Many students are now taking up frontline tasks to contribute their bit in COVID-19 relief work

Among the many frontline workers, students from different universities and colleges across Bengaluru are undertaking tremendous efforts to fight the pandemic upfront
Representative Image
Representative Image

Every crisis is an opportunity. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. The current health crisis has opened a window of opportunities to frontline workers to advocate wellness and responsibility in the society. Among the many frontline workers, students from different universities and colleges across Bengaluru are undertaking tremendous efforts to fight the pandemic upfront. Although juggling between academics and social service is a challenge, the crisis has presented itself as an opportunity for them to open up to community services, small or big. From networking to delivering and civic policing to call centre management students are gaining experience in frontline activities with voluntary involvement. Most of these students also believe that with inconsistent academic schedules, they are finding more time to invest in community service than before.

A group of four girls N Sindhu, Ashwini Raghavendra, Renibi Mukhai, Geethika Nair, all in their 20s studying psychology course have created a one stop web page that gives access to verified websites and contacts related to COVID 19 resources across the country. The website became operational on April 24 and the team is already busy attending several calls across the country. “We have recorded 6000 visits on our website in less than 6 days. We have received 300 calls till now and are attending to 40 patients as of date across India. Out of which we have helped 36 patients to get the required resources like hospitals, beds, medicines through helpline numbers.” The website is a collective of helpline numbers giving access to hospitals, organisations and other institutes involved in Covid 19 related relief work. It includes all India states Covid helpline numbers, links to COVID-19 resources in Bengaluru and much more.

Yohann Joe, another psychology student, is part of the Archdiocese of Bengaluru COVID-19 burial team. Not able to digest the way the dead were given farewell, Joe signed up for the task of burying them in a dignified way. “So far I have undertaken 160 burials. We are a 15 member team who ensure the deceased are buried in a dignified manner and are not just dumped into the ground, like the way BBMP do,” says the 18 year old. Asked if he is mentally disturbed after burying so many dead bodies, Joe says “ I am used to it now.”

Harsha Talur, BBA/LLB student has been involved in the COVID-19 relief work since the onset of the pandemic assisting the BBMP in quarantine procedures. The 18 year old has taken up a bigger responsibility. “I am temporarily heading a team of 16 volunteers at Girinagar checkpost to assist the police department in ensuring nobody breaches the lockdown guidelines.” However, Talur who was also part of Covid Raksha initiative in Bengaluru until last week had to quit owing to the inability to help people. “There were many calls during the second wave for bed requirements, Remdesivir and oxygen supply. Due to lack of preparedness by the State Government we weren’t able to help them. Because of which many succumbed to deaths. This pained me a lot. So I quit,” says Talur.

Mihir Sachdev, a BCom professional is part of Relief riders, a group of cyclists who will be delivering essentials and medical supplies to the elderly on bicycles. “I am right now deployed at Huskur gate, Electronic city. It is important that we don’t just deliver the essentials and get back. We have to empathise with them, hear their problems out and ensure they are feeling better.” says Sachdev.

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