The COVID-19 pandemic, if not anything, brought out the best in us. Once these harrowing times are behind us, and we sit in our drawing rooms with friends and family, we will recall how we were helped and supported by one another. While Hindi film actor Sonu Sood will be remembered for his role in helping migrant workers reach their homes during the chaotic first lockdown last year, our ASHA workers will be remembered for their relentless service in rural areas. Be it through donations, food camps, awareness campaigns, or just being responsible citizens and not stepping out, each of us made a difference.
Who will also not be forgotten are the countless many who were addressing the desperate cries for hospital beds and oxygen cylinders during the second wave of the pandemic earlier this year. We are now gearing up for the third wave, and we know we have more to give to each other than we had ever anticipated.
At Video Volunteers, we curated stories of COVID warriors who showed us that we are more than the sum of our problems. In one of our videos, Vishnu Baury, a resident of Bishnupur in West Bengal, is seen travelling miles the whole day on a poster-adorned rickshaw spreading awareness about the virus. He lost his job as a rickshaw puller during the pandemic, so did his wife. But he thought it was a bigger call to go out and educate people, reports Avijit Adhikary. “Going out every day and distributing pamphlets has become an addiction,” Bauri says of the task he has taken upon himself for over a year. His wife, though, wishes they find a job soon so they don’t have to go hungry.
Another one of our videos shows superhuman level stuff. Our own wonder woman, Community Correspondent Rohini Pawar, gathered all the powers in her rural universe to turn a primary school into a COVID hospital at Walhe village in Pune district. Walhe village in Purandar block was one of the worst hit areas during the second wave of the pandemic. Pawar would receive frantic calls for oxygen, Remdesivir medicines, and beds but she often found herself helpless. The main hospital was tens of kilometers away and reaching them was expensive. That was it, she thought, and decided to bring the hospital to the people. She did it! The hospital is now operational, the village ready for the third wave. “Our effort is to ensure patients don’t reach the second stage of COVID,” Pawar said. We salute her.
These stories are few among many. Small efforts, important efforts, are still going on in every corner of the country. Video Volunteers has more to say so watch this space.
This article is part of a series called Second Wave Diaries that documents how the COVID 19 Second Wave affected the lives of millions in the hinterland and highlights stories of despair, hope, and everything in between across India after their migration from tier cities and towns. Read the other articles in the series by clicking the links below.
The slum dwellers of Pestom Sagar Area, Chembur, Mumbai have developed some really thick resilience. Their slums have been tossed and toppled away so many times that their bitterness is turning to rage now.
The ASHA workers are instituted by the ‘ National Rural Health Mission.’ They are at the bottom of the pyramid - the interface between the community and Indian Public Health Delivery System, the first point of contact for millions of Indians to health care.