By Aashish Mishra
Kathmandu, June 16: The lockdown, in its most restrictive form, lasted for more than two months and this hit people hard. Many workers, especially daily-wage earners, lost their source of livelihood and could be seen suffering in the streets of Kathmandu.
This was unbearable for a group of more than 30 youths from Sundar Tole, Jorpati, who took it upon themselves to feed the poor and underprivileged groups in their area. At their peak, they were feeding more than 900 people daily. The Rising Nepal (TRN) also covered their endeavour in a news report published on April 25.
After the news, the group was contacted by Puja Thapa, a neuroscience graduate living in Australia, who helped them raise some money through crowdfunding. The cooperation they received from the community members also increased to some extent.
Since April, the group has also expanded their coordination with the local government and representatives and persons like Mayor of Gokarneshwor Municipality Santosh Chalise, ward 5 Chairman Narayan Bahadur Subedi, ward 6 Chairman Ramesh Aryal, ward 8 Chairman Manoj Kumar Dhungana, ward 9 Chairman Rajiv Thapa, Gokarneshwor Municipality COVID-19 Volunteer Mobilisation Committee Coordinator Dipak Lama, Member of Nepali Congress General Committee Bimal Thakuri and social worker Shambhu Prasad Adhikari who have participated in the group’s food distribution programmes.
According to Sonu Shah, a member of the Sundar Tole group, they distributed food to the needy from April 5 to May 7, after which the municipality asked them to stop because of the increased risk of COVID-19. “But since then, we have been involved in other activities like raising awareness among the community about the symptoms of COVID-19 and the precautions to take against it and blood donation campaigns,” he said. Shah also informed that most members of the group were volunteering with Gokarneshwor Municipality to assist in the government’s efforts in tackling the coronavirus outbreak.
With the lockdown gradually being lifted, Shah informed that the group was now looking to shift its focus towards larger social issues. “We recently held a socially-distanced gathering to raise our voice against the killing of Nawaraj BK and his friends in Rukum West and we also celebrated the inclusion of the territories of Lipulek, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani in our map and national emblem.”
The Rising Nepal news and the group’s active presence on social media have helped promote its activities and, in Shah’s words, inspired others to undertake similar campaigns in their areas as well. “We thank TRN for giving space to our activities and helping us reach a wider audience,” Shah expressed his gratitude.