Their worthy works have helped people in 224 villages of rural Kandhamal.

Teaching Handwashing activitie
Teaching Handwashing activitie

Kandhamal: With the pandemic comes the stigma, superstitions and fear about the disease among people. Meet the social army of 10 of Jeebika Suraksha Manch of Kandhamal who have shouldered responsibilities to inform communities about the COVID-19 Pandemic.

To oust the myths and provide a basic scientific understanding of the public health measure behind the pandemic, these group members drive their way to villages to inform people about social distancing, handwashing, the importance of wearing masks as well as government benefits for the people in this crucial time.

Kandhamal is a predominantly tribal district surrounded by hills and dense forests. This district has offered a bike ambulance service that ferries pregnant women living in inaccessible areas to a nearby hospital. However, not a single person in our village had this information until the volunteers of Jeebika Suraksha Mancha informed us about it, said Arsel Pattmajhi of Jenjakpata village of Kotagada Block of Kandhamal.

Madhab Majhi spending his own money to hire an auto to provide food at the doorsteps especially to the old and ailing people
Madhab Majhi spending his own money to hire an auto to provide food at the doorsteps, especially to the old and ailing people

The locals are all praise for these youth groups have already covered 224 villages of 11 Gram Panchayats under Tumudibandha and Kotagarh Block where they are educating people about the Corona pandemic and helping SHGs to distribute foods to the people in their houses.

In these villages where basic amenities are hardly fulfilled, the noble gestures of these youths are praiseworthy, says Mrs Basanti Behera Majhi, Sarpanch of the Jubaguda Gram Panchayat.

The youth brigades aspire that our efforts in spreading awareness bringing fruits as people are practicing social distancing, washing hands frequently which is a non-practice in the tribal area usually and wearing masks. In this case, the efforts of these youths group will inspire others to hope and act, said Narayan Patra, Sarpanch of Mundigarh Gram Panchayat.

“Neither the villagers were wearing masks nor were washing hands or maintaining social distancing until we informed them about the hazard of the Coronavirus. Through the confusion, stress and worry that COVID 19 causes naturally, we needed to contribute to our society”, said Madhab Majhi who himself is a partially physically challenged but a frontline warrior of the group of the organization.

“I felt it was my responsibility to make people aware of these troubled times. That’s why I chose to come out despite odds. Now, I am happy it has been liked by many. I work as a Jansathi with Jeebika Suraksha Manch, Kandhamal this platform has taught us on how to stand with the people in their difficult times”, said Ms Puspanjali Patra, another warrior in this mission.

Though the state’s confirmed case tally now stands at 60, in Kandhamal, there is no reported positive COVID-19 case as on April 14, 2020.

We have all thrust into a new environment. The Coronavirus has enveloped the communities around the world in fear. But even as young people face odds and uncharted paths, still the volunteers of Atmashakti Trust and Jeebika Suraksha Mancha are rising to make a difference in the people’s lives and that’s commendable, in fighting with COVID 19” said Mr Durbasa Sethi, President, Jeebika Suraksha Mancha, Kandhamal.

Naba Kishor Pujari is an author, columnist and Media professional and has been writing on education issues since last 10 years. His articles have been published in Odia, Hindi, English and Turkish journals and newspapers. He has received JP Overton fellowship for Education Policy in 2012 for his work on public education in India. Based in Bhubaneswar, Mr Pujari is awarded Laadli Media Award 2017 for his contribution in writing in newspapers on women’s rights, Duradarshi Samman 2013, Saptaka Literature Award in Youth Category for his contribution to literature and media.


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