The pandemic continues to test our perseverance, both as individuals and as a community. But even amid the devastation, Jitendra Shinde never fails to wake up every morning, don a PPE suit and leave home to battle the chaos in his autorickshaw.
A native of Kolhapur, Maharashtra, Jitendra has selflessly dedicated himself to helping more than 15,000 people by transporting them to the hospital during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Every person travelling in my auto is important and I make sure to write down their details in my diary in case they need further assistance. Till now, I have given rides to many differently abled individuals, pregnant women and more than 1,000 COVID-19 patients.
While Jitendra’s COVID-19 relief work started in March 2020, his mission to help people in need has been operational since 2016 and it all started with a moment of personal crisis.
“Five years ago, my mother and sister needed immediate medical attention. We desperately tried to get an ambulance but to no avail. That moment of sheer helplessness became a life-long lesson and, eventually, my life’s purpose. Since then, I have been providing this service. When the pandemic struck, I realised that my services would become even more crucial.”
Now, his 24X7 service receives over 100 calls a day. He has spent more than Rs 3.5 lakh for this humanitarian cause—with daily spends of Rs 200 on fuel alone—a majority of which comes from his savings.
But his work does not end with providing transportation. Jitendra goes out of his way to record the number of vacant beds in quarantine centres and hospitals, provide delivery services of essential goods, like medicine and groceries, for those in home quarantine and even transport unclaimed dead bodies of deceased COVID-19 patients to perform last rites.
“Every time I get a call from one of my past passengers thanking me or telling me that they have recovered, I feel extremely happy. It is this joy that keeps me going and inspires me to continue this work every day,” he concludes.
Mahindra salutes the challenger spirit of people like Jitendra who serve as a beacon of hope in these trying times. #Rise #PeopleWhoRise #TogetherWeRise