While we are figuring out how to deal with the lockdown stress, this 30-year-old Amdavadi makes sure no one sleeps in hunger

While the country is in a standstill, the plight of the daily wagers and migrants is well known to all. With a very limited or no savings, they are struggling to meet the day’s end. We have heard many people including actor Sonu Sood helped migrants and the common people to survive and get back to their respective homes in other states. 

But, the story of Madhish Parikh and his organization Elixir is totally unknown in the mainstream media. They have distributed 4 lakhs of rations, meals, and helped migrants in their transportation to reach home safely.

How it started

Image – An Elixir volunteer distributing a ration packet in Ahmedabad

With having many such experiences in actively working for the common public including the relief works during the 2018 Kerala Floods, Madhish and team got ready soon after the Janta Curfew imposed on 22nd March.

They had started the planning and basic preparations to support the lives that were going to suffer due to the COVID-19 lockdown. They had roped in other organizations to raise the fund and to pack and distribute ration kits. Ensuring no one should sleep in hunger and no volunteer should get infected.

During the initial days of lockdown, the volunteer team mapped the societies & localities they have to serve and the number of people needing ration, food, or any other help.

They used to pack all the necessary rations needed for a week and started distributing it to the most affected people & community. And making sure that no one goes to bed with an empty stomach.

Later on, they helped people of other states including Jammu and Kashmir. 

Police and other organizations join hands

Along with many organizations, Ahmedabad city police department joined hands with the Elixir team to identify and distribute the required rations to the people in need. 

Image – Team Elixir is distributing rations with the help of City police of Ahmedabad

Speaking to The August, Madhish said, “We started early in our planning and forged partnerships with youth-led organizations and committed institutions for the cause.  We  got unconditional support from organisations like Ahmedabad Global Shapers Community, Hearty Mart, Communicate Karo, Amdavad Rockets and Hey Hi Foundation who joined hands to intensify the relief work,” 

“Our drive also got supported by Parle-G, MICA, and CIIE at IIM Ahmedabad. Local administrative bodies like Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, Ahmedabad Police department, and Ahmedabad Collector office provided their quick and 24X7 help in providing approvals, mobilizing resources, and distribution of the ration kits to needy families,” he added. 

An incident that fuelled him to do more

One evening, he reached to a remote area in Odhav, an industrial area in the outskirts of the city and found that a pregnant woman and his husband were boiling Mirchi and namak (Green chilies and salt) for their lunch as they ran out of the rations after the corn mill where they used to work was closed for an unprecedented time to flatten the curve of Corona cases.

Moved by this incident, Madhish buckled up to help more such people and worked day and night with his team of 100 volunteers to bring smiles to the most affected people, especially migrant workers and daily wage earners. 

Image – MIgrants are set to leave for their homes with the help of Madhish’s team

Apart from distributing the food and rations, Team Elixir had also managed to arrange buses and trains to send many migrants to Bihar and UP, distributed face shields to the front-liners working in Police and health departments during the lockdown.

What about the funds?

Madhish and team started a crowdfunding campaign under “Ahmedabad Fights Corona”, to raise funds for the cause. Madhish said, “We started with a target of Rs five lakh to raise as part of the crowdfunding campaign. We got tremendous support from individuals and institutions and were able to raise 70 lakh combined in cash and kind. And this helped us in getting and distributing rations for 4 lakh meals.” 

Former Journalist and Communication Strategist   Kumar Manish designed and led the social media awareness and funding campaigns to get the momentum to the relief drive.

Did not stop after the lockdown eases

The team did not stop when the Govt. imposes Unlock – 1 with easing many businesses and movements. They had started a campaign to eradicate the social stigma around COVID-19 patients.

“During our relief works, we met many people and societies where people ill-treated COVID-19 patients. So, we came up with another campaign to raise the voice against the Social stigma and building awareness for it.” Madhish said while briefing about their new campaign #VoicesAgainstCovidStigma that is initiated by Elixir Foundation along with the Press Information Bureau, Government of India, Centre for Communication of Child Rights, PDPU, Centre of Excellence, Dept. of Journalism, Gujarat University and in partnership with USAID and UNICEF India to campaign against the rising social stigma for COVID patients.

Became a people’s movement: Ministers, IAS, celebrities, others participated 

Soon, 12000+ people participated and raised a voice against the social stigma. Central Ministers like Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, IAS officers, local news, and TV personalities have also participated and made this campaign a people’s movement. 

How can you do your bit?

You can join hands with team Elixir to drive the needful social works in your localities and also join them in their latest campaign on #VoicesAgainstCovidStigma

If you have any such stories about hidden gems, share with us. Write an email to –  sudhakar@theaugust.com.

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