The Covid-19 pandemic has changed and upended literally everything in our lives. This includes changes in our mental health to self-isolation, constant grief due to loss of family members and everyday’s hardship of waking up to a world so different compared to 2019. In an ideal world, Bangladesh would not have more than half of its population struggling to maintain their livelihood and income by staying indoors. Sadly, the reality is that our vulnerable community fights hard to maintain business as usual, especially as a huge percentage of our population is now below the poverty line. Experts, volunteers as well as activists have made it known how difficult it is to help our community amidst the lockdown. But that does not mean it is impossible. We should start small and try to do what is necessary and achievable to help our fellow citizens; before we know it, we are helping our community thrive. Here are a couple of ways we can lend a hand to our community.
1. Use of social media
In a time where Covid-19 information can be found so readily online, it is crucial to ensure that the information is correct. Only then should the individual post or share that information. This will help prevent panic and the spread of wrong information in our community. Try and give a reference or link where it is needed. Additionally, as currently, the government is giving vaccination in Bangladesh, it is important that those using social media should try and help those who are unvaccinated by sharing the link or any new information related to https://surokkha.gov.bd/. It is crucial for a sufficient percentage of our population to be vaccinated before we can attain Herd immunity. And this can only be done if our community knows when and where to get vaccinated.
2. Help the vulnerable
Not everyone can afford to stay indoors despite lockdown. While it is necessary to stop the spread of the virus, it is also important to remember that our domestic helpers are part of our community and may not have the same luxury to stay at home indefinitely. Always remember, charity begins at home. We should try and help those who are in our immediate vicinity, either by giving our staff some extra monetary bonus or by donating rations or supplies with long shelf-life. Many of our part-time domestic help are losing their jobs in this lockdown. This is particularly true in the case of our chauffeurs. Rather than termination of employment, it is better to utilise their help in other ways such as buying groceries from shops. At least in this way, they will still be able to earn some income.
Helping our community does not only stop at our home. Think big. Extend that generosity to others who might not directly be relevant to us but are part of our community. We can do this by donating to NGOs. During this pandemic, many of us can help feed vulnerable families that have lost their source of income as well as the homeless. We can help them by donating money to organisations. This includes the JAAGO Foundation, which helps by providing them with food, masks, soap, sanitisers as well as other necessities. Another innovative approach in terms of donation of food is One Taka Meal or EkTakayAhar. Other helpful measures include Mission Save Bangladesh by Sheba.xyz, PFDA - Vocational Training Center, APON Foundation etc. Not only that but we can even support the local food donations that many high school and university students are organising.
4. Cat or dog?
All jokes aside, whether you are a cat or dog person or even a lover of birds, it is important to support everyone in our community. Yes, that includes animals. Help by leaving out water or food for them in your backyard or outside your door. Besides food, use social media to help anyone if they lose their beloved animal. Maybe even adopt a couple of strays if possible. We need to raise awareness and stop violence towards animals in this pandemic, especially as many are prone to violence towards strays in this difficult time.
5. Support locals
While many might not be addicted to caffeine or sucker for cakes, it always helps when we support our local community. We can do this by ordering from small cafes and local restaurants that offer curbside pickup or contactless delivery. This not only minimises the chances of crowd gathering but also keeps business afloat. The lockdown is also a perfect time to try new dishes that we can order through Foodpanda, Pathao, Shohoz, etc. After which, why not take a gorgeous picture and share it on social media?
6. Sharing is caring
Many of us have different ways that we are dealing with Covid-19 and isolation. This can include online therapy, baking, arts and craft, watching shows and even meditation. We are constantly using social media, so why not use it to cheer people up? Those of us who are excellent bakers, let us drop our easy recipes so that it motivates others to try it. Join groups that share paintings, photographs and try out YouTube tutorials on how to paint-101. The world is full of opportunities and there is no shortage of entertainment. Make a list of what works for you and then share that list. Maybe someone out there will become motivated and enjoy similar activities. Volunteer and share information that can make someone else happy and that in return will help our community persevere in this pandemic.