Assisting people with disabilities; distributing food out of own pockets amidst pandemic – top social stories of the week
The pandemic has brought out many kind individuals to the foray who have been working tirelessly and selflessly to help society during such bleak times.
This week, SocialStory brings you some inspiring and reassuring deeds that are happening in our society — whether it is feeding the poor amid the pandemic, helping people with disabilities, or imparting education to the underprivileged.
Here are the top stories of the week:
NeoMotion is a Chennai-based startup that focusses on helping the physically disabled to move around without help from others. It was founded in 2016 by IIT alumnus Swostik Dash, and Dr Sujatha Srinivasan, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at IIT Madras.
The startup’s flagship product, NeoFly, is a personalised wheelchair designed to enhance health and lifestyle. Its 18-point customisations ensure a perfect fit for the user’s needs. Another offering that has proved to be a value add for a lot of PwDs is NeoBolt. It is a motor-powered clip-on which converts NeoFly into a safe, roadworthy vehicle, and eliminates the need to transfer to other vehicles, and can also be independently attached by the user within seconds.
These products have impacted many lives in terms of time, convenience, and building a sense of independence.
From being visually challenged to becoming a sought-after stand-up comedian: the journey of Sandeep Rao
Despite being diagnosed with juvenile macular degeneration, an eye disorder that causes a loss of central vision, Sundeep’s fervour and passion did not die down. Sundeep uses comedy as an outlet to talk about his disability and his experiences of living with partial blindness. His journey is one of highs and lows.
After working as a copywriter at an IT firm for three years, Sundeep switched to stand-up comedy. And there was no looking back. His wit and cheeky humour have won him numerous fans so far.
‘Out of Sight’ in Pune was Sundeep’s first show devoted to vocalising disability and spotlighting rib-tickling jokes about his own inabilities. His latest endeavour that is worth mentioning is a weekly podcast on Spotify, where he hosts conversations with individuals who have lived with disabilities, survived life-threatening illnesses, or coped with other such personal difficulties.
After fulfilling his responsibilities as a Station House Officer in Palasia, Indore, Vinod Dikshit spends about two hours teaching English and Maths to a needy young boy in the locality called Raj.
Deciding not to conduct his classes within the four walls of a room, Vinod made a makeshift classroom in the open-air, with his vehicle’s bonnet serving as a study table. His sessions for Raj takes place under the streetlights, by the roadside, or in front of an ATM.
Raj’s education took a toll when his family was severely hit by the economic fallout of the virus outbreak and lockdowns. His father’s tiffin centre remained shut for over four months in the recent past. When Vinod got to know about this, he decided to step out of his comfort zone and extend a helping hand to Raj.
Novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott recently said that she has given away close to $1.7 billion of her wealth to groups devoted to race, gender, and economic equality, as well as other social causes.
Last year, the ex-wife of Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos had signed the ‘Giving Pledge’ initiative to bestow a majority of her wealth to charities.
Scott kept her word by contributing to over a hundred non-profit organisations, working towards racial and gender equity, public health, economic mobility, and environmental sustainability.
Mumbai-based Migza Shaikh and her husband Faiyaz run Zeal English Medium School in the suburbs of Malad in the city. Recently, the couple waived off its school fees for over 300 students from Class 1 to 10, after some of the students expressed their inability to pay the money, owing to the pandemic.
However, this did not stop them to distribute food to the needy. Migza and Faiyaz noticed that many unemployed individuals are struggling to buy even two square meals a day. And, that was when they decided to pitch in and do their bit for the society.
So far, the couple has distributed food to over 1,800 people by using their personal savings, which they had gathered to build a house.
Edited by Suman Singh