( April 15, 2020 )
Smile Foundation launched tele-counselling on a pilot basis last week in Kolkata. Now it has proposed to reach out to 40,000 underprivileged families across 14 states that have reported the most cases of the infection.
The lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection had hurt the migrant population the most giving rise to suicidal tendencies, fears and anxieties. By directly connecting with the beneficiaries “we aim to create a sense of security and also help in addressing their fears,” said Santanu Mishra, co-founder, and executive trustee of Smile Foundation.
In the coming weeks the telecounselling facility will be taken to Maharashtra, Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, and Uttar Pradesh, according to the Foundation.
“Trained counsellors, doctors, nurses from Smile Foundation will be calling all the beneficiaries within our network and partner organisations to ease their angst caused by the spread of the deadly coronavirus,” said Satnam Singh, health lead at the Foundation.
They would also be given advice on the importance of hand-washing, and guidance on the use of masks besides other precautionary measures would be included in the counselling.
“More beneficiaries need counseling at this hour than any other. They hear your voice and immediately understand that there is someone to help them. We also inform them of the government schemes and applications,” said Shadrach, who works at the Chennai location of the Foundation.
Last week, Smile Foundation started its first phase of ration distribution across 10 states. In the next few weeks, the foundation aims to reach out to another 1.10 lakh families across 19 states and help them meet their daily nutrition needs, as well as sanitation needs like masks, soaps, sanitary napkins and sanitisers.