STANDING TOGETHER

World News Day: Good Samaritans dip into their pockets to help Indian kulfi seller

Out of the depths of despair over the Covid-19 pandemic, acts of courage, resilience, kindness and selflessness have emerged across the globe.

Migrant worker Satvir was forced by local police to abandon his means of livelihood, a kulfi (Indian ice-cream) cart, when he attempted to get to a relative's home in May 2020.
Migrant worker Satvir was forced by local police to abandon his means of livelihood, a kulfi (Indian ice-cream) cart, when he attempted to get to a relative's home in May 2020.SCREENSHOT: THE QUINT

All's well that ends well. Mr Satvir, a migrant worker who was forced by local police to abandon his means of livelihood, a kulfi (Indian ice-cream) cart, when he attempted to get to a relative's home, is all smiles today because of financial help from good Samaritans.

On May 18, the 24-year-old Mr Satvir was stopped at the Delhi-Noida border when he tried to cross into Uttar Pradesh with his wife and children.

In tears, he told The Quint's reporter, who had spotted him walking with his family and his cart, that his business had collapsed and he was in no position to repay the loan of about 40,000 rupees (S$750) that he had taken to buy the thela or cart.

He wanted to go to Noida to his uncle, who had arranged daily-wage work for him on a farm, but Noida police did not allow him to cross the border.

After being made to wait for hours, he was allowed to enter later that evening but was asked to leave the cart behind with a stranger.

That was not all. The police did not allow him to go to his uncle's home in Noida, but made him get on a bus to go to a shelter home in Noida's Sector 19.

At the home, Noida police told him he could go to his uncle's house only if his uncle came to get him.

As the elderly man could not come to pick him up, Mr Satvir had no option but to go back to his home town, more than 200km away, in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. The police helped facilitate his journey home.

Living with his family in Badaun, Mr Satvir worried that he had no source of income there.


Work in progress on a tubewell, which Mr Satvir set up at his small farm in Badaun in India’s Uttar Pradesh state after receiving donations from readers and viewers who learnt of his ordeal in attempting to get to his uncle’s home. PHOTO: THE QUINT

However, after watching The Quint's video on Mr Satvir's ordeal, several readers and viewers from as far away as the United Arab Emirates, Australia and Singapore came forward to help the kulfi seller.

He received nearly 3 lakhs (300,000 rupees) in donations and has now set up a tubewell at his small farm in Badaun. "I have received some thousands of rupees in my account today. I am really very thankful to everyone," he told The Quint in another interview on May 23.

Mr Satvir's story is just one of many as migrant workers in India continue to face hardships, many still travelling miles on foot towards home.

 
 
 
 

The Quint has partnered with Goonj, a non-governmental organisation headquartered in Delhi, in its Rahat Covid-19 initiative to help workers.

• This story was contributed by The Quint for World News Day 2020.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2020, with the headline 'Good Samaritans dip into their pockets to help Indian kulfi seller'. Subscribe