Survivors Turning Saviours: An Inspiring Story from Uttarakhand
Sachin Upadhyay, a Covid survivor and social entrepreneur in Dehradun is helping 200 villages fight the Covid-19 pandemic – he is saving lives and building a recovery plan.
Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India], June 9: Sachin describes the two weeks as a Covid patient the worst of his life – the isolation, loss of physical strength, constant inflow of distressing news of illness and deaths – he believes it is somewhat of a miracle that he came off the disease without any complication.
While the first wave of Covid-19 last year had a very limited impact on the hilly state of Uttarakhand, this year has been quite deadly. Not only has the virus reached the cities of Uttarakhand, but it is also infecting people living in villages, including young children.
As the pandemic tightened its grip on the state in late April, Sachin recalls receiving numerous calls from the people in his village, pleading for access to hospitals, beds, and doctors. Despite being affected himself, he reports transporting almost 60 people from the village to Dehradun and ensuring that they get the medical attention required. He is happy about the lives he could save but deeply saddened about the helplessness and lack of medical facilities in hilly villages.
As Sachin recovered from the virus, he was clear about what his next mission was –to bring relief to the village folks in Tehri – from where he hails and continues to focus his social upliftment efforts through this organization, The World Integrity Foundation (TWIF). He consulted with various doctors and discovered that if villagers get timely access to a doctor and primary Covid-19 medication, it could prevent emergencies and the need for high-level care. It was then he says that he developed a roadmap with TWIF’s chief coordinator Mayank Dhyani – the mission was to distribute 50,000 medical kits in villages, and ultimately benefit 1,00,000 people with these and other relief efforts, including food supplies and other medical relief.
To initiate these efforts, TWIF started identifying the source of medicines, and initiated crowdfunding efforts – the first batch of 1000 kits they distributed in the villages was gratefully received and appreciated. While on their distribution drive, they also got deeper insights into the community’s needs and their magnitude – there was a huge need for medicines, face masks, oximeters, thermometers, and flow meters. They stepped up their fundraising efforts and mobilized their networks for support. “We identified over 200 villages, two municipal corporations (Tehri & Chamba) to distribute medical kits and built a strong network of volunteers – employees of the Duck Store who are helping us pack the kits; and across villages who are helping us with the distribution,” mentions Upadhaya (President, TWIF). “We have distributed 40,000 medical kits and dry ration packets. We are trying to source as many relevant supplies as possible including vaporizers and oxygen concentrators and have expanded our distribution drive to include parts of Dehradun and Uttarakashi based on their needs.”
The medical kits include primary medicines like paracetamol, azithromycin, ivermectin, and vitamin C and zinc supplements. They also include a handout with a description of the medicines and the recommended protocol, Sachin’s own number for further assistance, and phone numbers of four doctors who have volunteered to do free of cost telephonic consultation under this initiative.
TWIF especially acknowledges the generous support of Dr. Syed Farooq (President, Himalaya Drug Company) and Mr. Deepak Yadav (MD, Duck Store); and contributions from Dr. S C Saxena, Dr. Mahender Rana, Dr. Chinmay Panday, Mr. Daksh Khulbe, Mr. Balkishan Rathi and a few others who prefer to remain anonymous.
Sachin Upadhyay can easily be identified as a person who is not deterred, but rather strengthened by a crisis. He is now focused on building a recovery plan for the thousands of migrant workers who were forced to return home due to the pandemic – skill-building and identifying and creating employment opportunities for them are next on his agenda. However, his will to help the people of his state and especially those living in the hilly villages of Tehri is not new.
He co-founded The World Integrity Foundation in 2013 – a Dehradun-based registered charitable trust & social welfare organisation. Since then, they have undertaken numerous relief efforts – last year during the first wave of the pandemic, TWIF provided dry ration packets to more than 4,000 people and served home-cooked food to over 2,000 frontline workers every day for two months.
“I believe I am a son of the soil. I feel deeply rooted in my people and am deeply affected by the neglect that my state suffers. Covid-19 is an unprecedented crisis, but I believe we are now better prepared to support our people and children and that is a hugely satisfying feeling”, says Sachin as he urges Uttarakhandi-s from across the world to come forward and extend help to TWIF’s mission of saving precious lives and rebuilding livelihoods in the hilly villages of Uttarakhand.
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