With every problem comes an opportunity as well, as a complimentary feature.
Most of the time we get so perturbed with the problem itself and focus so hard to find a solution that we miss out on the opportunity aspect.
COVID-19 pandemic is a universal problem which the whole human race is facing right now. Lockdown is one measure which has been found to be quite effective to reduce the chances of spread of infection and thus being used as the most efficacious weapon in the war the world is waging against the Coronavirus pandemic.
We at 'Voice of World' have implemented the Lockdown directives of the Government to a major extent.
To successfully fulfil the lockdown conditions we have shifted most of the underprivileged kids to our centre at Saltighat (near Bibirhat, Dist: South 24 Parganas) and few to the Thakurpukur centre. This centre at Saltighat has boundary wall along its perimeter and the Thakurpukur centre is an independent three storey building. Thus it has been easier for us to isolate the whole lot of beneficiaries inside the campus at Saltighat & Thakurpukur. To minimise the chances of infection we also have strictly put in place quite a few protocols at the centres.
No one is allowed to leave or enter the locations barring emergencies and supply of daily provisions. Hygiene protocols like washing of hands multiple times and cleaning of the whole premises are very high on the priority list.
We, few of the senior officals, also decided to stay at Saltighat along with the children so that their safety and security are directly monitored. A total of 160 residents have been isolated at the Saltighat centre, Thakurpukur centre & Main centre (Behala Sakherbazar) due to the Lockdown. There are another 140 beneficiaries staying at the other centres located in the other parts of the state and country.
As most of the children are differently-abled with quite a few of them have low immunity, we had taken a call to shift most of the children to the Saltighat centre and few to Thakurpukur centre and thus effectively isolate them from the crowd. Moreover Saltighat being situated in the outskirts of Kolkata with almost rural settings and also having quite a bit of vacant space has helped the cause.
With all these steps taken, we did not have much work to do apart from monitoring of the proper implementation of the lockdown protocols. This is where we could identify the opportunity of utilising our stay in the same premises along with the children.
Keeping in mind the Social Distancing norms, we started various activities involving the children primarily related to their Education, Physical fitness & Hygiene.
A Special Daily Routine has been setup for this Lockdown period.
Children are awakened at 4.45 am…… Morning Prayers at 5.00 am……Physical Training session at 5.30 am for 30 mins…… Hot drinks & biscuit at 6.00 am… Agricultural Training from 6.15 to 7.15 ……. Group Tuition from 7.30 am….. Morning Tiffin from 9.30 am to 10 am….. Tuition (post tiffin session) from 10 am to 11.30 am……11.30 am to 1.00 pm Housekeeping activities…. 1.00 to 1.45 pm personal hygiene activities…. Lunch from 1.45 pm to 2.30 pm…… Movie Screening from 2.45 to 4 pm…… Non-contact sports (Badminton, Cricket, Caroms, Chess etc.) & Dance/ Music Training from 4 to 5.45 pm…… Evening Prayers at 6 pm…….. Evening tuitions from 6.45 pm to 8.30 pm…… Dinner from 8.30 pm to 9.15 pm…… Lights put off at 10 pm.
Thus, all the components of healthy ideal living like Education, Prayer, Sports, Cultural Training have been included in the daily routine so that there are adequate opportunities for the children to get holistic development.
However, efforts are being made to make the children aware of the social distancing norms and its implications so that they voluntarily comply for the sake of their own safety.
Though we are finding it difficult to meet the financial and daily essential commodity requirement but till date we have been able to keep the children unscathed in this war against Corona Virus. Perhaps this is a disparate war where the capabilities of the human race is falling short that too against a tiny virus. The current lockdown situation is an eye opener for us and we all need to learn a lot from this and at the same time prepare ourselves for a completely changed scenario post Covid-19. With the economy getting ruined, the worst sufferers would be the underprivileged section of the society and the organizations who depend on public charity for sustenance.
In this trying situation we need to remain positive and put up a brave front so that the morale of the children are not affected and they remain on growth path thus paving way for a better tomorrow. In fact, we are striving to remain positive in a situation when our fund situation has crashed and whatever donations we have received in recent times being not good enough to meet the basic requirement of the 300 residential beneficiaries for long. With the economy nose diving, the future for these kids also look bleak.
However, all these factors have not deterred us at ‘Voice of World’ from looking from opportunities where we can add value to the lives of these kids and exactly that is what we are doing at the Saltighat centre. With no visitors coming or us not leaving the premises, we have a lot of time at our disposal to be actually involved in the daily activities of the children.
Trust me - our direct involvement has already started yielding results.
Perhaps the development of the kids during this lockdown sojourn is the only silver lining in the whole problem we are facing.
It also taught us one thing – not to just get bogged down while facing a problem but while finding solutions, also look for opportunities that comes on the way. It actually works…. and we at ‘Voice of World’ are having a first-hand experience.
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