Providing aid to people in need is significant. Comprehending others’ necessities allows people to create and enhance social relations by helping others is what Sanketh Y.S strived to do when the world was fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
There was news about emptying supermarket racks or fighting over stacks of food that sketches a sad portrayal of the coronavirus eruption. But there are also deeds of empathy that have motivated thousands of others. One such is about Sanketh Y.S, who distributed free masks to people who were in need. Sanketh loved traveling and photography.
Sanketh Y.S: The Beginning of the Initiative
Sanketh lives in Bangalore. He went to the USA for his Masters’s in Business Administration from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. While he was working there in the US, he took a leave for about 15 days and was traveling in the US, “When I was about to complete my trip, that’s when we heard about Covid-19 cases in the US, I finished my travel and came back, when orders were received, and I started remote work.“
This was when masks became mandatory for everyone, and they were very expensive, and people started to panic about it. There was very little or no stock available, and if available, they were not less than $35-40, which is not affordable for everyone. At this time, Sanketh took the initiative to buy masks, “I ended up buying some masks from my savings and distributed it for homeless & international students.”
He soon realized that what he was doing was not enough to solve the big problem because so many others might need this help. Sanketh still tried to help them with everything he could have, but it was a very small amount; he needed more to help various others. “I ended up talking to people in school; one of the professors was making masks, the fabric was given from my school, so she gave me 30 masks, which I ended up donating.”
Later on, Sanketh thought that if he reaches out to companies, he might get the help he needed. For that, he made an Instagram page to show everyone what he was doing. Sanketh started sending emails to companies, “The company was an online e-commerce website, from where I used to buy, I was pretty much their loyal customer. As they moved their assembly line to manufacturing masks, I asked them, and we had a couple of conversations. They agreed to send me 3 reusable masks, so I donated them to the international students living in my community.”
Sanketh started to email more companies; some sent him 10 pieces, another sent him 200 pieces. All of Sanketh’s work got featured in a local newspaper which gave the project a little boost. Therefore, many local companies and people who needed masks started approaching Sanketh for help. “It covered got in the national media in the US, and Senator Joe Pittman personally wrote a letter to appreciate this. All this gave me a good boost for the entire project.”
Sanketh did not know many people, who were now ready to donate or send some masks for his initiative. He also started the same in India, “It was taking several hours in a day, and work became more because of the time difference.”
Sanketh Y.S: Aspirations & Inspirations
Sanketh loved traveling and photography. Whenever he moved to the US, he worked as an Italian chef on part-time and cooked different dishes & made his friends try them.
He started doing virtual photoshoots, “Photography is one thing which I love to do, and since I’m not traveling or eating at the restaurant to take pictures, so I always wanted to do a portrait shoot which I never did earlier.” He did photoshoots for various models, as well as for anyone who wanted to get them but was hesitating to do so, “they had some kind of issues like, they felt they were not pretty, or they might feel they are not a model, for someone to do a photoshoot with them.“
Sanketh had this idea of virtual photoshoots since he wanted to learn & experience something new and wanted to talk to people and create awareness about body shaming because he believed that everyone is unique and is different & beautiful in their way. He did these regularly free of cost, “I love taking pictures, I love meeting people, I wasn’t able to do it because there was the threat of Covid-19.
“This was one way he was getting to know people, know their stories, and with all this, he tried promoting the talent of people who wanted or tried to gain some limelight, “maybe a dance teacher who wanted to take online dance classes, or maybe a maths teacher who wanted to share their knowledge with their students. I wanted to help them get some clients or customers.”
Sanketh believes in keeping oneself busy during tough times, “that is how I was traveling virtually.”
He also started ‘Good News Co’ with the idea of spreading positive news, “Throughout 2020, things were really bad for people, it was rough, but then good things were happening around the world, the year was not bad the situations were bad.” Sanketh believed that many positive things happened since many people came out for help & support, which surely is a great example for humanity.
“More than 90% of the news was driven with fear & negativity,” therefore, Sanketh observed that people everywhere started experiencing some anxieties. For these reasons, Sanketh started to amply good news. Sanketh has sent more than 63 newsletters until today.
Sanketh gets his inspiration from everyone, freedom fighters, scientists, his parents, people he meets, “everyone has something good in them, which we can learn. That’s how I keep motivating myself. I keep myself inspired by other people around me.”
Sanketh Y.S: Challenges & Achievements
Sanketh came across people who never wanted to wear masks and were not ready to believe that anything like a pandemic has happened.
“People are not ready until you prove something, so making people understand that I’m fighting for a cause, I’m not selfish, I’m being selfless & trying to help people.” Sanketh felt that building trust, building belief capital, and making people believe that this was a good cause, was a challenge when he started with Wishboard.
Sanketh got together with 14 companies, and since he also wanted to take this initiative further in India, he even approached many Indian companies. There were only a few Indian companies that came forward to support the cause; others were US-based companies; that’s when he thought that instead of approaching other Indian companies, he must take help from different self-help groups.
“I collaborated with self-help groups & minority groups to manufacture masks.” This way, he was able to help people & generate employment opportunities and get the masks at a lower price. He distributed masks in 23 cities across India & the US. “I also did some online fundraisers for several animal shelters, even before I distributed masks.”
Sanketh received an appreciation letter and a lapel pin from his school, as well as he became a member of the leadership society. It isn’t easy to get into the leadership society because the college recognized him based on his leadership skills. Sanketh was also very happy as his parents were proud of him. Still, more than all of these achievements, it was the blessings & kind wishes of people who he could help is what Sanketh cherished the most, “more than any of the monetary gifts or citations it’s the blessings & kind words that people have told me.”
Sanketh, who has always been an avid traveler and loves photography learned few other things while traveling across a different country, “one is patience, and being open-minded to different things and learning how to talk to people, like if I want to tell something, I need to tell it in a way that conveys the idea without hurting anyone negatively.” Sanketh would further like to initiate other social causes around where he strives to ensure that education and knowledge are available for everyone, by starting small libraries to make books accessible for all.