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From a gurudwara in Kolkata to the Dawoodi Bohra community kitchen, religious organizations and welfare trusts are rising above polarization and coming together to help those in need during the pandemic


By Lounge team


On the mainstream and social media, communalism has threatened to take centre-stage in the covid-19 narrative. While some people on our screens may be discriminating against the Muslim community since the Tablighi Jamaat congregation before the lockdown, a section of citizens and religious organizations on the ground are unmoved by petty hate. Lounge takes a look at some religious communities and organizations working to help the worst affected during this difficult time.

Cooking for a community

Members of the Dawoodi Bohra community in India have been distributing food and medicines to people affected by the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, religion no bar. In several cities across Maharashtra and Gujarat—where the community has a sizeable presence—the members have taken it upon themselves to distribute food packets to people living in slums and other underprivileged areas every day. In Nashik, it has tied up with the local administration for doorstep delivery of medicines to senior citizens and those with disabilities. In Pune, it has also set up helplines for people to call and get food and medicines delivered to their place.

For more information visit thedawoodibohras.com

Coming together for covid-19

The Powai Bengali Welfare Association has been working on various social initiatives for the last 15 years—be it women's welfare or feeding the underprivileged in Mumbai—but of late, they have worked quickly to divert their attention and resources to help those affected by covid-19. Sourav. Mitra, chairperson of the association, has used the funds set aside for this year’s Durga Puja celebrations to provide food for the disaster management team at mantralatya and frontline doctors of JJ and Cama Hospitals. The association has tied up with an NGO in the city to execute the distribution, and are now looking to contribute even more money and effort into covid-19 relief and support work.

For more information call Sourav Mitra on 9821231555

Tibetan Buddhists pitch in

Even as it deals with positive cases among its own, the Tibetan community in India has contributed to relief work and fundraising. Tashi Lhunpo, a monastery in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, donated Rs1.5 lakh to the PM Cares Fund and Rs1 lakh to the state CM relief fund. The monastery also distributed a month’s worth of rations to poorer households and members of the police force in the district. In Dehradun, the Tibetan community distributed essential items and masks, as well as rations. The monasteries and Buddhist institutions in the city collected Rs28 lakh for covid-19 relief. The Kagyupa International Monlam Trust distributed dry ration to 1000 people in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, and made donations of Rs5 lakh each to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and the PM Cares Fund. The Central Tibetan Administration, also known as the Tibetan Government in Exile, contributed Rs3 lakh to the Kangra covid-19 relief fund.

Solidarity from the Sikh community

“Our pledge is to not let anyone in Kolkata go hungry during the lockdown," says Satnam Singh Ahluwalia, general secretary, Gurudwara Behala. Together with the Indian Humanity Assistance Foundation, which Ahluwalia is the chairman of, and the Kolkata Response Group, the gurudwara committee members have been cooking langar for those in need for the past 20 days. “We were approached by the nodal officer of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. They have created temporary quarantines and shelters for rag pickers, beggars and women and children living on the street. We cook meals for them," he says. The team has been cooking 3,500 meals a day. It has also created four mobile units, which distribute dry rations, medicines, baby food, and more, to slums, daily wage workers and migrant labour in the city.

For more information call their helpline number on 18003138100

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