This lockdown may have made life difficult for people and businesses, but many organisations are doing their bit to spread cheer during these difficult times. While some are offering free subscriptions to their digital content, others are contributing by offering their services for free and helping those in need.
We take a look at how organisations have turned into Good Samaritans during this lockdown:
Now that travelling around the world physically is not possible for a while, organisations have come up with innovative ways to take people on virtual tours. Google Arts and Culture allows visitors of the site to take a virtual walk around various museums, zoos, places of historic importance and other tourist places around the world through its virtual reality tours. Visitors can indulge in Rembrandt spotting at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, walk down famous city streets or explore the different angles of the Taj Mahal.
Many of us have grown up reading Chacha Chaudhary, Kalia the Crow, Shikari Shambu and stories from Amar Chitra Katha. ACK Media, the publishers of Amar Chitra Katha opened its digital archives with a month-long free subscription, till March 31st, as schools shut down due to the lockdown. The publisher had made its 350 plus Amar Chitra Katha comics and 100 plus TINKLE comics available for free download.
For those who are tired of binge-watching shows on streaming apps, or reading books online, Amazon’s Audible Stories offers a free collection of audiobooks for children and adults. The categories for children include free audiobooks for the littlest listeners, elementary, tween, teen and literary classics. Adult listeners can also avail of Audibles’ 30-day free trial. Books are available in English, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish, French and German. Some of the books available on Audible include Winnie the Pooh, Anne of the Gables, Charlotte’s Web and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
With zoos and oceanariums closing down to public due to the lockdown, animals are also having their downtime. Sea World in Australia's Gold Coast has been taking sea lions and penguins on a trip around the deserted aquarium. After the oceanarium closed down post the lockdown in Sydney, a sea lion named Birri Junior was taken on an adventure around the aquarium where he got to meet his animal friends at the Shark Bay. Penguins and other sea birds have also been going on rounds around Sea World, now that it is closed to visitors.
Other zoos around the world have also been taking their animals on long walks – a practice that many have been doing since long, but have only now started publicising on social media. Zoos are giving people the chance to watch the activities on live streaming as well so that people can get the feeling of being in the environment.
Many organisations are also offering free courses for people to learn and upgrade their skills. The hugely popular learning app BYJU’s is helping children catch up with studies while at home, by offering access to all its programs free of charge, till end April. The app provides lesson plans from its in-house teachers, while students can reserve their preferred topics and book their slots from the schedule which is offered on the app. BYJU’s offers lessons plans for students from class 4 onwards, while for the smaller children, it has tied up with Disney to offer Disney-BYJU’s Early Learn.
Feeding the needy:
Food delivery platforms, which have seen their services hit badly, have joined hands with NGOs and community kitchens to provide meal kits to daily wage earners and homeless people across the country. Zomato has tied up with various NGOs to set up funds through its Feed India initiative, to help ensure the distribution of food kits to families of daily wage earners who are left without any work during the lockdown. It has collected Rs 27.84 crore currently out of its Rs 500 crore goal.
Its Indian competitor Swiggy has also been feeding the needy through its Hope, Not Hunger initiative. In Delhi, Swiggy has teamed up with partners such as Compass Kitchen and SmartQ to distribute food at relief camps across the state. It has since been scaled to include Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Chennai and Kolkata. Both Swiggy and Zomato have also tied up with grocers to deliver daily essentials to customers.
@narendramodi Sir I have a 3.5 yrs old child suffering from autism and severe food allergies . He survives on Camel Milk and limited qty of pulses. When lockdown started I didn’t have enough camel milk to last this long. Help me get Camel Milk or its powder from Sadri(Rajasthan).— neha kumari (@nehakum79798495) April 4, 2020
The Indian Railways turned hero for a little boy with autism who had severe food allergies. The mother of the 3.5-year-old boy had put out a tweet tagging PM Narendra Modi, explaining that she was finding it difficult to procure camel milk, which was the only milk her son could drink. A special cargo train running between Ludhiana and Bandra, Mumbai made an unscheduled stoppage at Falna station in Rajasthan to collect the milk and transport it to Mumbai where the boy’s mother was waiting at the station. The Indian Railways has also been actively distributing food to the needy at various railways stations across the country, apart from converting its coaches to quarantine centres.
While supplies have stabilised largely, with reports of difficulties in procuring milk emerging post the lockdown, Mother Dairy has set up kiosks across some societies in New Delhi. Safal, the company’s fruit and vegetable brand, has also been retailing fruits and vegetables through the booths. Biscuits major Parle has also been doing its part to feed the needy by donating 3 crore biscuits to the needy, amidst the lockdown. Parle has tied up with government agencies to ensure that the supplies reach people whose lives have been affected by the virus and subsequent lockdown.
Kudos! Mumbai's public transport BEST uses its Air-Conditioned buses to transport and store food packets with added cooling in this tropical heat. Seats have been removed to facilitate food storage. @myBESTBus @mid_day pic.twitter.com/j0uCEUjZCE— Rajendra B. Aklekar (@rajtoday) April 13, 2020
Mumbai’s public state transport undertaking, BEST, has converted its special AC buses into food trucks to ensure that meals prepared at community kitchens do not go bad by the time the food reaches those in need. The buses are also being used to help the community kitchens transport cardboard cartons in which the food packets are stored, as per reports.