Ahead of her 40th birthday, actor Dia Mirza, who is also UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, has decided to donate a lakh each day over a span of 40 days to the families of Van Rakshaks, who died due to COVID-19.
"On my birthday this year, I would like to take the opportunity to request all those who may want to send me flowers or gifts to instead make a donation to WTI to help our Van Rakshaks. There could be no better birthday gift! Your gift will help support the bereaved families of India's 'Guardians of the Wild' who lost their lives to Covid 19 while protecting our natural heritage. Beginning with my 40th birthday on 9 December, for the next 40 days, I will donate a lakh each day and hope that you all will contribute alongside me to the best of your abilities as we seek to maximize our collective impact," she said.
Dia's aim is to cover 80 families.
"Our guardians of the wild, our Van Rakshaks, risk their lives in service to nature. They often fall to accidents in the toughest of terrain, inclement weather, attacks by wild animals or poachers. When the second wave of COVID-19 tore through the country leading to nationwide lockdowns, these men and women were out patrolling our country's forests on foot. Between March and June 2021, when most of us stayed at home, India lost more than 500 of these conservation heroes to Covid-19," she added.
"Most of them were young, between 30 and 50 years of age, and had committed their lifetime to preserving India's wildlife. The sudden demise of so many young, committed people is not only heart-wrenching but a blow to nature conservation. The least we can do now is to recognize their service and stand in support of the young families they leave behind, who have suffered the biggest blow," Dia said.
Dia will turn 40 this December 9.