This is when two young sisters from Bengaluru, Dhriti Arya, 15, and Dhiksha Arya, 11, decided to step forward and make a difference.
For Dhriti, animals and community service have always been very close to her heart. During the lockdown, when a cat landed up at her doorstep on the fifth floor at 11 o'clock in the night meowing for food, she realised that there could be many more stray animals left with nothing to eat. Soon that thought developed in an idea and she started researching and reading online to realise that people are abandoning their pets due to the fear of COVID-19 infection.
She learned from her father and from news about homeless and migrant workers who were stranded away from their homes with no shelter or food. That's when it struck her that she and her sister can make a difference during this current crisis with the help of her family and created "LightUpLives". It is a student initiative that aims to help the animals and people by raising funds for their necessities. Their motto is "each one of us is capable of contributing in a small manner and every rupee counts".
With a young mind but fierceness in with her goals and planning, she contacted and onboarded three organisations - The Karnataka Jesuit Educational Society that helped procure grocery kits to people, Aarogya Seva that helped distribute Hygiene Kits & Sanitary Napkins and WAHTS (We Are Here To Serve) Foundation that works with various individuals and organizations to feed the strays, including cattle.
To support her noble initiative, Dr Dheeraj Kashyap (Vetenary) helped with an ambulance for animal rescue.
Through the support of friends, family and well-wishers, she has been able to raise Rs 1 lakh till date and has used this amount towards distributing Grocery kits for the Gola Basava community and orphanages, Hygiene kits to the children in three slums and sanitary napkins to the young girls and women with the help of ASHA health workers through the Primary Health Centres.
In Dhriti's words: "I knew I wanted to make a difference and while the initial steps are always challenging, my goal was larger than that. I realized people wanted to support and are looking for trustworthy and reliable organisations, which are transparent and make a difference."
The younger sibling, Dhiksha loves ballet and baking. She started baking cupcakes for people to bring a smile on their faces. Her motto was "make and give whatever you can with whatever you have" as it is the effort that matters.
She says: "No contribution or effort is small, if everyone can come together it will make a difference in millions of lives and build a more equitable world."
(Puja Gupta can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)