Published: 30th June 2021
Helping Hands Organisation and Finastra are offering free COVID vaccines to the elderly and diff-abled
Helping Hands NGO and the financial company FInastra have come together to start a vaccination drive for the elderly and the differently-abled. Here's how they got started
Thiruvananthapuram-based NGO Helping Hands Organisation (H2O) and the financial company Finastra have been organising vaccination drives for some of the most vulnerable, but often most overlooked, segments of society. Nearly 300 families are beneficiaries of H2O's services. Among them are over 78 adults and children with disabilities. U
nder the organisation's Pratheeksha and Sanjeevani programmes respectively, over 92 students over the age of 18 from the coastal village of Menamkulam and the elderly from these households have been offered COVID vaccines, free of cost. ”We actually tried to get access to the vaccines early on," says Jolly Johnson, Founder of H2O who had approached a number of Kerala-based companies for support, "By connecting with one of the hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram, we got access to 650 Covishield vaccines. These were sponsored by the good people of Finastra, who are a banking and finance-based company."
JAB THAT: 650 vaccines were administered
Out of the 650 doses of vaccine, 50 per cent were offered to those from the coastal village. The organisations opine that such villages located in the outskirts or fringes of society are often overlooked when offering such critical services. Among those who received the jab were several members of an old-age home in the area. The Panchayat also supported the initiative by connecting them with other vulnerable residents.
"H20 and Finastra worked closely with the people of Menamkulam," says Jolly, "We had various ward members and volunteers who were a lot of help in these efforts. We conducted a three-day vaccination drive to cover our identified beneficiaries and other people that the local government recommended in the area. The fact that many elderly and differently-abled people were overlooked during these vaccination drives is something that no daily has bothered to write about. No one is discussing the need for such efforts. And while we are hopeful of entering a post-COVID era, these segments of society will need more help and attention."
Going forward, the organisations are hoping to introduce post-COVID rehabilitation services. The idea is to set up a 24-hour counselling service for people who have disabilities, who lack the sufficient funds to seek help right now. They have also introduced farming and horticulture in the homes of people since the second COVID wave to help them stay active and occupied during these trying times.