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Kerala: IAS Officer’s Facebook Campaign Is Rebuilding Flood-Ravaged Alleppey

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The 2018 August floods left Kerala devastated. God’s own country, blessed with picturesque landscapes and modernised development side by side, suffered an irreparable loss to one of the worst flood of the century. 483 innocent lives were enlisted in the death toll; thousands who survived were left deprived of their homes, pets and livelihood options. Rescue and relief initiatives from the government and citizens from all over the country drew headlines, however, much lesser attention was paid to the next part – rehabilitation. Away from all the limelight, an IAS officer from Alleppey, Kerala spearheaded one of the best-seen community campaigns. Krishna Teja Mylavarapu, the Sub-collector of Alappuzha, launched the ‘ I Am For Alleppey ’ campaign on Facebook, which has consistently seen help pouring in from all parts of the world to rebuild Kerala. The movement, spanning more than four months by now, has recently touched the milestone of roping in 1 lakh givers, whose gracious help has rehabilitated over 40,000 people in Kerala.

I Am For Alleppey
The poster for I Am For Alleppey

Incidentally, Teja played a pivotal role along with Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac in ‘Operation Kuttanad’ – the historic rescue operation which evacuated over 2 lakh people from Kuttanad, one of the worst flood-ravaged zones.

I Am For Alleppey
Krishna Teja wth Shri. G. Sudhakaran, Minister for Public Works and Registration, Govt. of Kerala

How ‘I Am For Alleppey’ started

Talking to Efforts For Good, Teja shared his inspiration behind this path-breaking idea. “I was determined to bring together the entire community in the rehabilitation work. But, being a non-Malayali from Andhra Pradesh, I was perplexed about the implementation,” he shares. Soon, the young administrator decided to harness the power of social media as the only resort.

It all started with a simple post on the newborn ‘I Am For Alleppey’ page on Facebook on September 14, 2018, appealing for funds for a primary healthcare centre in Kunnumma. A handful of Teja’s friends shared the post on his request. “Within six hours, a Malayali woman settled in Andhra Pradesh got in touch expressing her will to adopt the healthcare centre for 8 lakh rupees,” he recalls realising how a single Facebook post can tap open the gates of humanity. Startled by the power of social media, he soon chalked out a detailed plan for the rehabilitation fundraising – categorised into several focal areas as mentioned ahead.

I Am For Alleppey
A house restored by I Am For Alleppey

No monetary transaction; Only a facilitator

The way Teja details the entire scheme of operation of ‘I Am For Alleppey’, reveals his earnest dedication in this project. One cannot help but be amazed by the foresight with which he is piloting the momentous movement. Perhaps one of the most heartwarming aspects of the movement is that ‘I Am For Alleppey’ does not involve any monetary transaction. “We only act as a facilitator or mediator between the donors and the beneficiaries,” Teja humbly states how much good can come out of sheer zest for service to humanity.

I Am For Alleppey
The focal areas of I Am For Alleppey

Ranging from women, children, senior citizens, specially-abled individuals to fishermen – everyone in Alleppey has immensely benefitted from the campaign, some way or the other.

I Am For Alleppey
Healthcare camps

Requesting help for healthcare

One of the main concerns after any natural calamity is healthcare, due to huge chances of the outbreak of an epidemic. But Krishna Teja’s acumen and strategical planning have successfully prevented that in Alleppey. He has divided the ‘help for healthcare’ into distinct categories, each catering to a particular section of the population. Be it women and child rehabilitation, senior citizen medical care or rehabilitation for specially-abled individuals, ‘I Am For Alleppey’ has brought forth many smiles.
“Around 700 differently-abled persons, whose wheelchairs, crutches or even artificial limbs were damaged by the floods, were refurbished with the accessories they needed,” informs Teja.

I Am For Alleppey
Medical camps for all

Four medical camps were conducted in and around Kuttanad, with special check-up facilities for senior citizens, who were also provided with protein supplements for four months.  

In general, 20 public medical camps have been organised so far, which played a major role in averting the outbreak of any deadly disease. “We are also ensuring all sorts of palliative care for the critical patients,” he states.

The idea of appealing to people to adopt primary health centres has been a remarkable success; generous contributions pouring in from the adopters are giving rebirth to clinics which were reduced to rubble.


Women and family rehabilitation

The women and family rehabilitation programme deserves a special mention. “We have facilitated the coordination between NGOs and corporates with the local panchayats. Women are being given utensils and household items of daily need. In fact, for many, the damage expenditure has been replenished,” shares Teja.

I Am For Alleppey
Distribution of kitchen items

Help from the film industry

In this context, the infrastructural rehabilitation efforts by ‘I Am For Alleppey’ must be highlighted, which saw the active participation of the who’s who of the Southern film industry. “We will be forever grateful to Team Bahubali who came forward to construct five houses in Alleppey. Our Facebook posts brought together hundreds of people who helped construct over 500 houses,” Teja shares with a glint of pride.

I Am For Alleppey
40,000 school kits were distributed

Over 40,000 student kits (bags, books and stationery) were distributed among students, alongside the construction of 20 computer labs. Toilets are also being rebuilt in many schools.

I Am For Alleppey
A rebuilt school

Teja informs, “So far 60 Anganwadis have been adopted by well-wishers, including 10 by Telugu superstar Allu Arjun.” Scholarships and bicycles were also doled out among young learners.

I Am For Alleppey
Movie posters mentioning I Am For Alleppey

‘Donate A Cow’ has fostered many smiles

Thanks to all the ‘Donate A Cow’ appeals on Facebook, livestock rehabilitation is another domain witnessing significant progress. Teja himself has gone from door to door with his team, identifying 133 families who have lost their cattle and other farm animals. “Till date, 76 people have been given cows, all with proper insurance and free maintenance cost of a month. The best part is that, most of the cows were pregnant, and now they have given birth to offsprings, providing more potential income for the families,” he informs, sharing snippets about a family with a dilapidated home and fragile dreams, who found hope anew when their cow gave birth to calves.

I Am For Alleppey
Krishna Teja at a cow donation event

Aside from cows, 150 goats have also been handed over to the fishermen’s wives, who are overwhelmed to be offered an independent source of livelihood, for the first time. New poultry sheds with fresh flocks of chickens or ducks can be found again in rural homes of Kuttanad, all thanks to donors from all over India and even abroad.

I Am For Alleppey
Happy families who received cows

The brave Kerala fishermen

The Kerala fishermen had received nationwide accolades for their brave rescue efforts. However, little did people know that many of these superheroes, who turned down compensation from the state government, had lost their main sources of livelihood – boats and fishing nets. ‘I Am For Alleppey’ has taken up the responsibility to gift them brand new fishing nets.

I Am For Alleppey
A fisherwoman with a new fishing net

Come forward in support of ‘I Am For Alleppey’

The young and dynamic IAS officer had also paid attention towards the depleted green cover in the panoramic state. He shares, “We have started a plantation drive to replenish the green cover. Moreover, we are planting flood-resistant tree varieties which might help avert such a catastrophe in future.”

I Am For Alleppey
The green cover rehabilitation project will see plantation of 4 lakh trees

The humongous success of ‘I Am For Alleppey’ is evident from the way the local inhabitants are expressing their gratitude. Movie theatres in Alleppey are displaying the ‘I Am For Alleppey’ logo before the start of any movie. Movie posters are printing the name in bold fonts. The movement is still ongoing in full-fledged scale and the founder earnestly appeals to all readers of Efforts For Good to come forward in reinstating Kerala to her former glory and beyond.

I Am For Alleppey
I Am For Alleppey poster at the start of a movie

Also Read: A Recycling Crusader At Home, This IAS Officer Is Giving Hyderabad An Eco-Friendly Makeover

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2,00,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 350 families, 75000+ meals served, 150+ ration kits and sanitary pads distributed
Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
2,00,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 350 families, 75000+ meals served, 150+ ration kits and sanitary pads distributed

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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