New Delhi, January 12, 2021: Wishes and Blessings has revamped its Winter Relief Project due to the pandemic, and has also increased the project’s reach in order to provide winter relief to those who are suffering the most. Keeping in mind those who have been most affected by the COVID-19 crisis, the NGO has expanded the project’s geographical base beyond Delhi and NCR in order to distribute winter relief in the form of blankets to the elderly abandoned in hamlets and villages around the city of Guskhara including Desai, Noorgram, Jorgore, Sibda, Nuta, Baritulla, Rasoi, Latertulla, Cetantulla and Ausgram (West Bengal) as well as slums and bastis in Baradwari, Janta Basti, Gorgora and Turiya Bera (Jharkhand).
Phase I of the Winter Drives was launched in December 2014 and since then the NGO has been distributing winter relief to underprivileged children, women, men and elderly under their initiative 10Fridays~10Drives. In 2020-2021, however, keeping in mind the need to observe safety and health precautions, the 10Fridays~10Drives Project has been revamped and is now 5Weeks~5MegaDrives.
The Winter Relief Project is designed to reach out to homeless and underprivileged people, to ensure that at least some of them are well-protected from the harsh winter that takes place each year. The NGO launched Phase VII of the Winter Drives on December 14, 2020, and will be conducting FIVE distribution drives until January 15, 2021. The NGO will be distributing caps, socks, gloves, blankets, and mufflers, reaching out to 500 beneficiaries in each drive. The NGO ensures that only the needy receive the items. Due diligence is carried out before each drive.
Commenting on the expansion, Dr Geetanjali Chopra, Founder and President, Wishes and Blessings said, “Winters present some of the worst circumstances that the underprivileged and homeless have to face, and the abandoned elderly face even further problems due to their particular requirements as aged people. I am grateful to our supporters who have helped us in this expansion to villages and rural areas of Jharkhand and West Bengal so that we may spread warmth to the neglected homeless elders in these areas, and make winter more comfortable for them.”
Barkha Hazarika, Outreach Officer, Wishes and Blessings, commented on her experience of distributing relief saying, “With the advent of winter, the situation on the ground has worsened. There are many people who have been moving around barefoot with no winter clothes or protective covering to keep the cold at bay. I feel blessed to be a part of this initiative to serve the poor to the best of my abilities, and help them keep warm during the drop in temperature.”
The distribution of the blankets took place from January 8-10, 2021. They were provided to 200 beneficiaries in West Bengal, 100 beneficiaries in Jharkhand and 200 beneficiaries in Delhi.
Jaya, one of the beneficiaries, a resident of Noorgram, West Bengal, said, “My husband and I live in a basti which does not offer protection from the rain and the cold. The blankets we have received will help us keep warm, and will protect us from the cold wind and low temperatures. At least now we will not have to suffer this winter. I am very grateful to all the people who have helped us.”
Shankar, a beneficiary from Baradwari, Jharkhand said, “I live all alone and have no one to care for me. I am too old to work and have no money to buy sweaters and warm clothing. With this blanket, I can at least sleep peacefully in the night, and my body will no longer be in pain.”
Mustakh, a beneficiary from Israel Camp, New Delhi, said, “There are lots of people over here who don’t even have proper clothes to wear, let alone having warm clothes to protect themselves in the winter. The blankets we get today have given so much happiness to all over here. On behalf of everyone at the basti, I give thanks to the organisation and everyone who has helped us.