Delhi-based Wishes and Blessings is providing relief to those hit due to coronavirus crisis

The NGO has fed over 45,000 underprivileged people across eight states during the coronavirus-led lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic has hurt the livelihoods of people all over the globe. However, the effect that it has had on humankind has been unequal, with some suffering more than the others. 

For those of us who have access to necessities such as medicines, groceries, and shelter, the lockdown period has been much less of a challenge than it has been to those who are less privileged. The most vulnerable strata of society in this crisis comprises families of daily wage workers and migrant labourers. 

Wishes and Blessings, a registered NGO in Delhi, has been providing relief to families most at risk during these crucial times.

Connecting donors to those in need

In 2014, Dr Geetanjali Chopra founded Wishes and Blessings with an aim to cut across the gender and age divides and help those in need. The NGO provides a platform to connect donors with beneficiaries, to enable those who can provide aid easier access to the ones who need it. 

Their vision is to not be bound by a linear focus, with emphasis placed on skill development, infrastructure, education, and hygienic food, among others. Having already executed multiple successful projects, Wishes and Blessings embarked on COVID-19 relief measures as soon as the nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24.

Migrant workers and daily wagers across India are facing a crisis

“There are many NGOs working to come to the aid of the urban poor, however, tribal families and residents of lesser accessible areas have been equally hit. We are doing our best to extend a helping hand to aid whoever we can in whatever capacity possible,” Dr Geetanjali Chopra, Founder and President of Wishes and Blessings, tells SocialStory

COVID-19 relief

From feeding 600 underprivileged and homeless people, within days, the organisation scaled its operations to cater to over 9,000 people across Delhi NCR. 

In the last two weeks, the organisation has managed to extend the scope of its relief project to eight states. In Assam, Delhi, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu, cooked food is served twice a day to over 15,000 homeless people and daily wage workers. 

Provision of nutritional support

Nutritional kits have been provided to over 3,200 families who are at high risk due to these unprecedented times. Lakhs of daily wage workers no longer have a source of income to depend on and no savings to utilise, making it gruelling for them to cope. 

Daycare centres have been converted into shelter homes to shelter the homeless, while hygiene supplies have been procured to safeguard their well-being.

“I’ve always wondered if I would ever get the chance to serve humanity. And during this lockdown, when I was asked if I could volunteer to help the underprivileged, I didn’t even give it a second thought. I feel blessed that I am able to serve the poor and needy, and most importantly, my nation,” says Barkha Hazarika.

On-ground team of volunteers in Delhi

In Delhi NCR, meals are being served in Munirka, Nizamuddin, Modi Mills, Maidan Garhi, Motiya Khan, and other areas. Arrangements have also been made to provide support to 25 stranded labourers in South Delhi, homeless families under the Modi Mills Flyover, 300 underprivileged people in AIIMS, Kotla Mubarakpur, and Sarai Kale Khan. 

Nutrition is also being provided to 1,500 people in Dehradun, 100 daily wagers in Ghaziabad, and 1,000 tribal families in Asansol. All meals are cooked under sanitary conditions and all volunteers wear safety gear. Beneficiaries at the centres are made to practice social distancing.

The way forward

“This project has been nothing short of amazing and awe-inspiring. Overnight, we have expanded our operations from Delhi NCR to the innermost corners of the country. I could never have predicted how we went from feeding 600 people to over 45,000. This has been made possible because of our model of work through partnerships,” adds Dr Geetanjali.

She also insists that collective action is the need of the hour, and that because of partnerships, her organisation could expand their service in the way that they did.

Cooked food being served

As of April 22, Wishes and Blessings fed over 45,000 at-risk individuals. The organisation also tied up with local organisations to ensure that relief is provided to those in need, while maintaining strict adherence to the social distancing norms. The team’s hope is to support them not only until the lockdown ends, but until they are assured of a sense of security. In fact, they have also pledged to continue their service indefinitely until June 15.

Edited by Kanishk Singh