Lending a helping hand

Conscious Effort

Lending a helping hand

The haunting images of the floods that affected the people and pilgrims at Uttarakhand are still fresh in everyone’s mind. And like most across the country, many in Bangalore helplessly watched the tragedy taking place. Many schools and colleges in the City didn’t think twice and woke up to the need of the hour to accumulate relief materials and funds for the affected people.

Letters were sent to parents and students and items like food grain, blankets, matchboxes, candles, medicines etc were ceremoniously packed and dutifully handed over to NGOs tied up with the institutions.

The work has not stopped even now. Keeping in mind the continuing rains and a forecast of heavier showers over the next few days, there are many questions that arise, like how far are the relief materials really helpful? Will materials like food grains, clothes and even other dry food items help?

Many colleges are undeterred by the fresh bout of rains. They believe that the materials collected will still come in handy and it’s the duty of every citizen to help those in need.

St Joseph’s College of Arts and Science recently collected 30 boxes of food and other relief materials from the students and dropped it off at the collection centre of ‘Goonj’. D Kiran Jeevan, coordinator, postgraduate department of social work at St Joseph’s College of Arts and Science, says that it’s never too late to help people out.

“There are still so many people there who can make use of the materials. And as a humanitarian gesture, we too wanted to do something about it and help those who are still  there at the shelters. So instead of money, we felt that dry food, sanitary items and blankets would help. Since these are packed properly, it won’t get spoilt,” he says.

 One of the first schools to start raising funds in the City for the tragedy was Delhi Public School. Manju Balasubramanyam, the principal of Delhi Public School, North, says, “As a school, we have always supported many causes and we do as much as we can to help those in need at such testing times. This is more dear to us as we have teachers whose families have also been stranded there. We sent close to four tons of food grain and Rs 1,20,000 in cash for the relief work. All of this was done within the first few days of the floods. We also ensured that the items were flown in so that they wouldn’t get spoilt.”

Chandan, the co-ordinator of ‘Goonj’, Bangalore, says that the response from the schools and colleges in the City has been a positive one. “When it comes to sending relief materials, the main concern is the transportation. It takes close to four days to reach the affected areas. But the dry food, medicines and other materials are carefully packed and won’t get spoilt,” he says.

When asked if sending money would have been more feasible than the relief materials, Chandan says, “Financial support is any day more feasible as it saves transportation cost. But one cannot force everyone to send contributions in terms of money. But that doesn’t mean the relief materials will not help. There is still so much work and the people there need these items as it will take at least two to three months for things to settle down a bit.”  

Many of the students too believe that sending across relief materials is safer than money. Namratha, a third-year degree student of St Joseph’s College of Arts and Science, says that when she went around asking for funds, one question that came to everyone’s mind was if the material would really reach the affected people.

 “This issue was raised by many students. That doubt will always be there, but one must have trust and faith. We are sending them through a reputed organisation, so we needn’t worry,” she adds.

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