The year 2019-20 was one full of challenges and losses, losing lives and economy, occurred by the COVID-19 pandemic that came in an unplanned and unprecedented way. But in other terms it also was a year that left us with many lessons and taught us the importance of closed ones, resources and freedom. Be it the art of utilising the best of the limited resources at hand or the strength of unity in solving a problem or in not wasting or overusing things but saving it and helping others, we learnt so many lessons this year that taught us that perseverance is the key to go through the toughest of times.
Envisioning the challenges that will be posed after the end of the nationwide lockdown, Team Citizens Foundation started the 'Line of Life' campaign across all the states we operate i.e. Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam, Sikkim and Meghalaya and demarcated public spaces with social distancing circles over a period of several months. We either used reusable tires to temporarily demarcate testing camp set ups or repainted demarcations in busy spaces every fortnight. This campaign took ahead the need of being aware and socially distancing ourselves whenever out in public.
While a part of our team worked on the ground, our health teams in the Mobile Medical Units (MMUs), hospitals and other projects in the states of Bihar, Meghalaya and Jharkhand, fought COVID-19 in the frontline. In the tribal district of Sahibganj in Jharkhand, a 50 bedded hospital operated by Team Citizens Foundation was converted into a dedicated COVID-19 facility by the district administration while the teams of MMUs operated by Citizens Foundation, on behalf of the state government, were roped in for testing people across Jharkhand. In Meghalaya too, our team in hospitals operated by Citizens Foundation not only worked on testing and awareness creation, but also reached out to the community and the nearby Border Security Force units with sanitization kits in the peak of the situation.
Due to the nationwide lockdown for fighting against the spread of COVID-19, Team Citizens Foundation found a rise in demands for at-home and doorstep services from the very initial days and with respect to the same demand we roped in it a team of doctors from Jharkhand and Meghalaya for a unique initiative. This initiative is a helpline named 'Hello Doctor' started by Citizens Foundation on April 7, 2020 World Health Day, which has a team of six MBBS, one BHMS and Ayurveda doctor for solving health problems of patients out there over phone calls. From symptoms of seasonal sickness to serious medical issues, the patients can ring the doctors between 10 am to 12 pm and from 3 pm to 6 pm for medical advice and consultation. The doctors, all a part of Team Citizens Foundation, volunteered to help people solve their queries on the shared helpline numbers so that people don’t have to step out of their homes for general medical advice. The helpline has so far received more than 450 calls from different parts of Jharkhand, Assam and Meghalaya.
For efforts to show Parivartan, there is a lot of planning, hard work and diligence put into the same. Damaged in the floods in every year, 10 government schools in the Barpeta and Kamrup Rural district of Assam were taken up for a refurbishment project by Citizens Foundation under HDFC Bank Parivartan. The schools, converted into state of the art facilities with smart classrooms now stand strong and well equipped to enlighten the minds of tomorrow.
Kamrup(r) and Barpeta districts are the worst flood affected districts of Assam. With every seasonal flood comes massive destruction and the school buildings in the area bear the brunt of the furies of nature over the years. The floods of monsoon 2019 were infamously destructive, leaving behind a trail of debris behind and working on the ground, Team Citizens Foundation realized the need for refurbishment of the schools damaged in the wake of the flood horrors. This, with the support of HDFC Parivartan grew into what was a subsequent flood relief and development programme (FRDP) which included the idea of repairing and refurbishment of 10 government schools in Kamrup(R) and Barpeta districts. A step towards helping the children realize normalcy and find a way towards improved access to education, all the refurbished school were also given a makeover with state of the art Smart Classes facility, drinking water access, toilets, libraries and learning opportunities for kids. From training on adolescent health to awareness on hand washing tactics, the look and feel of these schools have been transformed.