Some of these can be done without leaving your couch
As the coronavirus spread continues in India, we are grappling with uncertainty and adapting to a newer way of life staying at home. The long weeks without stepping out might have induced a sense of helplessness about the situation at hand. Don’t despair! Though it may not feel like staying home, staying informed, washing hands, caring for self and loved ones are acts of bravery, they are the best we can do to protect our communities and indirectly the world at large.
However, if you wish to be more helpful, here are some ways to make a difference.
Donate to the less privileged
While most of us have the means to get through the situation comfortably, a vast majority are not so fortunate. Crores of Indians who are a part of the informal sector such as factory workers, street vendors, construction workers, tailors, cleaners, auto drivers, and many more have lost their livelihood with no food or money to sustain themselves and their families. If you have the means you can help out by donating money, ration, meals, safety kits, soaps, sanitizers, masks, etc through a trusted NGO or in your locality or city.
Reach out to your helpers
Many domestic helpers such as maids, cooks, drivers, guards, etc provide essential services and help make our everyday lives better. In these trying times, they are among the hardest hit with no work and loss of income. This is the best time to help them and also the easiest group to reach out to. Besides raising their awareness about the virus and ways to protect themselves, consider providing them with necessary food items, masks, safety kits, etc by pooling in resources as a community.
Check on elderly neighbours
Most communities have senior citizens who stay alone and are most vulnerable. Due to social isolation and without their domestic help, they may be finding it difficult to manage. A little help can go a long way. You can assist them by checking on them frequently, delivering or placing online orders for food items, medicines and other essentials.
Support small local businesses and farmers
Small businesses and farmers are struggling as the supply chain of goods is disrupted. Many farmers are forced to throw away or destroy produce, fruits and vegetables as markets are closed and there are no buyers. Some are reaching out to nearby cities and offering delivery and heavy discounts for produce through WhatsApp groups, growers associations, community representatives, etc. Harvesting Farmer Network for instance.
Buy from farmers, local shops, restaurants, bakeries, etc and support them during these tough times they have thin margins and tight budgets. Their livelihoods are dependent on your support. This is the best time to go local. Spread the word on social media too!
Volunteer (remotely) if possible
There are people who are working on the ground and online to help facilitate relief efforts by NGOs. The city police have issued passes for some. You can physically volunteer for tasks such as food packaging, distribution, etc if you wish to while adhering to social distancing and following all safety measures stringently. Or you can offer online support from home, coordinating between beneficiaries and relief teams, helping them raise funds and so on.
Lastly, stay in touch with family through video chats, calls, etc as social isolation can be really difficult. Be safe, stay healthy and take care of yourself and loved ones. We shall get through this together.
GiveIndia is a 20-year-old NGO, registered under section 25 of the Companies Act. Our partner NGOs, who have the necessary permissions from the government to work on the ground during the lockdown, ensure that people who are in the greatest need receive at least minimal help – and this is made possible through online donations.