Amid rising coronavirus cases and deaths across the country, burial sites and crematoriums have been choc-a-bloc, so much so that at times reports have claimed the cremations/burials have been done without customs of last rites. In times of such duress, an NGO in Khammam of Telangana has stepped up to provide a dignified sendoff to some of these victims of Covid-19. The New Indian Express reported how the NGO, Annam Seva Foundation, run by three woman Tailam Saraswathi, P Eswaramma and Battula Devisree are providing a semblance of respect in the way of a dignified farewell in death for these helpless victims of the coronavirus.
Devisree is the youngest member of the NGO at 16 years and joined the orgnaisation last year during the pandemic. An intermediate student, she told TNIE that despite the fact that this was pre-dominantly a domain of work for men, her family has been very supportive of the noble cause. Devisree helps with conducting the last rites for Covid-19 victims and also for those victims who have been abandoned or unidentified.
“Women are now everywhere showing their abilities and I am just doing my bit here. My parents, Bhuvaneswari and Ramu, and elder brother Jaya Prakash are very supportive and never objected to it. Instead, they are extremely encouraging," Devisree was quoted as saying by the report.
Devisree’s parents who used their own food joint at Yellandu had to shut them due to coronavirus lockdown and started working for the Annam Seva Foundation as cooks. The founder-president of ASF Annam Srinivas Rao’s work greatly inspired the young girl who decided to join the NGO as well. Last year in September when the NGO heard of an abandoned body found near a railway track nearby, Devisree wanted to help but Srinivas Rao did not wish to involve a young girl in it. But Devisree managed to eventually convince Rao with her determination. Since then, she has been devoted to her work with the NGO. Since then, the group of three women have conducted the final rites of about 30 people.
Devisree believes it is ‘very satisfying to serve society’ and other than her studies she also wishes to help with social work.