Published: 03rd June 2021
These Mumbai schoolkids are doing online sessions, bake sales to raise Rs 65 lakh to help their bus didis and drivers survive the pandemic
The initial plan was to raise Rs 50 lakh but that seemed like a small amount given that there were 180 workers. The kids then raised money on their own
As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic rages on in India, we have also seen society come together to help those who are in need. The students of the Bombay Scottish School in Mumbai's Mahim, with the help of their parents, have come forward to help the bus drivers and attendants who have taken care of them every day. They have raised more than Rs 62 lakh and aim to raise Rs 65 lakh through crowdfunding platform ImpactGuru which will then be transferred to the workers' accounts. The kids took up the task of fundraising — while some organised online bake sales other conducted dance and gymnastic tutorials to raise the money.
Shanaiya Bharucha, a student of Class 5 organised a free introductory course for gymnastics and urged people to donate as much as they could for the cause and raised Rs 1 lakh. "When my mom told me about the drive to help our school bus drivers and didis, I wanted to help too as they have always been there for us unconditionally — come rain or storm whatever the circumstance," said Shanaiya. "I am very happy that I could raise 1 lakh and help them, as they always make us feel safe and secure to and from school," she added.
The initial plan was to raise Rs 50 lakh but that seemed like a small amount given that there were 180 workers, said Shanaiya's mother, Tanaz. "Even if we got Rs 50 lakh, it would have been Rs 27,000 per person which was nothing for two years. This is when Shanaiya decided to do the class," she added.
Saachi Subudhi, also a student of Class 5, raised Rs 15,000 from a dance fit session that she organised. Her mother, Chanchal, is a professional dancer and owns a dance school in Mumbai. "She had conducted a dance fit class for children and she did very well. When this campaign came up I gave my daughter a choice — I could give her the money or she could raise the money herself. And she said that she wanted to conduct a dance fit session," added Chanchal.
The kids have been taken care of by the attendants for as long as they have been going to school by bus and that creates a bond, said Trupti Perreira or as the kids call them — Bus Didi. Her husband also drives buses for the same company and is deputed to the same school. "It was very heartening to see the kids come up and help. After all these years, they have become like our own," she added.
"The fact is that these kids thought about us. The thought matters. Many grown-ups haven't given us much thought but the kids cared," said Najma Sheikh, who has been working as a bus didi and taking care of kids for years. "The going has got tough but we are managing our expenses somehow," she added.
Mamta Kubal, who works with Najma and Trupti said that even though the schools have been shut since early last year, they have received their salary till August. "But then it became a burden on the bus owner and we did not want to cause stress. At a time like this it's great to hear about what the kids have done for us," she added.