Some communities followed COVID protocols to the dot. Some celebrated festivals virtually and some communities fought off any and every issue that they encountered. Others, like the ones mentioned in this article, had a straightforward objective – to serve their community round the clock. From implementing an extraordinary initiative to help the underprivileged, to saving animals during a pandemic, this Rise High story collection has it all!
Communication, if done effectively, can really make a community’s job easier during a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. When Azven Breathe had its first COVID positive case, the communication around the case was so streamlined that the community was able to sail smoothly through the cases that followed. A COVID response team (CRT) was put in place for each of the team members to take care of one aspect of COVID management, like delivery of groceries and providing timely updates on the health status of a COVID-19 patient. The first person to be tested positive was open and willing to share updates about his and his family’s health when they were in quarantine. This helped the other residents to stay calm about the pandemic and avoided inducing any sort of panic or anxiety within the community.
‘Annadanam’, is the ancient, sacred practice of offering food. The objective being, no human or animal is supposed to sleep hungry. To ensure the continuation of building operations during lockdown, the 26 housekeeping and security staff were provided accommodation in the premises itself. However, thousands of people’s livelihoods were destroyed because of the pandemic including the security and housekeeping staff that work in apartment communities. The Roti Project was an idea conceptualized by a township resident. Under the project, the residents would make rotis everyday and supply them to the underprivileged.
The team was sending out 160-200 rotis daily, apart from 60 for in-house consumption by staff. Beyond the staff, the rotis reached hundreds of people living in Kandivali itself, and neighbouring places like Dahisar, Mira Road, Malad. New volunteers joined the effort, so much so that the 800 rotis sent out on day 1 by the Lokhandwala Township team grew, to cross 2500 rotis at its peak.
Mr. Shriram Yadav, the security supervisor stayed within the society for 3 months of the initial lockdown period along with the other security staff. He not only managed the security of the building but also coordinated the efforts in the society of regular sanitisation, organising and managing of vendors to provide support to residents. He sacrificed on time with his family to ensure that the society was safe during the crisis.
Mr. Deepak Singh, the estate manager was a regular figure in the management of the COVID crisis. He attended to the daily requirements of the community such as water, sanitation and heeded to complaints. He was also responsible for organizing the vendors for daily requirements of the residents. He oversaw the security and housekeeping staff and organized all their meals during the initial 3 months when the security and housekeeping staff was staying within the premises of the society.
Mrs. Sameera Vakil handles the waste management in the community because of which, she is regularly in contact with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). This connection meant regular communication with MCGM officials for COVID too. During the crisis, Mrs. Sameera ensured that segregation of dry and waste continued in the society, as was done in pre-COVID times. This ensured that hundreds of kilos of waste went for recycling instead of landfills. She took charge of COVID sanitation, handling resident patient issues, coordinating with quarantined households, and the like. The situation often demanded that she be on the field, even at odd times. The risk of catching COVID did not stop her from sincerely volunteering and doing what was not even her duty.
We are simply amazed to see so many staff members working round the clock during a crisis like this. These COVID champions took utmost care of their society to ensure that the society is well maintained and cleaned during the crisis. The housekeeping staff, security guards and Mr. Gangawane, who is a staff member worked 24*7 to keep the society functioning as normally as possible. Mr. Gangawane ensured that issues like malfunctioning water pumps or lifts are repaired as immediately as possible. We certainly are inspired by the dedication of these hardworking nominees.
It’s one thing in a pandemic, to care and protect the lives of your fellow humans and a whole other thing to care for another species. You read that right! In a rather peculiar incident, there were two cats in the community that had gotten themselves stuck in a vacant flat. This was witnessed by one of the neighbours who alerted Mr. Lohit and Mr. Basanna. The duo then sprang into action and rescued the cats. To think about the lives of species other than humans, and that too during a pandemic, now this is something that deserves a special shoutout!
That brings us to the end of this Rise High Story Collection. Stay tuned, as we have more moving stories of COVID heroes coming up next. Until then, Rise High!