Published: 24th April 2020
How Warangal's Santhosh Manduva has been helping everyone from migrant labourers to frontline workers
Sulakshya Seva Samithi was started by Santhosh Manduva, a 33-year-old with a passion for social service. This is how the founder is stepping up his game to help out every one during the lockdown
During the first few days of the lockdown, Santhosh Manduva concentrated on catching up with movies, inspirational videos and such. But his inner voice wouldn't let him rest. The founder of Warangal-based Sulakshya Seva Samithi, an NGO he started back in 2013, couldn't help but think how he should be working for the needy instead. He had started the organisation to provide education for all, protect the environment, empowering the youth and healthcare. 'This is the time to step up instead of sitting back,' his inner voice implored.
To pacify the voice, he called up Oasis Orphanage, asked them what they needed, procured all the grocery products and delivered it to them. But his inner voice was not satisfied. ‘Everyone works during normal times, what is the point of starting an NGO if you can't help during testing times?’ The same inner voice that pushed him to adopt government schools, organise camps, plant and nurture saplings, empower the youth through seminars and help old age homes was now pushing him to do more for the people of his city.
So, he did.
Santhosh Manduva | (Pic: Sulakshya Seva Samithi)
A dry ration kit consists of 10 kg rice, one kg toor dal, one litre oil, two kg onion, two kg potato, one kg salt, 250 gram tamarind, 100 gm chilli powder, 100 gm turmeric powder, one kg upma rava, two Dettol soaps, hand sanitiser, hand wash and disinfectant liquid. Santhosh is distributing this kit to the needy and for frontline workers, they are distributing a SafeEnergy kit. The SafeEnergy kit includes peanut jaggery bar, orange fruits (immunity boosters), Good Day biscuits, badam milk (instant energisers), face masks and sanitisers. Because they already have an established network, they found out through them about the needy, but they received many surprise references as well. "When I went to distribute the kit to zookeepers at Kakatiya Zoological Park, they informed me about the needy Deendayal Nagar slum," says the youngster who lost his father when he was in class VII. They have also distributed kits to slum dwellers, nomadic tribes, migrant workers, Asha workers and many more.
We wonder where they are sourcing sanitisers from when there is a huge dearth of them. That's when he informs us that just like Hasini, Genelia D'Souza's character in the movie Bommarillu, he loves connecting with people. This is the way he was able to increase his network. Similarly, it is by connecting with store owners and acquainting them with his cause that he convinces them to keep a certain number of sanitisers for him. "Now, as soon as new stock arrives, they don't just inform me about it, but they also tell me that they have kept a few aside for me," he says with a smile. He also keeps them, and all other donors, informed about their progress through WhatsApp, which helps them connect even more. Talking about donors, Santhosh informs us that they have never initiated a fundraiser. They have a closed WhatsApp group where they share updates regularly and that's where the funds come from. Along with this, "I share pictures and information about all the activities that we do through social media. If people come forward from there, we accept those too," shares the youngster who is grateful to all those donors who have made the distribution possible.
Santhosh after distribution | (Pic: Sulakshya Seva Samithi)
We must keep working
Sulakshya Seva Samithi has distributed 300 kits and as many as 1,500 sanitisers to date. They even tweak their kits, like giving atta instead of tamarind to migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and giving snacks like chips and so on in orphanages. It is just Santhosh along with one or two other volunteers who are distributing the kits every day. "My family had warned me against putting myself at risk, but I need to do my duty," says Santhosh who has had a chance to meet Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, his inspiration, back in 2013. "The prime focus is that we want to benefit all those who aren't able to avail the benefits being offered by the government," he says and concludes.
More glimpses from the distribution
For more on them, check out sulakshya.org