mid-day turns 41: Because, the show must go on
Artistes from the entertainment fraternity hit by loss of livelihood find support from digital ninjas with ration kits
Co-founder, Artists for Artists
The guitarist started the project with fellow artistes using Instagram after a musician attempted suicide to escape hunger
A near tragedy was averted in April, a little while after the lockdown began. A musician from Mumbai unsuccessfully attempted suicide. His friends later learnt that it was due to hunger, after the lockdown robbed him of his livelihood. The friends jumped to action and formed a group they called Artists for Artists. The idea was to provide needy creative professionals with a ration kit that includes essentials like rice, atta, dal, tea, sugar and oil. They took to Instagram, starting a page called @a4amumbai, to raise awareness about their work because they needed all the hands they could get on deck. "We began by putting up videos of volunteers who were rallying together to help, and the word started getting out. People started to re-share the posts and we also had celebrities like [composer] Vishal Dadlani put up a video in support, which [playback singer] Neha Kakkar shared," says guitarist Jobin David, co-founder.
An in-house team built a website that listed details of how anyone who cared could lend a hand, and offered a ready reckoner of the contributions they had managed to gather. David says they have distributed 2,038 kits and continue to offer assistance via a helpline that receives close to 4,000 calls a day.
The kits are sourced from wholesalers at a subsidised price of '700, before a network of volunteers reaches them to those who've got in touch with the group via social media for assistance. Quality is not compromised. David says, "People have told us that they appreciate that we aren't just helping them during their time of need, but also ensuring that the ration we give is of good standard. The coordination with volunteers is critical, since they help us with transport and navigation. The idea is to bring forth the spirit of volunteering that exists within the artistic community. It has been great to see the selfless acts."
The plan going forward, David shares, is to take their efforts in the direction of healthcare. They hope to provide medical attention to those who need it. He speaks of an artiste who was offered assistance during pregnancy. There is a lot of work to be done, believes David, pandemic or no pandemic.
The idea is to bring forth the spirit of volunteering that exists within the artistic community. It has been great to see the selfless acts
Log on to artistsforartists.in; @a4mumbai, Instagram, Facebook
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