A guest post today from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School student Youthika Chauhan, a doctoral candidate and Graduate Phillips Ambassador for 2020, as well as a past Mahatma Gandhi Fellow through UNC Sangam and the Carolina Asia Center:
COVID-19 has created an impact on each of our lives in many different ways. But with the onset of the July, more and more countries are relaxing their measures. Several organizations have been instrumental in helping local communities to cope with the stringent legal measures. As a PhD candidate at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, I have the opportunity to study several socially impactful organizations. Many scientists, educators, and other professionals shared their insights about how their organization helped their local communities to cope with the recent difficult times. Their stories are as not only impactful but also inspirational for they symbolize the better times that lie ahead of us.
Smart Air is multi-country social enterprise based in China, India, Mongolia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Thailand and Indonesia that makes affordable air purifiers. Dhariyash Rathod, the CEO of Smart Air India shares that on the outbreak of COVID-19, Smart Air team ran tests to determine the best material suited for making DIY masks. Then, the firm shared their data, and released the “Ultimate Guide to Homemade Face Masks for Coronavirus” on their website.
Kagal Education Society, an educational non-profit based in rural India has been working on some very innovative teaching approaches. Their simple, yet effective use of technology has not only prevented the education of their students from being disrupted, but has also ensured that the educational needs of their each of their students is met even in these difficult times. According to Sharmilee Mane, Director of YD Mane Research Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (part of the Kagal Education Society), “students have goals for their studies.” Sharmilee describes how their organization makes sures that their students can accomplish all of their goals. “Our teachers deliver lectures on Zoom. They share their homework on WhatsApp with the parents. The parents then make the students complete their homework, and share it with the teachers on WhatsApp. We have been conducting classes with not more than 15 students at a time, as per the government’s regulation.” With the right use of technology, Kagal Education Society has set an example for educational institutes to follow, not only in rural India, but also in developing regions across the world.
Winkler Partners, a Taiwan-based law firm has made significant effort to ameliorate vulnerable lives impacted severely by COVID-19. James Hill, Community Coordinator at Winkler Partners shared about their work with me. “We weren’t that badly affected by COVID-19, however a lot of charities stopped supporting or providing services to the homeless because people were encouraged to not interact with each other, to be socially distant. A lot of charities, pulled out of doing the kind of on-the-ground work that they’ve been doing. So, we helped support a charity that was stepping into to provide regular meals to homeless people.”
Indeed, efforts like these allow not only organizations to be resilient in hard times, but also enable local communities to be resilient, and recover soon. While we look forward to better times, it is important to acknowledge the efforts of all those who have provided their time, resources, and efforts in dealing with the pandemic.