#BeatTheVirus: The challenges ahead
Whether it is the fear of a second wave of the virus or the disruption of livelihoods, there is still uncertainty in India’s hinterlands. But the volunteers and villagers have experienced that by uniting we can beat the odds.
Riding through the rutted roads of the villages in Coimbatore district, Vishnu still goes door-to-door to teach the residents Simha Kriya – a simple yogic process designed by Sadhguru to boost immunity and enhance wellbeing. Storm clouds and heavy rains are not going to dampen the young volunteer’s resolve to reach out to every resident and ensure they are nourished, secure and stocked with Nilavembu Kashayam, the herbal drink they love so dearly.
The efforts of Vishnu and other volunteers like him have given rural communities a ray of hope in this battle to #BeatTheVirus. Even though it may yet look to the world as if normality is resuming in these rural communities, Vishnu knows that dark clouds still loom around the horizon. As there are still mounting concerns about the spread of the virus in these regions and the impact that it can have, volunteers and locals are uniting to face the challenges ahead.
Virus not going anywhere
While nearly three lakh Coronavirus cases have been recorded in Tamil Nadu, there are more than 50,000 active COVID-19 cases in the state, signalling the battle is far from over. According to Dr. Lalit Kant, former head of the Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases Division, Indian Council of Medical Research, the country has not even come close to reaching its peak of Coronavirus cases. A second wave of the virus is also a possibility, he says.
Given the endless challenges, the villagers have stood resolute from the very start and followed the advice of Isha Outreach volunteers on health and hygiene safety measures. But they are aware that the virus is far from gone and they all have a part to play in keeping safe.
“The people here have become aware of what’s happening in their communities and they are always looking out for each other,” Vishnu said.
Unlike urban areas, testing for the virus could be a more serious issue in villages owing to inadequate testing infrastructure. In this post-pandemic world, the fear of a spike in cases is always on the minds of the people. Isha volunteers went door-to-door, urging the locals to enhance their physical fitness and mental wellbeing with Simha Kriya. To help patients combat the virus, an isolation ward was set up at the Primary Health Centre in Pooluvapatti.
Kashayam, a go-to drink for both old and young residents, helped them get healthier. Premkumar, a resident of Booluvampatti, said: “We are all feeling healthier and physically stronger. It is helping resolve some chronic diseases and digestive problems.” An elderly lady from Pachapalayam, who requested us to continue delivering Kashayam, said: “My blood pressure was high due to a leg pain, but after having the Kashayam I feel much better.”
Nearly 70% of our country’s population reside in rural areas, with over 50 percent of men and about 70% women engaged in agricultural activity according to government data. With daily routines disrupted due to the pandemic, many locals were robbed of their livelihoods and are facing numerous uncertainties about their future. In the month of July, the unemployment rate in Tamil Nadu declined to 8.1%, according to CMIE.
Now, through thick and thin, the residents of these villages are beginning to focuss on finding a way out and getting back on their feet as the lockdown restrictions are being eased up. Many of them have returned to work but quite a few are still uncertain about what the future holds for them.
What we learnt?
The pandemic has unleashed a shift in the attitude of the people in rural areas like never before. When the going gets tough, you can always count on them to be your tower of strength. The children here, fully aware about the Coronavirus and its knock-on effects, rose to the occasion like champions through acts of compassion, generosity and selflessness. Farmers, farmer produce organisations and village leaders played their part with kind-hearted offerings of food supplies.
It’s still early days but volunteers, both young and old, stepped up to the challenges and risks thrown at them. Everybody seems to have understood just how the smallest of our choices can result in unseen consequences for others. Now, we must make sure this newfound community spirit and solidarity does not fray. With the battle far from won, you can continue to support those who need it the most by making contributions towards our relief efforts. We also urge you to follow our pages to continue receiving updates about our work on-ground.
To follow Isha’s efforts to rejuvenate rural communities, like this page: Fb.com/ActionForRuralRejuvenation
Support our efforts to rejuvenate rural communities by making a donation today at: ishaoutreach.org/beatthevirus