Article by Thara Gopalan
The COVID-19 pandemic gripping the World has left us in dismay. Social Media to the assistance of people in knowing about the pandemic and it’s impact globally. It also is helping people in the fight against Corona with spreading the information on preventive measures. The Social Media has been taken in the war rooms by Team @BharatSpandan very effectively and team uses Social Media to serve the Nation in times of distress.
Team Bharat Spandan have led causes such as crowd funding for patients, worked during floods and famine, helped sports men to participate in international events, Voter ID campaign across India and voter awareness campaigns etc. This has been achieved through the Social Media constructively. The team forms war rooms for the causes as the need comes up and it has been beneficial to the Nation. The positive manner of using Social Media is a lesson for the youth to learn today.
COVID-19 Virus shocked the World with the very order it has stood for. Reports of virus causing suffering and deaths in China made the Team aware of what lies ahead. Team Bharat Spandan started the work of raising awareness on Swachata and need for social distancing as early as January 2020. The nationwide lockdown announced by PM Narendra Modi on 25th March, 2020 also saw the setting of the War Room #SOSCorona by Team Bharat Spandan the very next day to help people affected by the lockdown. The War Room consisted of volunteers who were belonging to different organisations and different regions of the Nation and overseas. The plan was to get people send the issues they face due to lockdown which they need help. They can either contact the volunteers they know or share a message on twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #SOSCorona
War Room Strategy and Planning:
Team initially defined the objective of the war room and then the strategy to achieve that. In the planning stage, team defined 4 admin roles. First one is the group creating database of all available help on the ground, reliable individuals who can help, elected representative contacts across the nation, various orgs who is helping people affected by lockdown. Second role consists of people creating, mapping database of war room volunteers, including their contacts, orgs they represent, locations they belong and other finer details required for the smooth functioning of the war room. Third team worked on assigning issues, keeping track, updating and closure of the issues. Forth group worked on issue capture/ rationing, team management, networking and PR.
War Room Functioning:
The volunteers had to put out a message to relatives, friends, acquaintances on help to get with a message when they had needs without venturing out of homes. The messages received for help ranged from medicines to food, grocery, providing masks to healthcare services, counseling arranged for people with depression etc. Team Bharat Spandan found a solution to approximately 220+ cases. This was the result of the sheer dedication the team exhibited. The volunteers some of them having a first time volunteer work stood out with their excellence in solving cases and helping people. Some incidents are stated below.
The #HelpMedicos campaign was undertaken to support and motivate the health care workers. The Team also arranged donors for N95 masks, various medicines, 11 thermal scanners to Govt Primary Heath Care Centers. A vehicle was arranged for a doctor as she was facing difficulty in travel to hospital and back. Then safety kits with sanitizers, gloves, masks were shared with volunteers in the ground. These moments were the highlights of the atmosphere at the War Room who celebrated the extensive work of the health care personnel.
The case of approx 16 people including 3 women from Odisha stranded in Raipur, Chhattisgarh was worrisome. The War Room and the volunteer handling this case put in efforts quickly especially with women stranded. A challenge the team took on and the volunteer connected with the right person on ground. Help came soon enough in the form of local support groups through the ground volunteer. It ensured food and accommodation for the stranded people was taken care of. Another case was of a requirement for groceries and ration to 40 children at an Orphanage in Bengaluru. War Room volunteers provided the resolution in this case with establishing contact through the volunteers on ground. The grocery and ration was handed over at the orphanage. The thank you message from the orphanage was a special moment in the War Room.
The incident wherein a pregnant woman abandoned by her husband with little means to pay the hospital bills and needing help was heart rendering for the War Room. The volunteers spoke to the lady who had delivered a premature baby by then at Pvt hospital in Bengaluru. However the baby was in ICU and needed ventilator for a period of 4 weeks. The lady wished to be shifted to a Govt Hospital and needed an ambulance too. Local MP Task Force was contacted and with continuous efforts the lady shifted to Govt Hospital with ambulance charges being free. A substantial amount which was half the bill charges at hospital was borne by the Task force.
Highlevel statistics after 18 days of the war room:
• Total Number of Volunteers: 143 people (from 11 states & 3 countries outside India)
• Total No. of Issues handled: 233
• Total States benefitted: 16 states
• Total Number of people benefited: 4024
• Frontline staff (Medical staff and COVID teams) supported: 57
• Tribals Supported: Feeding 200 tribal families
The satisfaction in finding a much needed solution in each case for the War Room is emotional. The meaning of serving the Nation in the real sense contributed in each case. The distress of the stranded when they message for help changes to joy with the arrival of help and it motivates the volunteers. There is no role for differentiation in cases on basis of language, religion or caste. The request to be sent out by you is know anyone is in need of food, grocery or medicine then reach us with a message on Twitter or Facebook with hashtag #SOSCorona. It is a service to the Nation to Stay Home in this situation.
Team @BharatSpandan at the War Room #SOSCorona caters to the message requests of help and serves the Nation. We shall overcome this pandemic too and come forward to serve the Nation as and when the need arises empowered with Social Media.