Started during the second wave of the pandemic, Team Sahaay is making sure there are enough medicines and other COVID-19 essentials in the remote villages and towns like Khedbrahma.
It was the beginning of the second wave of COVID-19 when a few like-minded people met on Instagram and decided to amplify the verified leads for COVID-19 essentials. Eventually, they made a group of around 60 people and continued with the verification. Later this WhatsApp group became a full-time COVID-19 relief group on Instagram named "Team Sahaay" and it continued helping the needy.
Zeal Shah, a lawyer and one of the members of Team Sahaay decided to visit rural areas in Gujarat with other volunteers and her husband. " We found that these towns and villages did not have enough COVID-19 essentials. Also, the hospitals were empty as people were not precautionary. They were so scared of COVID-19 that it had become a Taboo among them. Also, in another tribal village, people did not even have their birth certificates. So, the situation was pretty bad." Team Sahaay provided them with pulse oximeters. Since Team Sahaay has been consistent with their work, many people gave donations. This is when they started with a fundraiser for such rural areas in Gujarat.
"The experience is surreal. The team is so well balanced that it was never a stressful moment. It is very easy to slip into anxiety, nervousness, signs of disappointment while dealing with so much negativity around you 24*7, listening to deaths . But everyone is each other's pillar and it has been such a fabulous and easy journey :)", said Shaili Shah, another member of Team Sahaay.
They were able to collect Rs. 9 lakhs and with the help of other non-profit organizations like Yuva Unstoppable and Breathe India, they supplied the equipment in Danta taluk. " We got donations in different ways. Some people donated a few oxygen concentrators, some came up with cylinders, dead body covers, and so on. Also, we tried contacting our friends abroad, and they also contributed to our cause. In a couple of days, we will fulfill all the requirements. The total amount has turned out to be Rs.9 Lakhs, and we are very happy.", she said.
Later when the cyclone Tauktae hit Ahmedabad, team Sahaay gave their best again. " We decided to have a food drive for 10 days. We were conducting such drives until last week all across Ahmedabad and nearby villages. It makes us happy that we were able to help the migrant workers in these areas who did not even have ration cards. As of now, we have distributed 560 ration kits to different families.", she added. Although Team Sahaay is an informal group on Instagram, the team is planning to take it forward and register it." It's my passion to work in the field and I am happy that the courts are now open and I can go out and help", she said.
Team Sahaay is a team of 8 people but there are volunteers who keep helping them. The hard work they are putting in is enormous and they are working round-the-clock. They have seen people pleading for help and thanking them after getting it. The smiles are irreplaceable.
Remembering one such incident Zeal Said, " So, there were these 2 kids who were COVID-19 positive and their mother was also positive. They were searching for beds. The oxygen level of their mom was low. They even had to carry her on their Activa. Later they called us and requested to arrange a bed. But, the hospitals were full, and their mother had to lie in the hospital hall for 2 to 3 hours. They kept on calling us but we were helpless. We were not getting any leads. We then called ICU on Wheels, which is an oxygen ambulance. Later, when I asked him, he said his mother had got the bed. After 20 days, the boys sent us a selfie and thanked us.", she said.
One can get in touch with Team Sahaay on 9913720185.