Islamabad : They would not have been happier even if they were provided with some money as ‘Eidi’! There were these 1,000 poor sanitary workers from the Sanitation Department of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), squatting on the ground in the F-7 mini-Cricket stadium.
They appeared so well aware of maintaining the social distance and made a pretty sight, almost geometrical one. And each one, one called out his name, walked up to the platform to receive the PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) kit.
We believe that instead of criticizing the government or at least the concerned government department for not thinking of such an initiative, one should appreciate those who thought of the idea and realized as to how vitally important this was for these poor sanitary workers who are most exposed to not only COVID-19 but all sorts of other ailments spewing out of garbage and sewage.
The voice was first raised from the platform of Pakistan Interfaith League (PIL) when the COVID-19 pandemic started gaining momentum. But it was mainly focused on the nurses, paramedics and janitors working the ‘COVID-19 Wards’ or emergency departments in the hospitals where they were exposed to the deadly virus.
However, the people at the Interfaith-League Against Poverty (I-LAP) have been contemplating the idea of providing some good quality PPE kits to the sanitary workers. Well, they wanted to do this for the sanitary workers all over Pakistan but, obviously, it was beyond their means.
So, ‘Setting an Re-example’ was thought to be the best idea and I-LAP started making preparation to collect enough material to make comprehensive PPE kits most suited to the needs and requirements of the sanitary workers for 1,000 workers.
The Chairman of the Pakistan Interfaith League (PIL), Sajid Ishaq only wanted the kit to be effective, efficient and strong enough to last for some time through the rigors of daily work of these sanitary workers.
Ms Nazia Ansari, the Executive Director of I-LAP, had in mind to maintain the maximum preventive and security features in the PPE kits, pretty in line with the international standards and thus they embarked upon this ‘mission’ of reaching out and helping the poor but the most important segment of our society, the ‘Sanitary Workers’!
Eventually what Ms Nazia Ansari came up for a PPE kit was ‘Sturdy coveralls (washable), rubber gloves, heavy duty rubber boots, goggles, face masks and helmets.
So, it was a big day indeed for the I-LAP as well as PIL yesterday (Thursday, May 21, 2020) when they finally found themselves in a position to start distributing these special PPE kits prepared for sanitary workers.
The event was arranged at the cricket ground of Sector-F-7, right behind the ‘Flower Market’ opposite Jinnah Super Market. The sanitary workers from the concerned CDA Directorate invited to the event squatted on the ground, an exemplary display of maintaining social distance during the distribution of something important for free.
The newly re-instated Mayor of Islamabad, Sheikh Ansar Aziz, was the guest of honour on the occasion and alongside the Chairman PIL, Sajid Ishaq and the Executive Director I-LAP, Ms Nazia Ansari, distributed the PPE kits among the sanitary workers.