The second wave of COVID-19 has brought to the fore several cracks in the healthcare system of the country. Apart from the lack of resources available, there have been several cases of sexual abuse against women patients as reported by media outlets.
To address this gender-based discrimination, Ninebee Foundation started Stree Safe - a free ambulance service in Pune run by women, for women. Their motivation to start this service grew stronger, after there were reports of abuse of unaccompanied women, while they took a relative to a hospital in an ambulance.
For women, by women
Currently, the service has two women drivers, while five other women are being trained in self-defence and martial arts in Kondhwa, before they officially join the fleet.
Their initial plan was to use a second-hand Omni van, but a medical clearance was needed for the same. That’s why they began using a vehicle that is already pre-registered as an ambulance.
The Foundation has already set up a fundraiser to buy three more ambulances. The plan is to have all kinds of support systems in the vehicle, including a ventilator, in order to provide immediate support to COVID-19 patients.
Once the service scales up a bit in Pune, the team plans to expand it to Delhi.
“Awareness of the service was carried out on social media, after which we began to get two to three calls every day. The women are relieved that they do not have to fear for their safety,” says Amarpreet Singh, founder and director, Ninebee Foundation.
The Foundation has also been working to provide food, oxygen cylinders and concentrators to COVID-19 patients.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)