A Bengaluru-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Jhatkaa.org recently launched an initiative called Care4Care to provide mental health support to volunteers who have been helping COVID-19 patients and their families, amid the second wave of the pandemic. Additionally, the organisation is also providing care packages, which include masks, face shields, gloves and hand sanitizer, to frontline workers.
Amid the second wave of COVID-19 in Karnataka, several volunteers stepped up voluntarily to do whatever they could to help COVID-19 patients and their families. This included helping people procure oxygen cylinders, booking hospital beds, and providing free meals to patients and caregivers. Jhatkaa.org wants to help these volunteers, especially the ones that are not funded and are helping others on their own initiative.
The campaign, according to Jhatkaa.org, was started after they witnessed volunteers of their partner organisations lacking adequate protective equipment when performing their voluntary work and moreover getting emotionally disturbed and upset when despite their best efforts, people they were trying to help died.
“With the second wave of COVID-19, we saw that many of our partner NGOs and volunteer groups were working overtime to support their communities. Some like the Relief Riders and the ASHA workers, needed equipment. Other volunteers, working from home were helping patients find beds, oxygen, etc,” said Chiku Agarwal who is an engagement associate at Jhatkaa.org
“These volunteers often went into depression if someone they were trying to help died. When we got a sense of this, we realised that we had the resources to protect their safety and mental health. This was the foundation for the Care4Care campaign. It is an initiative to support volunteers in need of equipment and mental well-being sessions. We are only focused on groups that are not funded," he added.
The campaign that started on April 22 has been going on for nearly eight weeks. According to Chiku, the Care4Care initiative has provided 18 counselling sessions with over 100 participants and has put together and donated over 750 COVID-19 care packages to Relief Riders and ASHA workers.
Volunteers who need help can email Info@Jhatkaa.org with the subject line ‘Care4Care Support’ to avail their services.