Lakhi Muni, a tribal woman, now doesn’t need to worry about arranging milk daily to feed her six-month-old daughter Nandini. Muni, who lives in a tribal belt in Sindurpur village near Dhanbad, was unable to breastfeed her daughter owing to burn injuries.
Four years ago in a kitchen accident she burnt the upper half of her body. Muni survived with treatment, however, her breasts, face and neck were severely burned.
When she delivered a baby in March this year, she went through an emotional pain for not being able to breastfeed her daughter. However, her husband being a daily wage worker somehow managed to buy some milk for their daughter.
A few days had passed when the coronavirus-induced countrywide lockdown happened and her husband lost the job.
The lockdown plunged the family into such financial hardship that affording milk for the baby became impossible. During the lockdown, NGOs visited the village and provided food grains to families but none realized the need for a new-born baby.
But on one such visit to the village by a team of volunteers distributing food grains 24-year-old Deepak Kumar Saw, heard the baby crying.
“When I told him about my story, he was literally moved to know the baby’s plight,” Muni said. Deepak decided to find a solution to meet the baby’s daily milk requirements.
Deepak, who is pursuing a business management course said, “I knew I couldn’t come to the village daily to deliver milk for her as I stay 15 km away from the village in Dhanbad city. I spoke to the village head and he suggested me to arrange few goats for the family so that not only she could feed her baby but can make a living out of it too.”
He bought half-a-dozen goats and delivered them to her house early this week. "I am in touch with her and glad to know that she has started feeding milk to Nandini. She is very happy," he said.
Deepak along with his two friends Shaniv Tiwari, who is a student at Indian Institute of Technology and Divya Gupta, an employee of the Royal Bank of Scotland floated Nand Care Foundation, an organisation that educates poor kids of illegal coal miners in the outskirts of Dhanbad.
During the lockdown, when the teaching activities were suspended, they decided to visit neighbouring villages to help villagers facing hardships. When they realized that the villagers faced serious livelihood issues, they decided to raise funds and distribute food grains. Deepak said that he got financial assistance from big companies who donated generously for this cause.
“However, I spent money from my own pocket to sponsor six goats to the woman as I wanted to help her on a personal level,” Deepak said.
He added, “It is easy to blame the government for everything but I think the government cannot reach everywhere. If we do our bit for society, I think no one will sleep hungry and no kid will be deprived of milk.”
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