Spare parts shop owner becomes beacon of hope for those affected by lockdown

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Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Seeking alms is a difficult choice many are forced to consider when circumstances leave them with little choice, at the cost of self-esteem. Noticing the hesitancy among people to accept aid, as has happened during the upheaval cause by Covid, Arshad Rasheed an automobile spare parts shop owner in Pallitheruvu in Thiruvananthapuram decided to do something about it.

And his charity organisation, Connecting Hearts Foundation, turned its attention to such families.“Such family members still live in a proper house, wear decent clothes, but only a close observation reveals that they are struggling to meet the expenses. They are hesitant to seek help but are clueless on how to go about life,” Arshad says.

The aid — in the form of money, medicine, food kits and educational material is passed on to the families discreetly without hurting their self-respect. The volunteers follow a method which is in marked departure from several charitable organisations that often publicise their activities and end up revealing the identity of the beneficiaries. Among those receiving are employees working in shops, fishmongers, autorickshaw drivers, masons, hairdressers and even small shop owners, he says.

“We prepare a list of beneficiaries and select a time for delivering the aid without any publicity. The volunteers are strictly prohibited from taking pictures of beneficiaries. People seek our help because they know that we don’t reveal their plight. We have chosen this method because we know that, otherwise, the heads of those people will always remain hung in shame,” he says.

Arshad says he imbibed the concept from his parents, Abdul Rasheed and Bushara, who have been active in helping widows in the neighbourhood. He has now extended his activities beyond their area, helping people visiting the medical college and the tribal persons in the Peppara wildlife settlement. 

“We have given priority to families of daily labourers living in rented houses as they still have to pay the rent. They manage their lives with whatever money is left, often compromising on essentials,” he said.

The Connecting Hearts Foundation was registered in March 2020. Arshad and his team of 20 youngsters focused on giving medicines to the needy, while relying on a crowdfunding model among those familiar with his work.



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