Journalist & Photographer Rubina A Khan’s PPE fundraiser in Mumbai has been supported by industrialist Ness Wadia, businesswoman Natasha Poonawalla (Executive Director – Serum Institute of India, Pune), filmmaker Karan Johar (Dharma Productions), actor Amrita Arora, film costumer Ana Singh, art advisor Wendy A Coutinho, businesswoman Eesha Sukhi and jeweller Siddharth Kasliwal (Director – The Gem Palace, Jaipur) with generous financial contributions. The fundraiser has received contributions from Queenie Singh, art patron Shalini Passi and filmmaker Gaurav Chawla and 200 safety eyewear have been purchased from the money contributed by them.
Ever since 53 press personnel tested positive for the Coronavirus in Mumbai three weeks ago, journalist and photographer, Rubina A Khan couldn’t stop thinking about the health risks the Mumbai media were being exposed to, reporting on the virus, whilst she stayed safely at home, in quarantine, on government orders. Everyone was lauding the first responders and medical teams, the police, the hygienists and the cleaners, and rightly so, but nobody seemed to be talking about the photographers, videographers and journalists that were bringing in the news and visuals of the virus and the heart wrenching devastation and strife across the world, every single day, by going out and reporting from containment zones, risking their own lives, and livelihoods.
“A conversation with a photographer on Coronavirus news duty every single day since March 2020, impelled me into thinking about the health risks our media community faced, being exposed to the virus on the job, whilst I stayed safely at home, in quarantine and the lockdown, on government orders. On hearing about people I have known, and worked with, going out to work in red zones and containment areas for the coverage, I just had to do something that would protect them from the virus. I feel that the risks the media personnel are taking carrying out their duties on the job, which is their livelihood in this uncertain, broken economy, are not being recognised for the extremely important and essential role they are playing in this pandemic. Everything we know about the virus is through the eyes and lenses of the media as we are all in lockdown and quarantined at home – their photographs and stories are telling us how the new world looks and the steps that are being taken to contain the virus and flatten the curve. I spearheaded a fundraiser to purchase Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) as a preventive measure for Mumbai’s news photographers and media personnel covering the Corona crisis on the front lines, by reaching out to my network on April 23, 2020 for contributions as a collective, humane responsibility to shield them. I am ever so thankful to the people – from all walks of life in India – that responded empathetically towards the fundraiser with their fiscal largesse like industrialist Ness Wadia, businesswoman Natasha Poonawalla (Executive Director, Serum Institute of India, Pune), filmmaker Karan Johar (Dharma Productions), actor Amrita Arora, film costumer Ana Singh, art advisor Wendy A Coutinho, businesswoman Eesha Sukhi and jeweller Siddharth Kasliwal (Director, The Gem Palace, Jaipur).
The PPE’s reached Mumbai and were distributed to the media personnel. These PPE’s are certified by SITRA – South India Textile Research Association, Coimbatore for fabric and garment – and are for one-wear only. Since then, the fundraiser has received contributions from Queenie Singh, art patron Shalini Passi and filmmaker Gaurav Chawla. The kindness of all the contributors should be highlighted and not go unnoticed as anonymous benefactors, because talking about them will go on to inspire many others to come forward in this crisis to help each other in our country. Every contributor has stepped up as a humanitarian to help our media community, and that is reason enough to laud any helping hand. All of them have made this little fundraiser of mine a bigger success that I ever envisaged it to be and we, the media community, are ever so grateful for their kindness. The PPE’s and safety eyewear bought with the funds raised so far have been distributed to the Mumbai media personnel and I am ordering the second round of PPE’s now. I intend to keep raising funds to provide the PPE’s for as long as they are needed during the pandemic.”