On 28 June 2020, Deepalaya, one of Delhi’s largest NGOs, received the prestigious World Humanitarian Award in the category of “Excellence in Social Welfare.” The award came as a motivation for Deepalaya’s COVID-relief programs and online classes over the recent lockdown. The award is considered prestigious because the World Humanitarian Drive has obtained more than 1,600 nominations from 35 countries around the globe. The recognition requires a medal and a citation.
With the participation of Chief Guests Fatmir Sejdiu, Former President of Kosovo, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Former Prime Minister of Nepal, Pedro I Altamirano, President of the National Assembly, Andalusia-Spain, and Abdul Basit Syed, Founding Chairman of WHD, the virtual honouring ceremony held in London was broadcast on YouTube. The session was moderated by Robin Marsh, Secretary-General of UPF (UK).
During and after the lockdown, Deepalaya has been distributing free ration to the needy persons. With the help of organisations like the Australian High Commission, Zomato Feeding India, Western Union, Give India and individual donors, it has been able to support 12,850 families with ration and sanitization kits and 2,200 families with money transferred through bank accounts. The distribution was done not only by our staff but also by our community members.
Deepalaya teachers have done a praiseworthy job of virtually taking lessons, roping of parents as facilitators and making sure students remember all the old concepts they had been taught. We’re in regular communication with 7,000 students spread across different locations including Delhi’s urban slums and Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh’s rural backward areas.
Deepalaya started its new initiative ‘Mission Salamati’ to mitigate the crisis and aims to reach more number of families’ in phases by providing dry ration kits. Securing them against food scarcity in the wake of a possible virus outbreak and basic necessity kit as part of immediate relief for a month in the current times arising out of COVD-19.
Regardless of the fact that there is no internet access for the vast majority of our students, lockdown did not prohibit our teachers from teaching our students. It also somewhat mitigated the risk associated with mental health.“The award is of international repute and has boosted the morale of the staff,” says Y. Chackochan, President of Deepalaya.
Taking into consideration the type of risk involved, the entire staff was also trained to protect themselves from COVID. Each week, the teachers are also being trained to help them solve the problems they face in virtual classrooms.
Deepalaya is a 41-year-old NGO set up by seven Keralites with operations in states like Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Telangana. It is led by A.J. Philip as Secretary and Chief Executive and Jaswant Kaur as Executive Director.