• Adyar Times

Zone 13 crowdfunding - the joy of small things!

Zone 13 on Apr.14 collected Rs.22 lakh through crowdfunding for the conservancy workers. Adyar Times spoke with the brainchild of this initiative - Archana Hari, on what inspired her to initiate this.

Archana, from Kalakshetra Colony, has been one among the people spearheading source segregation in their respective RWAs. So when the lockdown was announced, she found herself in discussions, with her friends from other RWAs, about the people who would be most affected by this lockdown.

“While we are at home, the conservancy workers are the ones who would be first impacted with not only Corona, but other diseases as well. These workers were also going to be working more, as they would be involved in other activities like disinfecting places etc.,” said Archana.

She thus came up with the idea of crowdfunding for these workers. “Apart from health issues, there is a possibility that the spouses of these people might be out of jobs too. Thus putting an added pressure. So the best way to offset the losses would be to help them monetarily,” she added.

Archana goes on to explain that there are only a few conservancy workers that we actually see daily, while there are others who are invisible like the mechanic of the garbage truck or people working in the night shifts. So it was essential to recognise the ‘invisible staff’ as well from across RWAs.With this idea, Archana approached the crowdfunding platform - Milaap. Milaap at that point was setting up its platform specifically for Corona where they were waiving off 100% of the platform cost. Thus giving wings to her idea.

Message about crowdfunding was soon spread to the residents of Zone 13, people in other areas and cities but with ties to the zone, corporates and offices in the zone. “We found that we did not need to explain to people the reason for the crowdfunding. Everyone felt the need to do it,” exclaimed Archana.

With the funds coming in, the work had just started. The aim was to honour conservancy workers who were regular and sincere in their work, through this crisis. The list of such workers was given and verified by the Corporation and Ramky Enviro Engineers. The crowdfunded money was transferred to the salary accounts of the workers.

“A spark means nothing without the woods to catch fire! Want to just call out the core team who worked towards this goal every single day too: Kalpana from MRC Nagar, Meera from Gandhi Nagar, Janani and Sridharan from Kasturba Nagar, Meenakshi from Kotturpuram, Ranjit uncle from Besant Nagar and of course our own Jayanthi from Thiruvanmiyur,” said Archana.

On Apr.14, on the occasion of Tamil New Year, the workers were invited to the Corporation office. With ‘Thank you’ pouring in from all around them, there was nothing but smiles on everyone’s faces.

Ravi, Zonal Project Head with Ramky Enviro Engineers said, “Everyday you have felt bad that no one recognised you all or your work. This is an example that you are being noticed and recognised. You are being valued!”

One of the conservancy workers, Sudha, speaking on behalf of all said, “It is heartwarming to see the contribution from the residents. I also want to appreciate the ward supervisors who have encouraged us to come each day.” She also encouraged all the workers to have courage and the need to keep our city as clean as we do our homes.

We are not at the end of the story yet! The icing on the cake was the greeting cards that were distributed to the conservancy workers the next day. The greeting cards were prepared by many children on Zone 13 as appreciation of their services. The card was a surprise to all and left them teary eyed.

Clearly, joy lies in the small things that we do!

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