As coronavirus cases continue to spiral in India and hospitals are stretched beyond breaking point, an alumni group of Darul Uloom Madrasa in Deoband in Uttar Pradesh has been working around the clock to help COVID-19 patients and fighting fake news and misinformation about the disease and its treatment.
“Our motive was to reach out to as many people as we could and guide them with proper guidelines and safety measurements,” Mehdi Hasan, the president of Deoband Alumni Federation told Maktoob.
Qasmi said his group already started to help people during the first wave of COVID-19 by providing over 2 lakhs of ration kits and meals to students, farmers and labours from community kitchen.
“We formed a team of over 500 people in the first wave and helped as many people as we could but the second wave was different, critical and very difficult for all of us and we didn’t have so many alumni’s to work but we knew we had to find a way out and help people anyhow,” says Hasan.
When the coronavirus cases started rising in Deoband and a frantic search for resources left people helpless, Hasan and other volunteers launched the new COVID-19 help desk on 25 April this year in collaboration with Jamia Tibbiya Medical College and an NGO United For Humanity.
“Since the wave 2 was way more difficult and we had to go beyond providing just meals and rations kits, we started arranging oxygen cylinders, remdesiver injections, hospital beds and other medical aids,” Hasan said to Maktoob.
He also claimed that the group bought around 30 jumbo oxygen cylinders and travelled approximately 50kms daily after the night prayer in the month of Ramadan to get them refilled.
“We are a group of over 250 people on WhatsApp and it’s so good to see people joining hands with us with different beliefs, religions and groups for one cause ‘Humanity’,” says Mehdi Hasan.
Hasan also told this reporter that so far 150 COVID-19 affected people have been hospitalized by the group and they personally go and check in case of any financial help to the family and the patient.
Abna E Madaris Welfare Educational Trust has provided over 2000 oxygen cylinders and a total of Rs 8 lakhs have been spent on the ration kits, financial aids, medical aids and injections by the group.
“The helpdesk with the help of Doctor Anwar Saeed, Secretary of Jamia Tibbiya Medical College Deoband, Qasim Usmani, Chairman of United For Humanity, Muneed Ahmad of Student Islamic Organization of India (SIO), activists Vishal Narang, Samuel and many others, has successfully covered the cities – Saharanpur, Meerut, Shamli and Muzaffarnagar,” Hasan added.
Erina is a postgraduate student of journalism and an independent journalist based in Delhi. She hails from Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh.