On Diwali, You Can Help the Family of a COVID Hero Who Died For Us

Ravindra was a COVID warrior, he died serving others. Now his family has no source of income. You can help them.

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Location Producer: Padmini Vaidyanathan

Cameraperson: Sanjoy Deb

Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia

“That day, it was my father’s birthday. I wished him ‘Happy Birthday’ over a phone call. I asked him, ‘Will you come soon?’ He replied that he would come soon. But he never came.”
Pranali Sapkale, Late Ravindra Sapkale’s Daughter

Little Pranali still waits for her father to return home, since he promised her that he would. The 9-year-old from Dharavi still finds it tough to believe that her father is no more.

It’s an endless wait for a closure for Yogita Sapkale and her two children Pranay and Pranali.

The Sapkales, Ravindra, his wife and two children, lived a happy and content life in their small house in Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums.

Late Ravindra Sapkale with his wife Yogita and two children.
Late Ravindra Sapkale with his wife Yogita and two children.
(Photo: The Quint)
“We live in a small house, but I was content and happy with him. We had no issues. We both wanted a good education and a great future for our children.”
Yogita Sapkale, Late Ravindra Sapkale’s Wife

Pranay wants to be a cricketer and Pranali, a police inspector.

Death of a COVID Warrior

At the peak of the COVID outbreak, Dharavi was one of the worst affected areas in Mumbai. A ghetto of the poor and the under-privileged, Dharavi was home to the suddenly jobless. Even getting a single meal a day was a struggle.

So Ravindra and his friends took it upon themselves to feed these people, stepping out almost every day, distributing free food.

“I tried to stop him from going out. I told him that coronavirus is dangerous and what would we do if something happens to him. But he did not pay any heed. He told me that he has to go because there are families who are starving, and he has to deliver the food.”
Pranali Sapkale, Late Ravindra Sapkale’s Daughter
Late Ravindra Sapkale in Sion Hospital.
Late Ravindra Sapkale in Sion Hospital.
(Photo: The Quint)

Ravindra got infected in early May. He was hospitalised for almost a month and a half. On 15 June, he lost the battle to COVID, he was declared dead.

“The children could not even see their father’s face one last time. His body was directly taken from the hospital for cremation.”
Yogita Sapkale, Late Ravindra Sapkale’s Wife

The Children Stare at a Bleak Future

The family needs at least Rs 10,000 a month for paying rent and education of the two children. With Ravindra’s death, they just didn’t lose the only earning member, but also the hope of a secure future.

Pranay, Yogita and Pranali outside their home in Dharavi.
Pranay, Yogita and Pranali outside their home in Dharavi.
(Photo: The Quint)
“His wish was that I study well and become a cricketer. But when I got to know how expensive my dream is, I moved away from it. But my father assured me that he will manage everything and asked me to just focus on my dream and even promised to get me admitted into a cricket academy. Now there is no one to have my back. Who will spend so much money to support my dream of becoming a cricketer?”
Pranay Sapkale, Late Ravindra Sapkale’s son

All her life, Yogita Sapkale has been a homemaker, hardly stepping out from the security of her small home. Ravindra took care of everything with the salary he got working in a cable company. After 3 surgeries, her health doesn’t allow her to do any strenuous work.

“It’s essential for me to work even if I have to take medicine. I ought to work for my children. I have to show courage so that I can provide a good life to my children.”
Yogita Sapkale, Late Ravindra Sapkale’s Wife

Here's How You Can Help

This Diwali, you have the chance to do something for Pranay and Pranali.

Your gift, your donation, can secure their future and make a huge difference in their lives.

The Quint's 'Dil Wali Diwali' Campaign.
The Quint's 'Dil Wali Diwali' Campaign.
(Photo: The Quint)

Be a part of The Quint’s ‘Dil Wali Diwali’ and give the gift of a better life to these two children.

Trust us, you’ll feel good.

To know more on how to donate, write to us – editor@thequint.com

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