#CovidWarriors- December 3 Movement helped over 6,000 disabled people in TN during lockdown
In our weekly feature for the May campaign #CovidWarriors, today we bring you a story on December 3 Movement, an NGO from Tamil Nadu. December 3 Movement has already reached out to over 6000 people with disabilities across the state. With the lockdown being extended, the team is all set to help more people. TMN Deepak, Founder of the NGO shares about their journey in the past two months.
The lockdown has exhausted big and small business. Millions of people are already jobless and searching in the dark about the future. India’s disabled community is one of the worst affected. Many of them who are daily wage workers are struggling hard to make ends meet. December 3 Movement, a leading NGO in Tamil Nadu stepped up to do their bit. The NGO has been working towards empowering people with disabilities. During this lockdown period, they distributed groceries to over 6000 disabled people across the state. They did this with the help of other NGO’s and a bunch of volunteers who worked day and night to make this heart-warming deed reality. The venture was a collective of 20 district organizations and December 3 Movement was the disabled people as well as community based organization amongst them.
A much needed service
According to TMN Deepak, Founder of December 3 Movement, the initial works started soon after the lockdown was declared on 24 March. Deepak identified over 20 disabled people from 19 districts who were in dire need of help. He later shared about their needs and requirements on his social media. The word was soon spread. Help started coming in and in due course of time, they identified more beneficiaries.
It did not matter whether we were tying up with government or private parties. Helping maximum number of people was the most important thing to us. We wanted to reach maximum number of people- TMN Deepak, Founder, December 3 Movement.
He soon put up requests on WhatsApp. Even that was widely shared in groups. Apparently, it reached officials from the judiciary. “The Principle district judges helped us by contributing. We found this interesting because social media was a great tool to communicate”, says Deepak.
Each kit had rice, dals, vegetables and other essential items. A family could survive without difficulties with this kit. “Some of my friends also deposited money. The word was spread through our private circle. If there is a requirement, we make sure to hand over medicines too”, says Deepak.
Working towards helping Tamil Nadu’s disabled community
DMK leaders MK Stalin and MK Kanimozhi were amongst those who helped Deepak and his team. Stalin handed over 500 packets of rice and dal, each packet contained over 5kgs of rice. They contacted Deepak after seeing his tweet on social media asking for help. Stalin’s kind-hearted gesture even became viral on social media and was indeed a great recognition for people with disabilities in the state.
“We are a small NGO. But glad that we could do this much. This should be a positive thing for many. People must understand that disabled people can coordinate all this while sitting inside their homes”, says Deepak.
December 3 Movement did have a lot of help from police department and other government officials too. The team even reached out to those who needed help due to stress, anxiety and other mental issues. “There was this child whose parents were deaf. He was extremely depressed during the lockdown. So we spoke to the state disability commissioner who requested for a special educator. He was sent to the child’s home and the child got timely help”, says Deepak.
They even handed over bread, hand sanitizers, masks and biscuits to police officials who were beating the heat to make sure people stay indoors during Coronavirus times.
Hundreds of volunteers worked for the NGO from different parts of Tamil Nadu.
Christopher Antony was one amongst the volunteers who took an active part in all the work. “I was coordinating for Dharmapuri and two other districts. Since the past six years, I have been doing similar activities. I’am glad that during this lockdown period, I could coordinate with 3 December Movement”, he says.
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