30 Apr 2021  |   04:01am IST

The real positives, during these COVID time

Volunteers are assisting on an individual basis or as part of a non-governmental body. There are people all over the state pitching in with time and money to help those less fortunate
The real positives, during these COVID time

Ajit John

These are times that expose

the shortcomings in one’s soul. Or provide the opportunity to showcase all that is good in one’s being. The virus has touched everything and changed the way one looks at life. The people who are facing a really bad time are those who live alone in homes in Goa. Many are elderly and suffer ailments that come with age. People have come together to help in large numbers. Many are part of groups that have come together to help people in need.

A call went out to help two senior citizens who were willing alone in South Goa. Their family living in Mumbai sadly could not send them any money because they had lost their jobs. Volunteers in the vicinity prepared a food basket and dropped it off at their residence. They checked up with them at regular intervals and ensured they were safe. The Goa Humanitarian helpline which came into existence when the first lockdown was imposed has been doing yeoman service. Nupura Hautamaki who was involved in the efforts then said they noticed requests increasing a month ago from individuals and elderly couples seeking help. She said “There are volunteers who are taking the time out of their lives to get people medications and food if necessary. This is happening all over the state.”

Some organisations like the Confederation of Indian Industry are doing their bit. Deepankar Bargali Head of CII office Goa said they had just received a list of requirements from the GMC like Antigen kits, gloves, and masks. The same had been sent to companies who had expressed their interest in helping. He said, “They are waiting for the funds which will be cleared in a couple of days, and then the necessary equipment will be supplied”. He said last year Godrej had supplied gloves, masks, and PPE kits. The CII he said gave Oximeters last year. ”

Shruti Chaturvedi has been involved in coordinating activities as part of the Whatsapp group Covid Care Goa. She gave a blunt assessment of the situation when she said all the assistance that was being provided by individuals and not corporate. She said “The individual seems to have a heart and they are helping out. It is all a citizen’s initiative. ”

Shruti said they had just ordered Oxygen concentrators for the GMC hospital and the North Goa district hospital. The group conducted a crowdfunding initiative and collected Rs 10 lakhs. These oxygen concentrators are manufactured in Israel and cost Rs 1 lakh plus GST. 193 people donated money for this initiative. Some donated as little as Rs. 50 and others as much as Rs 2 lakhs. She said there was a need for a lot more oxygen cylinders and oxygen kits. Shruti said, “We have allocated certain amount money for people with BPL cards. Many of whom cannot afford hospitalization. People have donated monies for this”. The campaign she said was moving along quite fine with people willing to spend for people. She said one had to pay Rs 5000 deposit to take an oxygen cylinder which would have to be refilled every day. This amount she said could not be paid by a lot of people and these funds that were collected would certainly help them.

She went on to say that with regards to helping people there was a large number of volunteers who were keeping track of people with needs and taking them to the doctor or the medical care centre. They were also keeping a track of people who had covid and had to isolate at home. There were people coordinating with home chefs, pharmacies, and other services to ensure these people did not slip through the cracks. It was a large endeavor that was being coordinated smoothly by people devoted to the task at hand.

Every similar situation in history has witnessed a large number of volunteers rising up and helping out. Covid in India is seeing something similar. When a account is written one day, their heroic effort will be recognized.


Iddhar Udhar