Peerzada Aaqib, 29, was sitting at home when he saw a tweet made by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Mayor Junaid Mattu that some quarantined female students who returned from abroad were in desperate need of sanitary napkins. As panicked shoppers have cleared their store shelves of sanitary products, Aaqibfelt an urgent need to step forward and extend his helping hand to those in need.
“Stigma stops women who menstruate from asking for period products. As we are practising social distancing, it was even more difficult to provide pads to those in need of them,” said Aaqib, who is CEO of ‘Kashmir’s Own Padman’. His company is manufacturing organic and eco-friendly sanitary pads to promote safety alongside the menstrual hygiene among women.
“With the help of Junaid I managed to deliver 700 boxes of sanitary pads to all the quarantine facilities housing female students,” he said.
He has also kept his mini-truck available for sanitization and sterilization. He said the fight against coronavirus is a shared responsibility and everyone has to play due role in tackling the contagion. “All of us have to cooperate in an optimum manner and every person needs to take all necessary precautions and exercise individual and collective responsibility in this fight against the coronavirus,” he said.
SMC Mayor Junaid Mattu has expressed his gratitude to him. “A total of 700 boxes of sanitary pads are being delivered to all quarantine facilities housing female students free of cost – as promised. Thank You to Mr. Aqib from Sehafor prompt volunteer action,” the Mayor posted on Twitter.
Abdul Hameed Bhat, a prominent businessman in the Valley, has decided to donate Rs 10 lakh to help strengthen the medical sector and also kept an ambulance available for the patients.
He has also made his generator available for any quarantine centre with free of cost. “I am not only a businessman but also a responsible citizen. I appeal to our business community to come forward and help people in these tough times,” he said.
Similarly, Gulshan Books Kashmir, a publishing house in Srinagar, has donated 1,000 books to various quarantine centres. “We really feel happy that we have donated 1000 books for those who have been kept in quarantine centres,” its owner Sheikh Aijaz Ahmad said.
Amid this crisis NGOs and other organizations are also helping out people in distress times.
Help Poor Trust, an NGO, is helping people who cannot afford their medicines and provide them medical assistance.
“The patient inflow is seen less in the hospital due to the Covid-19 but we are available round the clock for people who need any kind of medical assistance,” said M Ali Lone, founding member of the Trust.
Faith, a Psycho-Social and Rehabilitation Centre in Ganderbal district, has decided to distribute daily ration (rice, flour, cooking oil, salt) and provide financial help and free transport facility to the people in need.
Sayim Mustafa, Chairman of Faith organisation,said people can also come to his office to receive food packages as per their requirement. “I request people to come forward and help us find people in need so that we can help them without any delay,” he said.
Bashir Nadwi, one of the members of Athrot, an NGO, said, “There has been a shortage of face masks in the market. We have a target of manufacturing one lakh face masks for free distribution in Srinagar.”
Kashmir Education Initiative (KEI) is USA based non-profit, a non-political, non-religious organization that works for access to quality education for students in Kashmir.
“We have made the content available in pen drives which include recorded videos of lecturers, academic books, novels, worksheets and BYJU’S software. This content is available free to every student and they can make good use of it while sitting at home,” said one of the board members of KEI.
Several hoteliers have also kept their hotels available for those who are to be quarantined with free of cost.
“Tiger Zinda Hai. Lets clap for Mr Irshad (owner of Shah Abbas Hotel) who came all the way to offer keys of his hotel to help us,” tweeted District Development Commissioner of Srinagar,Shahid Chowdhary. Irshad has kept his hotel available for those who are quarantined free of cost.
In another Tweet, Chowdhary wrote, “Tiger zinda hai II: Friend Mr Suhail Bukhari just handed over keys of his luxurious 48 bedded hotel for putting in any use.”
Mutahida Majlis-e-Ulema, an amalgam of various religious bodies in Kashmir and Anjuman-e-Auqaaf Jamia Masjid, has urged people across Kashmir to form mohallacommittees and to collect Baitul Mall (charity) for helping poor and destitute in the present challenging times.