World Students’ Day: DU youngsters extend a helping hand, rise above challenges amid pandemic

The pandemic has been extraordinarily tough for students, who have been struggling with online classes, exams and even admissions. Many, however, transformed the situation into an opportunity for them to engage in noble causes. They’ve done it all, from helping freshers seeking admission to the university, to fighting for the jobs of hostel workers, and going out to lend a helping hand for those in need due to Covid-19. On World Students Day, October 15, some Delhi-based college students share how they managed to conduct some acts of kindness in the #pandemicyear.

Amisha Nanda, an LLB student, at Faculty of Law, Delhi University, helped regain jobs of 16 contract workers and multi-tasking staff of Ambedkar-Ganguly Students House for Women. Recounting her struggle to get the hostel workers their job back, Nanda says, “It started out as an online petition to gather attention to the cause. I wrote to various commissions, ministries and workers unions, and even tried to spread the word on social media with an SOS appeal and a video where the workers put forth their grievance so that other people can also reach out to help them through crowd funding, or extend legal help. Their termination by the authorities was illegal, so we decided to move the court and the workers did have a physical protest in mind. After sleepless nights for over a month, the court decision was in the favour of workers. It was their fight and they fought it with great courage, and they are an inspiration not only to other workers but also students like us! We students have just directed our privilege to help them… In such unprecedented times when students’ lives are rampant with challenges, I feel it was my duty to stand up for these hostel workers. It gives one immense strength when one can be a support to others, while themselves battling unknown waters.”

Many hostlers who stayed back during the pandemic, have been engaging in charity work around the campus. Sanjay Kataria, is one of these. A masters’ student at DU’s Department of Library and Information Science, who is currently residing in Gwyer Hall hostel, he has been running from pillar to post to deliver essentials to rickshaw pullers on campus. “The once vibrant campus now lies dull as it awaits students to come back. And the rickshaw pullers here have been the backbone of campus life. There are no words to describe the bond we students have developed with them over years. So, I take out a few hours every day to buy essential food items and clothing for these ricksha wale bhaiyas, who really don’t have an alternate job. I also took one of them to the hospital when he was badly hurt, and didn’t have the money to visit a doctor,” says Kataria, adding, “As a student I’ve been facing blows in terms of placement difficulties and perpetual uncertainty regarding the future. But no matter what challenges I face because of the pandemic year, it feels lighter whenever I focus my energies on helping these rickshaw drivers. I feel it’s our duty to look after everyone on campus.”

And when it comes to campus bonhomie, seniors are not letting the pandemic affect their would-be juniors. Helping DU aspirants facing the daunting task of online admissions, Manmohan M, a Hindu College student says, “I realised how DU aspirants were feeling overwhelmed due to sky high cut-offs and complete online procedure for admissions, this time. So, I decided to offer my number for counselling them, and now I take random calls and messages from aspirants, to understand their challenges. It’s quite time consuming to help the freshers battle these issues as they are undertaking #campuslife during very different times. Sometimes these juniors tell me how unsettled they feel with how things are going. And I feel it’s important for me as a senior to at least lend them a patient ear, and help as much as possible.”

Author tweets @FizzyBuddha

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