The COVID-19 pandemic has put mockers on the entire world. Having dispensed an exceptionally sardonic effect on societies and economies, billionaires to blue-collar workers, the novel corona virus has spared none. The world concomitantly is facing a humanitarian crisis unseen before. In India itself, countless people have been shoved into poverty and hunger owing to the alarming rates of unemployment and the consequent mass exodus. It is in response to these distressing circumstances that social and civic organizations have come to the forefront to support those in need.
One such civic organization is Lakshyam. Founded in the year 2012, Lakshyam primarily works for the empowerment of women and street children through education and employment. Even in the face of a pandemic, this organization is leaving no stones unturned to continue with its pledged mission.
With it's ‘कोरोना से करुणा‘ (Corona to Compassion) campaign, Lakshyam has been tirelessly working to provide ration kits to underprivileged communities.
"When the lock-down was announced our primary concern was to provide food to the communities we were involved with because people comprising our communities were daily wage workers who used their daily incomes to buy food. Since the lock-down rendered them unemployed, their ability to sustain themselves with food was also impeded. We realized this in due time and arranged for the provision of ration. As we moved forward, just within a week we started getting calls from various smaller NGOs from all over India(for assistance and collaboration). This sizable response made us realize that there was an urgent need to expand the food drives beyond our communities.”, shares Rashi Anand, the founder of Lakshyam.
The distribution drives have happened across 9 Indian States. So far 250000 kg of food, 7000 cooked meals and 5000 soaps have been distributed successfully. Overall, Lakshyam has been able to achieve the milestone of impacting more than 85000 families.
But what really sets this organization apart is its novel and multifaceted approach towards upholding and working towards its mission of empowering people.
“During the second round of our ration distribution drive, we started getting calls from the women of the communities we were working with. Since their husbands were out of work, their financial condition had plummeted exponentially. Moreover despite the regular provision of food via our NGO, the demands for essentials like milk and medicines also remained unfulfilled. Providing them money up front was against the protocols of our organization. Therefore we started generating jobs for them. These women knew stitching (owing to the skill training programme operated by Lakshyam), so we started producing washable cotton masks and cloth bags from waste cloth materials keeping in mind the rising demands of masks amidst the pandemic and the alarming usage of poly bags vis-a-vis the food distribution drives.” , said Rashi.
Lakshyam was able to integrate market requirements and philanthropy in a very unique way. The organization has been able to facilitate the creation of about 25000 masks as a part of this endeavor. For each mask or bag, the women were paid Rs. 8-10 apiece and as a result around 300 women have been empowered so far.
This exceptional NGO has also been taking strides towards helping women struggling with domestic violence. Victims from all walks of life who approached Lakshyam were effectively catered to. The organization was all ears to their problems and the in-house counselor was roped in as well. Ultimately, Lakshyam aided these victims by connecting them with the relevant NGOs and the National Commission for Women.
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been very kind to civil society organizations either. Lakshyam too has incurred financial limitations over the past few months.
Over the coming months, Lakshyam plans to launch two new ventures namely, “Travel for Change” and “Fashion for Cause” to ensure sustenance amidst such challenging times. Efforts are also being directed towards instating virtual classes in order to continue providing education to the children they work with.
The novel coronavirus may adversely affect the socio-economic landscape of India but the novel approaches of imminent NGOs like Lakshyam towards the betterment of the society allow the flame of hope to never die.