Young Indians are using money-raising apps targeting those affected by the crisis, the internet to distribute medical supplies and social media to coordinate efforts.
India suffers from infection pressure with hundreds of thousands of registered cases and more than 3000 deaths due to Corona every day.
The youth group Uncut, with volunteers between the ages of 14 and 19, is building a database containing information about available resources and their locations. It could be oxygen, medicine, and hospital beds.
Some of us work from midnight until morning, because people don’t stop calling even if it’s three o’clock at night, says 17-year-old Soudha Prasad.
14 hour shift
She runs a 14-hour shift, and teens sit on the phone nearly all the time to confirm what’s available to whom and where. Relatives call to pray for help.
– If I could help save a life, no part of me will say no, Prasad says, adding that they have saved lives.
Specifically, it refers to a case in which they obtained oxygen from a young Corona patient in the middle of the night.
But it’s not just about gathering resources. Sometimes, people need to know that they are not alone, says the 17-year-old.
Two-thirds of India’s population of 1.3 billion are under the age of 35. Many point out that the young population has not assumed such a great responsibility as it is now.
The Oxygen Man
While the pandemic crisis has worsened and is worse, with crematoriums and hospitals full, more people have volunteered.
In the slums of Mumbai, Shanawaz Shaik provides free oxygen to thousands. The 32-year-old has been dubbed the Oxygen Man, and he has funded his business by selling his car.
He says he never imagined receiving as many requests as he does now.
– We used to have about 40 orders per day last year. Now he is over 500, he says.
The sheikh has about 20 other volunteers with him on his project.
Rumors on Twitter about where oxygen, hospital beds or other materials were available have prompted computer engineer Umang Galaiya to take action
So he created an app that’s easy to find, by being able to search for resources whose availability has been confirmed.
But even this app will first and foremost help people in big cities, says the 25-year-old, and points out that internet coverage outside cities is poor.
– If I searched for resources in my hometown, Jamnagar, I would find nothing on Twitter, he says.
The engineer stresses that it is impossible to solve the epidemic crisis without making efforts. He believes that India should develop a system that shows bed capacity in real time, so that people do not have to go from hospital to hospital for assistance.
– If we can do it for movie theaters, why not do it for hospitals, he asks.
And he indicates that the young volunteers do not have the ability to fight the virus. Young people notice that they are starting to get tired.
We work hard, but we can’t save everyone, says 17-year-old Blackhap Prasad.
– My parents are anxious. And when their friends need help, she adds, they turn to me, too.