From delivering food to the elderly to taking medicines to the sick, from fighting fake news on the Internet to helping people with their groceries, groups across the country have joined hands to identify willing people to create an army of volunteers who will take the fight against coronavirus to the streets.
Bhopal-based Vipin Tripathi, an engineering dropout, had launched his own startup in 2017 of providing video content for students. With the coronavirus outbreak, Tripathi has now found a novel way to redirect his database of 25 lakh students towards volunteering to fight the contagion.
“My website now opens with a form where willing students can fill up their names, their cities and the area of work that they want to volunteer in. We are calling it the CT Care program. They can volunteer to distribute food, share information via social media platforms and restrict rumours, make donations, work to care for animals and other things. Once the database reaches a certain number, we plan to give them to the local authorities,” said Tripathi.
In the past two days, CT Care has already received more than 11,000 registrations.
The 21-day lockdown has resulted in a major need for a workforce which could help out with basic services specially for the elderly and those unable to come out of their homes for essentials. Many state governments have started issuing curfew passes to volunteers to help with their movement.
A group of students from the premiere B-school Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon have launched a crowdsourcing platform for volunteers.
“We are collating a database so that they can be used in essential services. Depending on the need and availability the database can be referred to and will come handy. The details of volunteers are being sought on different online platforms as well as from calls being received. There are enough good samaritans, having a database will ease worries of where to look for them,” said Ramesh Kumar Wadhwa, who is contributing to the database.
The MDI volunteer program started on March 25 and it now has about 1,620 volunteers.
Three senior citizen couples in Gurgaon are also forming a database together which now has around 100 volunteers.
“We have posted calls for volunteers online and the database is being readied mostly for food and medicines distribution among the needy. We are also applying for curfew passes online for the volunteers and whoever is calling for help, we are passing on the information.
We cannot go out on our own but staying home is a luxury not all can afford,” said Poonam Kumar, one of the senior citizens who is creating the database.
While these efforts are being made on a small scale, on the central front, nearly 27,000 individuals and more than 1,100 organisations have registered themselves as volunteers with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) till last week.
The government has also opened registrations for volunteers on its mygov portal and is looking for volunteers in four categories health, communication, entrepreneurial and essential services. Over 89,000 individuals have already registered on the website so far.
India was brought under a 21-day lockdown on Tuesday midnight with an aim to check the spread of the coronavirus infection.
The positive coronavirus cases touched 1,071 on Monday with 29 deaths. PTI ASG/GJS AAR