Anticipating Unlock 1.0 – Awareness, Prevention and Safety Sessions at Maddugudde and BS Road

Anticipating Unlock 1.0 – Awareness, Prevention and Safety Sessions at Maddugudde and BS Road

Following the announcement of Unlock 1.0 from 8th June by the government, across the country, all religious centres and shopping malls prepared to open their doors to the public, after remaining closed for nearly 2 1/2 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anticipating a possible surge in infection rates due to the ease of regulations post Unlock 1.0, our Team felt that the need of the hour is to conduct training and awareness programs for local communities.  On 2nd June, we conducted Awareness, Prevention and Safety sessions for 27 families of the Fisherman community of Melgeri and planned for 4 more in different municipalities in Kundapur. 

As of June 4, the total number of confirmed positive cases in India reached 2,26,078, and the death toll stood at 6,338, with more and more cases being reported every day. Across the world, more than 3 billion people are shut into their homes, unable to resume normal working lives. 3.7 lakh people are dead, globally. It is a matter of concern, and we need to educate the public on the steps that they need to take to keep themselves safe and healthy, and all governments are stepping up their efforts to combat this pandemic.

In Kundapur taluk, there are many daily wagers and migrants who have returned to their home town and who live in densely populated communities. To protect the health of these communities, on 4th June, we decided to have awareness, prevention, and safety sessions for 2 Fisherman communities at Maddugudde and BS Road, which were organised by the local government authorities.

Mr Raghavendra, the Municipality Council Member for Maddugudde is very proactive with regard to his responsibilities to the public. When he heard about our awareness program, he requested us to conduct a session for the Fisherman Community at Maddugudde. The people of this community are from the lower-income group and are, for the most part, fisherfolk. The men go fishing and also look for oysters and mussels, which have a wide consumer market. The women work mostly in the fish market stalls selling, cleaning, and cutting fish and seafood. Sometimes, they go from door-to-door selling their catch or work as counter salespersons in clothes or jewelry shops. Some of the men work as agricultural labourers or farmers. A unique trait of this community is its honesty and integrity.

Mr Raghavendra identified and made a list of 27 beneficiary families in the community. He also mobilised the youth volunteers of the Konkani PragathiparaSangha (Konkani Development Organisation) to visit their homes and invite them for the session. The youth volunteers led by Janardhanmade all the arrangements for the session and the chairs, as well. Here, the session was held at the Sangha’s building next to the Jettigeshwara temple.

At BS Road, Kharvikeri , we had a second session with the Fisherman Community at 6:30 pm.

Here, we did not have a meeting hall for our presentations. Instead, on the recommendation of Mr Sandeep Kharvi, the Municipal Council Member, 5 local youth volunteers mobilised by him helped arrange an open space big enough to accommodate all the beneficiaries.

Involving local volunteers in our activities is one of our objectives. Sunil, Dinakar, Prasanna, Shantharam, and Prashanth from Vidyaranga Yuvaka Mandali provided the chairs and neatly arranged them, keeping in mind the social distancing norms recommended by the government. A power connection for the presentations was given by Manjula, one of the beneficiaries, who lived close by.

Mr Kharvi provided us with the names of the beneficiaries for our records, which was handed over to Shalini, for registration purposes. The projector and screen were set up using some boards which were available at the location.

We had a good turnout, more than 35 people attended the session and some were standing around, but also taking care to observe social distancing. Posters depicting the 3 topics of our presentations, in line with the government directives were printed and put up on the walls.

Shalini ensured the registration formalities were completed and Geetha and Venkatesh took the temperatures of all the attendees.

A local volunteer helped to sanitise all the people gathered there for the presentations.

For both sessions, Venkatesh took them through all the 3 presentations: ‘An introduction to COVID 19’, ‘Prevention and Safe practices’ to be followed in the community and suggestions on ‘How to manage Stigma and Discrimination’ within the community.

A hand-washing demonstration by Nagaraj made it easy for the participants to learn the right way of washing their hands. After the presentations, Safety and Hygiene Kits consisting of a sanitiser, 5 Dettol soaps, 8 handkerchiefs and a nail cutter were distributed to each family’s representative, along with posters on awareness and safety measures.

We urged them to put up the posters in their homes and in appropriate places within the community, to spread awareness to as many people as possible. The beneficiaries were well organised and very attentive to the knowledge transfer. They promised to follow all the safety measures suggested by our team.

Mr Kharvi, who also was present at the ration kit distribution in the Kharvi community spoke at length about the commendable work being carried out by our organisation. He appreciated the thought behind our awareness and training sessions. On behalf of the people of BS Road, he thanked our team for organising this much-needed activity. An important feedback received was to incorporate a Q&A session at the end of the program to address additional queries that the participants may have.

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