Gautam Baranwal, a law student from Delhi University
along with his friends Deepak Singh and Mukesh Kumar decided to contribute 100
rupees to a common fund to help the people affected by the lockdown. They
shared the idea with their other friends located across different parts of the
country like Surat, Ara, Patna, and Hazaribagh. They all chipped in to step up
in times of one of the biggest humanitarian crises since World War II. We
conversed with Gautam about the philanthropic initiative, here are the highlights
of the conversation.
How did you initiate the
relief operations for the people affected by the lockdown imposed by the govt
as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19?
When PM Modi announced the lockdown, we pondered upon how
we could help the daily-wage workers or the people adversely impacted by the
Then one of our friends came up with a brilliant idea and
put a proposal that each one of us would be contributing Rs. 100 each day for
21 days till lockdown ends, and the same was circulated by all our friends on
WhatsApp thereby raising enough funds to undertake an organized relief campaign
for the poor and needy.
How did you manage to acquire funds for the
Initially, we started taking contributions from the members
and created a pool of funds. Later on, many friends or other mutual friends
contributed and wished not to be added to the group. However, we decided that
the funds should flow in from the chain only. So, we never took contributions
from a completely unknown person or stranger. We never posted or published our
bank accounts or Paytm or Google Pay No. exhorting people to contribute. The
concept was Rs.100 each for 21 days. People contributed even more. So the fund
was not a problem. The rationale for taking funds only from persons in the
chain of trust was to prevent misuse of funds and to maintain greater
transparency about the source and use of funds.
How did you execute the plan and reached out
to the needy?
The execution was a real problem initially due to the
lockdown. But then we spread the message that every member has to look in his /
her vicinity and help the needy out. Upon finding a needy person/family, a team
member would facilitate buying essentials like
Rice, Aata, oil, spices, vegetables, pulses, soybean, soap, detergent,
salt, biscuits from the nearest grocery.
To date, we have served more than 500 families and also
distributed cooked foods in some places.
What are the cities your team is currently
We are a group of friends and batch mates. We all are
inspired by the idea of humanism and altruism.
When we realized that we could come up with an idea to donate Rs.100 per
day, we circulated the idea to all our friends across Patna, Ara, Buxar,
Hazaribagh, Deoghar, Varanasi, Azamgarh, Noida, Ghaziabad, Delhi, Rohtak,
Sonipat, Faridabad, kutch, and Surat.
We are not an organization with headquarters/offices.
We’d rather represent an idea. An idea to serve mankind. An idea to be a part
of a welfare campaign.
About Gautam Baranwal:
Gautam Barnwal is a student at Campus Law Centre,
University of Delhi. He is one of the founding members of this group and
currently distributing essential commodities to the underprivileged sections
across Deoghar and Jharkhand. His friends are distributing rations across Ara,
Patna, and Hazaribagh.