For the past year, the world has suffered an immeasurable amount of loss. Be it the loss of health, wealth or life. While some countries bounced back after few months, some like India are still struggling to catch a breath. Still, amidst all the bewilderedness, what came to the rescue, were the thousands of NGOs and Relief work programs in every part of the country. From supplying food and dry rations during the first lockdown to seeking and providing oxygen cylinders and hospital beds during the second wave, the NGOs and relief workers have been working religiously day and night.
Among these, is the Glad Bharat Foundation, set up in Gaya, a small town in Bihar. Founded in August of 2019 by Mr. Ahmad Abdullah Shahbazi with an objective of environment protection, Glad Bharat Foundation has over the years added health, education and skill training into their objective. With co-founder Tarique Ahsan and Vishal Kumar and Rashmi Pal as the founding team, Glad Bharat is now working in not just Bihar but in other states as well. In Bihar, they are working in Gaya and Nawada district and as for the other states, they operate in Bhopal, Ghaziabad, North East Delhi, and Mewat.
Voice of Margin got a chance to have a talk with the founder of Glad Bharat Foundation and he filled us up with services they provided during the lockdown in the first wave of the pandemic. He recalled, “Glad Bharat Foundation started an initiative ‘mai bhi samarth hu’ in Loni Ghaziabad to equip daily wage earners, who faced sudden unemployment due to COVID-19 Lockdown, with a source of earning bread by engaging 96 people in mask production activity under initiative ‘mai bhi samarth hu’. Glad Bharat Foundation with ASR distributed 22,000 masks, 700 face shields and 550 PPE approx. produced by these people, among front line warriors like policemen, bank and residential society guards, sanitation workers at Delhi, Ghaziabad, Gaya and Bhopal.”
During the first phase of lockdown, Glad Bharat also collaborated with other NGOs with the objective of delivering food and rations to the needy. Regarding the collaborations, he said, “As the lockdown was announced, we got a tie-up with Robin Hood Army of North Delhi with the kind support of Sahib Chabra and Md. Asad. Glad Bharat Foundation with Robin Hood Army delivered Dry food (Ration) relief to 450 families in the first phase and 300 families in the next phase, with total beneficiaries of 750 families of Loni Ghaziabad and Paharganj Delhi.”
Glad Bharat Foundation Relief work during pandemic
As the second wave of the pandemic broke out in India, Mr. Abdullah and his team started the awareness campaign along with masks distribution in Gaya, Nawada and Bhopal. To help the daily wage earners, Glad Bharat approached Goonj and as an initiative partner of Covid-19 Rahat, they delivered ration to 670 families in Gaya and Nawada. Following this, they started the ANN DAAN campaign at Nawada. For their campaign, they got the support of MLA Vibha Devi and delivered about 30 tons of dry ration in Gaya and Nawada among 2000 families, with each family getting 15kg of ration.
With their numerous campaigns during the pandemic, they have reached out to several missed out communities like the Trans community, daily wage earners, rickshaw pullers, beggars and many more. He also added, “In this lockdown ‘Shikshak Apke Dwar’ is also being carried out by our team member Wasim Raza, for those children who don’t have access to virtual education.”
But this is not where they are going to limit themselves, far from it. They have some very essential long term goals set up to achieve with the next few years. One of their long term goals is to increase the literacy level in Bihar, for which they have plans to set up 50 Pathshalas till March of 2022 with 2 already in running conditions. Mr. Abdullah stated that according to census 2011, Bihar has one of the least rates of literacy and hopes to change that through the long term goal set up by his organization. Their targeted objective to achieve this is to first motivate the children who are not going to school and then educate their guardians and elderly in the panchayat to be able to read and write different pieces of literature like reading the newspapers and being able to understand and sign important documents. Their second long term goal is to set up skill training for livelihood programs with the aim of stopping 70% of labour migration.
Regarding the impact of the pandemic on their work as an NGO, Mr. Abdullah had a very significant insight. He believes that the pandemic has both distanced the NGOs from the Public and brought them closer. Elaborating on his point he said, “If we talk about education, literacy and environment, the pandemic has caused a great gap resulting in us to not being able to work in these sectors and at the same time as this pandemic created a huge unemployment among the daily wage earners, by providing them rations, safety products and more, the gap between the two has significantly decreased.”
While talking about the reward of having found his NGO, Mr. Abdullah recalled a thank you letter that a woman in Mumbai wrote to their NGO after being provided with the ration kit all the way from Bihar. This appreciation and the satisfaction of having helped someone in need is what he believes is the perk in this line of work and gives them the courage to give more and more to the people.
Organizations like Glad Bharat Foundation have been working tirelessly for the upliftment of the marginalized communities in our society. In their endeavour, it is incumbent upon us as a society to help them in achieving their goal in whichever way possible.