pune are also relentlessly working for the safety and well-being of the flood-affected.

It is now our turn as responsible citizens to pitch in and help our brethren in Kerala.

Besides the frightening statistics that speak of the enormity of Nature’s fury, the relentless TV and social media coverage of the deluge and sufferings are impacting each one of us.   These are so heart-wrenching that it has spurred many a citizen to donate to various relief funds.

Yet, there are many more that would like to donate, but are not confident that their contribution would reach the ground.Yet, there are many more that would like to donate, but are not confident that their contribution would reach the ground.

You can’t blame them since information procured through RTI has revealed that there has been misuse of CM’s relief funds in different states including ours. These cases then lead citizens to believe that their donations may not be helping.

However, there many credible organisations where you can donate and be rest assured that it reaches the right hands

Ever since day one of the flood fury, I’ve been contemplating to donate but was wondering how to go about it. Television screens, newspapers and the social media has been highlighting the material that is required – drinking water, non-perishable food items, baby food, toiletries, clothes (unused ones), blankets (unused), medicines, sanitary napkins and of course cash. I kept my eyes open and was scouting for an organisation where I could donate and be sure that it will be delivered.

On Monday afternoon, Sucheta Dalal, trustee of Moneylife Foundation and a stalwart financial journalist who was awarded Padmashri for breaking the Harshad Mehta scam sent me an appeal on my WhatsApp.

Her foundation along with other NGOs in Mumbai is collecting food, water, medicines, vaccines and clothing and the drop off date is 23rd August till 6.30pm. I instantly found this to be the right place for my donation, but I needed to figure logistics. Several thoughts came to my mind, ranging from driving to Mumbai, to ask a wholesaler in Pune or a friend in Mumbai to help handing over this. Just then it struck me that I could possibly use an e-commerce company for this.

I logged in to amazon.com and decided on rice and tur dal. I began clicking on the rice packets that came in 5 kg quantities and 1 kg tur dal packets. My cart indicated Rs.10,000 but with the discounts it was around INR 7500. Just when I decided, they said some of these items were not available. While the whole process wasted a lot of time, I decided to need to check another site and tried big basket.com  They also had a few items out of stock but it was easy to replace them with other brands.

Eventually, I did manage to order 22kgs of Rice and 10 kgs of Turdal which was delivered by them to Moneylife Foundation’s office in Mumbai. This is certainly an easy and effective method to donate through the organisations and people you trust.

In fact, Sucheta Dalal tweeted soon after ‘Interestingly, @VinitaDeshmukh took the online route to sending her donation to @MoneylifeF – but instead of pre-packaged stuff (like useless torches etc, going to specific entities) she just sent it to our office!! Neat and efficient.’’

Charity does not come naturally to us Indians. In fact, we are a community of soothsayers and sympathisers yet often forget that even a single rupee is of value in such calamities  

I understood the value of a humble contribution when The Indian Express led by its respected Pune edition editor, Prakash Kardaley launched a citizen campaign to build the National War Memorial in Pune with contributions from civilians.

If there was a Asha Bhosale who had donated Rs.50,000 there were hundreds of citizens who had donated Rs.5 too. With these big and small donations, the National War Memorial was built within 10 months and is now a popular tourist site and a place of solace for the families of martyrs.

This is an honest appeal from me to Puneites to treat the Kerala disaster as ours and contribute in any manner that you believe in.

The devastation is colossal and thoughts from two great minds of India would help in crystallising your cause to donate. Mahatma Gandhi said: “The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”

Mother Teresa “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.’’

So true!

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#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to the same.

Vinita Deshmukh

Vinita Deshmukh

Passion for the written word that comes alive, not only to tell a story, but to speak out loud about all that's good, bad and the ugly in society...

That's Vinita Deshmukh, Senior journalist and RTI activist who believes in journalism that reflects the views and needs of the common man.

Get Real And Stay Relevant says Vinita,
Vinita Deshmukh

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