Even as the novel coronavirus continued to spread in India with over 934 deaths and nearly 21,632 are active cases, frontline workers providing essential services such as medical health professionals and police have emerged as highly vulnerable communities.
Tagged by the Prime Minister as well as the rest of the nation as coronavirus warriors, members of both these communities are risking their lives on an everyday basis and interacting with patients or potential patients in a bid to save lives and prevent the spread of the virus. Many of these warriors, however, do not have the right armour required for battling the deadly foe.
Enter class 10 student Shounal Malhotra, who has come up with a plan to "protect the protectors".
A pupil at Sanskriti School in New Delhi, Shounak has managed to raise funds and provide an essential supply of hand sanitisers to police stations in the capital.
Shaunak has come up with a campaign called 'Protect the Protectors' in order to raise funds to procure hand sanitiser for cops in Delhi.
It was after overhearing his father speaking to a friend about the shortage of hand sanitisers faced by cops in Delhi that Shounak decided to launch the initiative.
"Delhi Police is performing a challenging task a daily basis. Their work plays a key role in ensuring that vulnerable communities would are provided with adequate food, shelter and medicine. But what about them?" Shounak asked.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, hand sanitiser has been in high demand. Since early in March, many stores and chemists ran out of supply as panic buyers hoarded hand sanitisers and face masks, causing a shortage and even an increase in the price of these products.
To help out cops at the time of crisis, Shounak started the "Protect the Protectors" campaign on WhatsApp to raise funds to provide sanitiser supply to the 187 police stations in Delhi. His efforts bore fruit.
"With contributions of as little as Rs.1000, I managed to collect approximately Rs.2,50,000 in two stages," Shounak said.
Despite various logistical and coordination issues due to the lockdown, Shounak managed to supply 1000 litres of sanitisers in five-litre cans, to over 100 police stations of Delhi. He even imported 250 litres of sanitiser from Madhya Pradesh.
"But my task is still ongoing," the student said. "There are still 87 police stations that I have been unable to help and I urge the citizens of Delhi to help me in protecting the protectors," Shounak said.
The young student has been making appeals on social media as well on radio shows to request Delhiites to come forward and help him save those who are saving us.
Last week, three Delhi Police cops tested positive for coronavirus near Nabi Karim, one of the 99 containment or "Red" zones in Delhi. Eight police personnel also tested positive in Chandni Mahal police station. As of now, Delhi has over 3,000 active cases of coronavirus.