#BeatTheVirus: The journey so far
In the battle to #BeatTheVirus, the locals, volunteers, kitchen workers, farmers and village leaders reminded us about the importance of serving others. From the distribution of food, medical supplies and Nilavembu Kashayam by our volunteers, to kind-hearted contributions from donors, farmers and locals, the spirit of community triumphed in this Coronavirus epoch.
With the number of Coronavirus cases in India rapidly crossing the one million mark, the pandemic has posed huge challenges and dangers to the rural parts of the country. Tackling the crisis was more than a social distancing issue for some of these rural communities. Many vulnerable groups, including children, pregnant women, elders and migrant workers, were stranded without any means to nourish and protect themselves.
When the villages of Coimbatore were exposed to the disease, the locals and Isha Outreach volunteers found a new mission: uniting to #BeatTheVirus. Isha volunteers, under the guidance of Sadhguru, ventured out to these villages to help arrest the spread of the virus and support the rural communities in these challenging times.
Coordinated efforts were initiated by collating inputs from the volunteers on the ground, government agencies, primary health centres and community leaders soon after the lockdown was announced this year.
Undaunted by the difficulties caused by the crisis, volunteers, both young and old, took on various duties to ease the troubles of the less fortunate. Even working professionals - Prathab and Vishnu - devoted their time to help rural communities and ensure that the elderly were given special care.
“Many times, the senior citizens express their gratitude and shed tears of joy whenever we help them. We know the problems and fears for the future – but we also know there is hope that they will come out of this stronger,” said Vishnu.
A number of student volunteers from nearby colleges devoted their time and commitment to join the Isha volunteers. They helped in serving food, packing meals, transporting food packets and distributing essentials to senior citizens and others who are vulnerable.
The spirit of giving
Despite many hardships, the crisis united farming groups and rural communities like never before. At our community kitchens, or mandapams, donations kept pouring in. A few women from Sri Ram garden offered large supplies of rice, sugar, pepper and other food essentials.
Local Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO) provided large consignments of wheat, jaggery and rice. Generous farmers from Narasipuram, Chellappa Goundan Puthur, Nallurvayal and many other villages pitched in with liberal donations of tomatoes, bottle gourd, fruits and vegetables.
Helping the vulnerable
With so many lives indefinitely upended, Isha Outreach volunteers made it their mission to uplift the vulnerable in rural areas. As part of Isha’s multi-pronged plan, the volunteers provided food and medical supplies, spread awareness, and supported farmers to sell their produce.
The volunteers also provided food and Nilavembu Kashayam to migrant workers from West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand, who were stranded in several villages of Coimbatore. They reached out to senior citizens and offered them nutrition and a helping hand. To heighten public awareness on the pandemic, the volunteers, in association with the state health department and the local police, distributed informative videos and leaflets.
Saving our saviours
In this battle against the deadly virus, keeping our saviours safe was essential. Local volunteers, medical professionals, sanitation staff, police personnel, ration shop workers, municipal workers, farmers and porters were provided protection kits containing face masks, sanitizers and other medical supplies. An isolation ward at the Primary Health Centre, Pooluvapatti, was set up to help patients fight the virus.
The Kashayam craving
It did not take long for Nilavembu Kashayam – a herbal drink to boost immunity – to have an impact on these rural communities. Our volunteers distributed Kashayam across numerous villages and also explained its health benefits to the people. In these villages, Kashayam proved to be a go-to drink for both old and young residents. Interestingly, it is always the children who are the first to queue up for the drink. The vibrant energy of the children helped inspire many adults and ensured they got their daily dose of Kashayam.
Despite the many challenges, rural communities are uniting to rally in solidarity in tackling the pandemic. Even as life may be returning to normalcy for some people, the pandemic is far from over. While the future still remains uncertain for many, we must stay united, stay safe and continue to support those who need it the most.
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