A boy who grew up in an orphanage started an orphanage of his own and ran it successfully for 25 years until the Covid pandemic almost forced him to shut it down.
Dilip Sanpui runs a shelter home that comprises an orphanage and an old people’s home.
Around 75 children and elderly people at Sanpui’s shelter in Bansdroni are safe at least for another month because, just when everything was turning bleak, former students of St Xavier’s College, Calcutta, stepped in with a month’s ration.
Sanpui realised it would be impossible to sustain so many people with “depleting resources” and he had to cut down on the scale of activity in the last few months.
He had to ask the senior citizens to leave but then he saw that the elderly people could not arrange even a single meal on their own. Sanpui called them back to provide them with at least one meal a day.
On Thursday, St Xavier’s College (Calcutta) Alumni Association supported by St Xavier’s College (Autonomous) Calcutta, provided them with rice, pulses, edible oil, soybeans, salt, spices, wheat, cake, biscuits, juice and chocolate.
“While we are under severe panic because of the medical emergencies everywhere, we are unintentionally ignoring these small genuine and verified NGOs who are entirely dependent on the help and contributions by CSR funds of corporate entities as well as personal donations,” said Reverend Father Dominic Savio, the principal of the college.
“Most of them are also not able to reach out to the benefactors but their inmates are either starving or asked to vacate the homes due to lack of food items and essential resources. However, we have received requests for helping out with food items from many such organisations and we initiated it on Thursday with many others in the pipeline,” he said.
Sanpui, who grew up in an orphanage, was rescued by a priest when he was 10. Sanpui was pulling a van rickshaw before that. “I grew up there, received education, completed my graduation... I wanted to start an orphanage, which I did. But with the pandemic entering its second year, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sustain the organisation. So, I approached them,” said Sanpui, who is 50 now.
He got himself a government job in 2001 so that he could contribute funds to the organisation — something he is doing even now.
“But feeding 75 people every day requires a lot of money and resources,” he said.
The second wave of the pandemic has hit people hard and many organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to arrange resources to support the beneficiaries.
With their own limitations, not many people and organisations are able to contribute as much as they could earlier.
“Our association actively looks to help such people and organisations. The association has been providing help to the needy people for the last 36 years. We have a lot of such collection and distribution initiatives on our activity calendar during this deadly second wave of Covid-19 pandemic,” said Sanjib Koner, the honourary secretary of St Xavier’s College (Calcutta) Alumni Association.
The Xavier’s old boys had helped more than 50 such NGOs during the first wave of of the pandemic and in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan last year, Koner said.