“He Saved Us When Nobody Was there for Us”

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Jeety hands out a hot meal to an elderly man during the 106 food distribution exercise on Center Street.

… Says a beneficiary of Jeety’s COVID-19 Feeding initiative

It is 5 p.m. and hundreds of men, women, and children have begun to queue at the Jeety Trading Corporation in Vai Town, just outside central Monrovia, to receive a plate of hot cooked meal.

With makeshift masks on, one by one, they walk to the food distribution counter and are presented a plate of food and a sachet of water.

The Honorary Consul General of India in Liberia, Upjit Singh Sachdeva, has been doing this for more than a hundred consecutive days, in some of the most impecunious communities of the Liberian capital, Monrovia. Saturday, August 15, which marked day 106 of his COVID-19 Stay Home initiative and feeding program.

“Helping others, especially those that are in need make me happy. I am proud of what we have been able to achieve so far,” Mr. Sachdeva says. “These people are human like us, despite the situation [in which] they found themselves.”

Through his COVID-19 Stay Home initiative, he has shown compassion to some of the most vulnerable populations of Montserrado County, ensuring that they do not go to bed hungry for the past 106 days, benefitting 305,538 people over the time. The winding queue, which can also be seen at Slipway and  Center Street and other areas in Monrovia is a sign of the desperation that has gripped Liberia most populated county, Montserrado, which is home to half of the country’s vulnerable population.

In an interview with Daily Observer a few weeks ago, Mr. Sachdeva, who also goes by the name, “Jeety”, said: “As an individual who Liberia has blessed a lot, it is my bound duty to give back whether in times of need or not. It is the moral obligations of my family and me, to help Liberia in times of need, including this crisis that has created conditions where citizens, who are economically vulnerable and food insecure, find themselves battling hunger.”

But as normalcy returns, Jeety has announced the scaling down of his food feeding program. The decision, Jeety said, is due to other plans he has in mind for the vulnerable, particularly rehabilitation to have these people economically integrated into society.

“Scaling down does mean I will not be feeding rather it will be done at one location. Although I will be scaling down the feeding program, it will be done every day at Vai Town.  Those who do not live far from Vai Town can come and they will be served.

“It pains my heart that I am scaling back this food feeding program, but I am planning something big for them. These people are now my family, so I am thinking about finding other means to help them out. Food will not solve the economic problem they are going through, rather some sort of livelihood assistance.

Jeety, who has been living in Liberia for more than a decade now, said his passion to find opportunities for them, is driven by compassion after noticing that many of them have great potential that can be used to develop and create jobs.

“They may be lost for now, but they are still useful if fully taken care of and rehabilitated for integration into society,” Jeety said. “This is one of the reasons why I decided to scale down the food feeding program to begin working out plans to have this vision realized.”

As Liberia opens, many of these beneficiaries have expressed thanks to Jeety for keeping them filled during the State of Emergency and weeks.

With a baby strapped on her back, Mary Hove, 35, who during the entire 106 days of the feeding program depended on Jeety’s food program to survive, thanked Jeety for saving them during the SOE period.

“He saves us when nobody was there for us. I am moved by his love because it is rare to find people who think about others. This coronavirus has not spared us at all, so people are suffering. “The number of people I see here shows that many are hungry,” Hove said

Hove, who does domestic work for a living, said she has now got herself a new job as the thing moves on gradually across the country. Another beneficiary, Peter Mango, 39, who walks on crutches and is a boot polisher, said if not because of Jeety, he may not have survived during the SOE period.

“There was no food at home since the SOE announcement caught me off the guide and made it difficult for me to get a hold on cash. But thanks to Jetty, I was able to eat and survive,” Mango added.

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