The last month has been a tumultuous one causing the healthcare system to collapse in some states. Lack of oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, and ventilators have been making headlines for weeks continuously, with ordinary citizens stepping up to help ease the pressure on government resources. One such is Manvi Teki – a 2nd-year UG student at Krea University.
Living in Hyderabad with her parents and grandparents, Manvi found it increasingly difficult to continue a “regular life” amidst a healthcare crisis and collective grief. With visuals of mortuaries and crematoria flashing in the media, and the added grief of a close friend’s father losing his battle to COVID-19, Manvi knew something had to be done.
On 1 May, she co-created a WhatsApp group for the sole purpose of identifying sources, verifying leads and compiling information. Called the ‘Hyd-T Covid Support Group’, the team includes entrepreneurs, NGO workers, healthcare professionals, media persons, and several other Hyderabadis from various sections of the society, volunteering 24X7. The group was featured in the local media, including by The Hindu recently, leading to an increase in the number of volunteers, therefore more information and requests.
“After this group was created and as the request for oxygen, medicines, beds, blood plasma went on increasing, we started creating more groups to spread the network of help. Today, there are almost 1000 people, including volunteers from the IT sector, law graduates and a number of other fields. We are addressing and amplifying each and every request that comes our way,” she shares. The group has also initiated a campaign – #KCRSaveYourPeople – to push the Telangana government to announce a lockdown and amp up the healthcare systems.
Volunteering work can get exhausting, mentally and physically. “There have been days when I would spend 4-5 hours looking for an oxygen bed. There are a lot of leads, but verifying them and updating the database is just as important and can save a lot of time and stress,” Manvi notes. For some, a group like this functions as some much-needed moral support. “An old couple living alone in Hyderabad reached out to us after reading about the group. They wanted to know if we could help them in case something happened to them.” In these days of grief and great distress, one can just pause, cry a little and then go back to fulfilling more requests, she adds.
The second wave of the pandemic has not been easy on everybody and rages on, with volunteers across the country chipping in to help with requests and information. The group continues to grow, beyond state borders. Now, people from Andhra Pradesh, Bengaluru, Delhi, and Chennai can join and volunteer too. If you wish to join the group, contact +91 91210-40777 or 91 99596-06667.