An Asian Games silver medalist sailor, Sweta Shervegar, who is also a homeopath, is currently helping the daily wage workers in Mumbai. Daily wagers have been hit hard by this outbreak and since her sailing practice is on temporary halt due to the lockdown, the 29-year-old is now using her medical degree to treat the underprivileged. She has also been counselling and helping over 2,000 daily wage worker through a Navi Mumbai-based NGO.
“In this national medical emergency, since the complete focus of healthcare workers is mainly on COVID-19 patients, I wanted to ensure that people suffering from regular diseases, like heart diseases, sugar, BP, are not neglected,” Sweta told Rediff.com.
Sweta hails from a middle-class family in Mumbai. She overcame financial challenges and a burden of societal pressure to win 2018 Asian Games silver medal in sailing. She aimed to compete in the Olympic qualifiers which got postponed due to the pandemic.
What You Should Know
- Asian Games silver medalist sailor Sweta Shervegar has come forward to counsel daily wage workers who have been hit by the pandemic.
- Sweta Shervegar, who is also a homeopath, is treating daily wagers who are living in poor condition in Navi Mumbai and surrounding areas.
- I wanted to ensure that people suffering from regular diseases, like heart diseases, sugar, BP, are not neglected: Sweta Shervegar
Sweta, who is currently doing her internship from the Yerala Medical College in Navi Mumbai, said that she is volunteering with a few National Service Scheme (NSS) employees to reach out to the labourers. Together, they have been treating and counselling labourers living in poor condition in Navi Mumbai. Talking about helping them out with counseling support as well, Sweta said, “We got a list of such labourers from one of our contacts and have been providing counselling over phone to a number of daily wagers residing in Rabale, Ghansoli, Kopar Khairane, Turbhe, Nerul (all areas of Navi Mumbai), Mankhurd, Govandi (both suburbs in Mumbai).”
Sweta does volunteer work with a non-profit group, the Indian Ex- Defence Service Employees Chamber of Commerce and Industries. She has donated sanitary pads and soaps to the Asha Sadan Rescue Home and the Dongri Children’s Home, Open Your Arms Foundation shelter for children, all in south Mumbai.
Sweta was a member of the two-woman team that won the silver medal in the 49er FX Class at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
Working in and around south Mumbai
“After the Asian Games I wanted to pursue my goals in the medical field, but I was not able to completely focus because of my sporting commitments. I got the opportunity now,” Sweta further added.”I wanted to serve the community during this crisis,” she adds. “I was contacted by various organisations and I decided to help them out voluntarily.”
Talking about how she is guiding them to maintain social distancing, Sweta explained, “I go daily, area to area, not only for screening (of coronavirus cases), but also to provide general health facility to needy patients. I also work at a makeshift clinic, (working in and around south Mumbai) providing medical assistance to around 200 to 300 people daily from 9 am to 6 pm.”
She has been involved in community work for the last two months.”Last month, two families in my building tested positive for COVID-19. We were asked to quarantine ourselves for 14 days. It was a challenge, but we came through fine.”
“It will be wrong for me to say I was not afraid when I went out to work at the beginning,” she adds. “I was fearful, as it was not only me but my family that was also at risk of contamination, but with their support and my dedication, I overcame this fear.”