Protecting lives – One mask at a time
Definitely! Given a chance I would do it again. Since March 22nd, 2021, I have been donating masks and educating many about Covid-19. It forms part of my Service Based Learning and lasts six weeks. The first week entails planning how to action my initiative. The other five weeks are dedicated to fully adopting the plan and making it happen by visiting one organization per week.
What is your initiative all about?
My initiative is about donating masks to the vulnerable, who may not easily get access to a supply of masks. I wanted to fully adopt five organizations over five weeks and to help them curb the spread of Covid-19 at a greater level. By donating masks to all persons in one organization, I can categorize it as a “safe organization”. Some of the organizations that I fully adopted during my community-based tenure include Al Nisa Children’s home, Mama Fatuma Children’s home, Mama Ngina Children’s home, and New Life home. At the University, I adopted the catering team, the security team, and the community service team.
What led you to the initiative you are doing right now?
The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic troubled me and made me wonder how I could help. It was time to carry out my 200 hours of SBL. I chose to provide a service to my country by helping reduce the spread of the virus. In order to raise money to buy the masks, I spent hours giving private tuition to students as well as approaching different organisations that could fund my cause. The project also included sharing posters to educate others on the importance of wearing masks and the appropriate way to wear and dispose of them.
To enable me have a greater impact I chose the Sunni Punjabi Organisation – a registered community organization that provides different services to its people, such as charity work and hosting events that bring the community together.
What are some of the challenges you faced during the initiative and how did you overcome them?
The lockdown of the country. On 19th March, the President declared the inter-county lockdown and suspension of all physical activities in schools and universities. Initially, I had planned to donate masks to school pupils, but I could not do this, so I changed my focus to children’s homes. Another was getting the correct information. It was difficult to get a reliable person at the organization so I could confirm all details before my visit. To avoid wasting chances I decided to carry excess masks rather than not have enough for all. Raising enough money from strangers and organizations I approached was humbling. Not all I reached out to wanted to donate to support my cause. So I had to think differently, I started seeking more pupils for online tutoring and increased the number of hours I taught those that I already had.
Remember, everything is within your power. As you go about your day today, help someone and watch their face beam with rays of joy or even break out in great laughter.
What have you learned during your SBL initiative?
- To communicate better: I engaged people of different ages and professional backgrounds during the donations drives and fundraising.
- The importance of planning: As a result, I was able to plan ahead and have all activities diarized to rally the resources needed to fully adopt one organization per week.
- To care more deeply for people than I did before: Now, I give more freely and without hesitation.
- To relearn responsibility: I was in charge of all my activities and was held accountable for my actions.
- Gratitude: It has taught me not to take anything for granted. Seeing the large number of people without access to clean masks and thus unable to protect themselves from the virus was heartbreaking.”
Rihaab Mughal is a second-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Business Science in Financial Economics. She finished her SBL hours on April 30th, 2021.
This article was written by Annete Karanja.
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