The onset of the Covid pandemic and imposition of severest lockdowns across the country unleashed unprecedented difficulties to the common people resulting in loss of livelihood and employment/income of the vulnerable people. The households at the bottom of the pyramid were the hardest hit with the long march of migrants back home being the most visible face of the pandemic. Millions were pushed below the poverty line and myriad people were suffering from hunger. It brought immense miseries to the marginalised sections who were struggling for survival impacting their efforts to earn a living. The socio-economic impacts and health outcomes were colossal which increased the marginalisation of the already vulnerable population.
Deeply influenced by the plight of the vulnerable and marginalised people sufferings in the pandemic, the Foundation has been the forerunner in providing relief and basic necessities to ameliorate their miseries. The holistic approach includes collaborating with State Government and local self-government institutions, utilising our existing infrastructure for setting up quarantine facilities and dedicated Covid Hospitals, distribution of Covid appropriate hygiene products, harnessing technology and innovation for sustainable solutions, and providing relief to homeless, stranded migrants, slum dwellers, daily earners, transgenders, beggars, frontline workers, beggars and animals on the street who were hardest hit by the crisis are some of the measures undertaken to mitigate the sufferings. Social service and uplifting the bottom households have always been our priority agenda since the inspiration of the Foundation. However, the relief measures constitute a drop in the vast ocean. Some initiatives in a nutshell are as follows-
- Through Project Uday’, a massive awareness campaign launched on social distancing, proper use of mask, hand washing and respiratory hygiene in six aspirational districts of Odisha: Rayagada, Malkangiri, Koraput, Kandhamal, Balangir, and Gajapati. More than 500 volunteers are involved in the project covering 220 villages
- Creating awareness and dissemination of covid related information like social distancing, washing hands and respiratory hygiene were widely publicized by KISS students in their respective districts
- Textbooks, study materials and dry food packets were delivered to 30000 students at their doorsteps to 30 districts of the state to save the children from hunger and continue education
- Provides free education at KISS to the children of the Covid deceased parents in Odisha. covering two academic years: 2020-21 and 2021-22 which was widely lauded as a noble humanitarian gesture
- As one of the large community intervention, distribution of food materials and other essentials were undertaken to over 3 lakh pandemic-hit people, mostly the disadvantaged people living in various slums, stranded migrant labourers, along with temporary shelter, and people living in containment zones
- Other prominent community outreach activities include the provision of one month supply to the Tibetan population in Chandragiri and Padmasambhava Monastery in Jiranga, a Tibetan settlement area in Eastern Odisha; and adoption of two old age homes in Chandragiri. KIMS supported the hospital at Jiranga and provided PPE to the health workers
- KISS worked closely with the American Embassy in the evacuation of personnel stuck in Odisha and other adjoining areas. It also distributed a large number of feminine hygiene products to women and girls in all the districts of Odisha
- KIIT & KISS extended a helping hand to the red light areas in Bhubaneswar. Providing the needy Groceries and other essentials KIIT, KISS, Sakha and Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives came together to distribute ration and essential items for the transgender community in Bhubaneswar, Rayagada and a few other districts of Odisha
- Cooked foods were delivered directly to home to the needy and disadvantaged people in 15 districts of Odisha during the lockdown period
- Looking beyond the windows initiative was made to deliver cooked food to police personnel on duty, who was diligently enforcing the lockdown in Bhubaneswar, Puri and Cuttack. Sourcing and distribution of fruits, vegetables, biscuits and other food materials to animals like monkeys, cattle and dogs, in and around the campus and providing financial assistance to more than 10 ‘Goshalas’ in Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. were a novel experience.