The ascending mortality rate of India’s horrific second wave of COVID-19 has left many overwhelmed. The mounting dead bodies are not only a reason for overworked crematorium workers but also push the extremes of an already sensitive situation. While the loud mournings of the grieving families did catch the attention of the masses, the silent tears of many unsung crematorium workers failed to ring a bell for the majority.
While they are termed as front-line workers on paper, these workers have strongly suggested that they remain unseen. The question still remains, will they be given equal status and protection like the others?
“In a world where you can be anything, choose to be kind.”
A really hopeful initiative that goes by the name ‘The Good Food Project’ has been providing meals and other essential items to crematorium workers. Created by management consultant Nandini Ghosh and Shray Gupta, the crowdfunded initiative has been distributing meals since the 4th of May, 2021.
The Good Food Project is a collaborative effort by a group of corporate professionals who got together to raise funds and work for the cause. The team was able to raise over 15 lakh rupees in 48 hours. As reported there were people from the Indian diaspora from places like Dubai, Boston, Toronto, who contributed towards the cause.
The distribution model works in two shifts that are lunch and dinner. The meals include rot-sabji/ Khichdi/ Rajma Chawal/ Kadhi Chawal. They try to include a sweet or a salad.
Initiated in Delhi they are now trying out similar initiatives in other cities.
“There were reports of crematorium workers not receiving meals and working in very bad conditions. While there are so many organisations who are doing so much for people who are living alone, or healthcare workers, or those who are Covid-positive, etc – there wasn’t much being done for crematorium and qabristan workers,” Ghosh said in an interview.
The team also raised a petition for the inclusion of crematorium workers in the frontline or essential workers list by the Government of India. The petition was closed after the recent supreme court affidavit.
On Sunday, their dedicated team of volunteers visited 23 crematoriums and delivered 800+ meal packages and essential items like masks, ORS and more.
The project has dedicated teams who run logistics, operations and social media accounts. They are on the lookout for volunteers, so if you think you can contribute, reach out to them!