“I first started a school for the children to help them with their education. We used to have classes on the side of the road, but now, we have a building where we can teach the children, with a small kitchen to feed them too. I’ve been helping the people in my neighbourhood for many years. But during the pandemic, we are running out of money,” she said.
According to Vasudevan, funds have been on a steady decline over the last eight months of shutdown. With several companies and employees suffering a financial strain, donations to the Kannagi Nagar Social Welfare Trust, founded by Vasudevan, were sparse this year. Socials distancing as well as the threat of COVID-19 made her unable to help her community.
Nevertheless, Vasudevan was able to distribute more than 1,500 sarees for women in her neighbourhood, from fruit and flower vendors to sanitisation staff, as well as single mothers and the elderly. They were also able to cook and distribute approximately 2,000 meals the week leading to Deepawali, and are continuing to do so across the city. Vasudevan wishes there were more awareness and assistance for smaller, community-based organisations like her own. “We run a very small organisation. Our six volunteers have been working without pay for eight months, and we have been funnelling personal cash into the endeavour,” she said. But she is glad that she was able to help the women of her community, and hopes to continue doing so in the years to come. “Moving forward, I want to help women who have been forced to leave their jobs and their education due to the pandemic,” she said.