Loneliness during coronavirus kills
One of the feelings millions of us are experiencing during the current coronavirus pandemic is loneliness. In our combined efforts to stay safe and save lives, our usual ways of seeing family, friends or just familiar faces have been put on pause.
I personally have lost over 20 family members and friends during this time. All of them died at home, helpless, with no one extending a hand of support or help when they needed it most.
Recently, in Scotland, a young Ugandan mother died, with her one-year-old malnourished son found beside her body, crying and “weakened from several days of starvation” according to Robina Qureshi, Director of Positive Action in Housing.
This is one of the cases that have led me to establish a community fund that will be solely used to check on one another and also to help those experiencing hardship due to the pandemic.
The fund will issue vouchers to recognised community leaders who will identify the people most in need. Those leaders will then contact the recipients, and provide the help that is most needed, which could be organising a home delivery lunch, pay for a month Netflix subscription for those most in isolation, or give them the opportunity to chat with volunteers for moral support etc.
In March this year, I lost my elder sister in East London, who also died at home. Being a community leader myself, I get daily calls not only from family and friends, but also from a lot of fellow Africans in destitution. Some just need another person someone to talk to.
Living in isolation takes a toll on anyone’s mental and psychological health. Coupled with destitution and hardship, it is a load too heavy to bear for many of us.
That is why extending a helping hand tailored to people’s real needs, and also by giving moral support and emotional comfort is crucially important right now.
I urge you all, dear brothers and sisters to contribute to this Gofundme initiative to make a profound difference in people’s lives, and in in their times of worst hardship.
Willy, did you think of what kind of measures you can put in place to avoid financial abuse of your fund, and also put safeguarding measures towards the people who are most in need. Those people are now ‘vulnerable’ and easier to prey on as well.
Have you organised a ‘recommendation’ system? If someone knows a person in need, who do they contact to let you or the community leaders know? Do you have a ‘hotline’ ready?
This is how the NHS has organised their campaign, though you have the advantage to be more flexible and more direct because you have a smaller community and people do not need to go through a GP to or other community services in order to be referred for help.