With many migrant workers trekking the long way back home, AIM for Seva supporters in Madhya Pradesh are reaching out and helping them.
These Sevaks are Vedanta students of Swami Aishvaryananda Saraswati ji, the coordinator of our hostels in Madhya Pradesh. These Seva warriors are providing food, water, medicine and footwear to migrants who are walking on the Mumbai-Agra highway. “They are in thousands and they are walking back to their villages from Mumbai, Surat, Nashik and Pune,” says Swami Aishvaryananda Saraswati ji.
Among the many stories, Vedanta student Ajay Gupta shares a poignant one. Migrant workers Madhu and Dinesh (who are in their 20s) were provided food, water and other essentials on the Indore bye-pass. They were walking back all the way from Surat in Gujarat to Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, carrying their child, a nine month infant and heavy luggage. A truck driver passing by took pity on the couple and the young one and dropped them off at Kanpur. “It was a heart wrenching sight. At around 2 pm when the heat was at its peak, they got into the truck. And when we helped put their luggage at the back of the truck, we realised how heavy those boxes were. And that is when the enormity of the situation struck us, a young migrant couple walking back home from Gujarat to a village near Allahabad with such heavy luggage and an infant,” recalls Ajay Gupta. Another Sevak from AIM for Seva gave all the cash that he had in his wallet to the young couple. Gupta also took a video and shared it in his social media pages. It created lot of awareness on the plight of the urban poor.
The coordinator and staff at the Swami Dayananda AIM for Seva Chatralayam for Boys, Nagpur, Maharashtra, came forward and donated grocery kits to 148 needy families in the surrounding areas.
Telengana and Andhra Pradesh
The staff at the Swami Dayananda AIM for Seva Chatralayam for Boys, Yadavaram, Telangana, are deeply involved in Covid-19 related work.
The regional coordinator, Sri Raghunandan Rao is leading this effort from the front. As the students are safe back home, Sri. Rao is staying at the hostel, supervising the affairs of the kitchen and ensuring the poor and needy get a mid-day meal every day.
The Annadhanam begins at 11 am everyday and goes till 3 pm and 300 people from the neighbouring area partake in the meal every afternoon. Seeing our efforts, a local donor has come forward and contributed Rs 50,000 towards this cause. Sri. Raghunandan Rao and the other Chatralayam staff will continue to do the afternoon Annadhanam for the poor and needy around the area.
AIM for Seva is also partnering with like-minded organizations in the Annadanam effort. The coordinator and staff of the GVKC AIM for Seva Chatralayam for Boys, Vetapalem, Andhra Pradesh, have allowed a local NGO (non governmental organisation) to use the kitchen facilities at the Chatralayam premises for Annadanam purposes.
The coordinator and staff at the Swami Dayananda AIM for Seva Chatralayam for Girls, Belgaum, Karnataka, have joined hands with the local government officials and distributed groceries to 50 needy families in the area.
Soon after the lockdown was announced, the warden at the Dayasagar AIM for Seva Chatralayam for Boys, Palani, Tamil Nadu, organised meals and distributed food for 50 elderly and poor people living around the area.
A group of AIM for Seva volunteers distributed grocery kits to 200 slum families residing near Tiruvottiyur, Chennai. Many members from these families are casual labourers working in the nearby steel mills and at the Koyambedu fruit and vegetable market.
Similar packets were also delivered at Vadamadurai near Periyapalayam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, by AIM for Seva volunteers a few days back.
AIM for Seva, Chennai also supported Desika Seva Samithi in their relief efforts.
The coordinator from the Dayasagar AIM for Seva Chatralayam for Boys, Kalahandi, Odisha, teamed up with Sri. Chaitanya Sanskrutika Anustan, Malgaon, Kalahandi, Odisha, and distributed relief supplies to the poor and needy in the adjoining areas.
Youth leadership has come to fore at Manjakkudi, Tamil Nadu, the birthplace of Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati. A number of student volunteers from the Swami Dayananda College of Arts & Science, Manjakkudi, Tamil Nadu, are deeply involved in social work.
- C.Subathra (2nd Year BA English) distributed masks to the elderly in her hometown located near Trichy, Tamil Nadu. Her family supported her in this endeavour.
- V.K. Vijay (1st Year, BCom (Banking Management)) and his team feel the best way to beat Covid-19 is via the traditional route. His mates and he sprayed turmeric and neem water in their surrounding neighbourhoods in Tiruvarur, where they all reside.
- Y. Mohamed Ismail (3rd Year BBA) and his team are also proving to be good Sevaks in times like these. They are purchasing medicines and provisions and helping people to make online payments in Srivanjiyam village, Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu.
The student volunteers are ably supported by the staff. Sri. K. Ezhumalai from the Department of English and also the Youth Red Cross Programme Officer has been on a padayatra since 24 March. He has visited over 30 villages so far and has created awareness on Covid-19 through lecture demonstrations on hand washing techniques, social distancing and distributing pamphlets.
Ashrams and Gurukulams
The sadhu and sevak coordinators from the Swami Dayananda Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, and the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Anaikatti, Tamil Nadu, have internalised, ‘Seva Parmo Dharma,’ in true spirit and form.
Both are affiliated organisations of AIM for Seva.
The staff and volunteers at the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Anaikatti, Tamil Nadu, distributed 650 food packets to villagers from 9 villages surrounding the Gurukulam recently.
The Swami Dayananda Ashram at Rishikesh, Uttarakhand is also at the forefront of relief work. Led by Swami Divyananda Saraswati ji, the Ashram team is giving a helping hand to countless migrant workers in the north Indian belt who are stranded on the highways and interiors without money nor food on account of the lockdown. Swamiji and his team are helping by providing food and lodging by erecting tents and pandals for these workers.
Annadanam is a regular feature at Ashram and 600 packets are being distributed during Annadanam. Since its inception in March 1964, the Swami Dayananda Ashram is known for its bhandaras, where food is cooked and collectively offered to many sadhus.