A bunch of graduate students of different nationalities have come together and raised funds to help the ambulance drivers, mortuary and crematorium workers in the city who have been relentlessly working ever since the pandemic struck. The distribution began on Friday.
Students of York University, Toronto, decided to launch a fundraiser and had pooled in and collected Canadian $5,000, which is nearly ₹3 lakh to provide assistance to 100 families of these workers who risk their lives and labour in the second wave, said filmmaker and poet Leena Manimekalai who planned this initiative along with her cohorts from the university.
“We decided on this after seeing the rise in infections and deaths in Chennai during the second wave and wanted to contribute in a small way. I got in touch with some of the ambulance drivers and heard about how much they are paid for their service. Same is the case with mortuary and crematorium workers too. They have been labouring round-the-clock and going much beyond their call of duty. So we thought it is imperative to help them at the earliest,” she said.
“We are not stopping with this initiative alone. Next we plan to do it for folk artists group in the city who need help,” she added.
Roz, filmmaker and Master of Fine Arts student at York University said, this pandemic had been so difficult for the world and when they realised that if each of them could put in whatever they could — that as a group they could help sustain some people who were risking their lives on the front lines — it gave them hope in the darkness.
Chanda Chevannes, documentary filmmaker and Master of Fine Arts student at York University, said, “My classmates at York University and I were inspired to organise this fundraising campaign as a way to demonstrate support for our friend and classmate, Leena Manimekalai, who has been doing all of her coursework from Chennai.”