Chennai

COVID-19: Stay at home and reach out to the helpless

Outside a store in Bengaluru. Photo: Special Arrangement

Outside a store in Bengaluru. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Solve Ninja has created an online platform for citizens to feed in data that could be crucial in solving the problems certain people may be facing during the shutdown

While practising social distancing, one may have to be on the guard against getting distant from certain people’s struggles to have their essential needs met.

Solve Ninja, a platform by social enterprise Reap Benefit, has started an initiative that marries social caring to social distancing.

Through this programme, people can sit in the safety of their homes, and reach out to others by feeding in data that can be useful to them, even make a huge difference in their lives.

On http://nd.solveninja.org, citizens across India can feed in information about people who may have certain critical needs that they struggle to meet during the shutdown, and also those who are likely to volunteer to meet those needs. Citizens can key in information about hospitals, testing centres and essential services providers, and this information will be there for everyone to view and use. On this platform, citizens can mention stores selling essential items that practise social distancing, and also call out those that don’t.

Launched on March 26, the initiative already has citizens from Bengaluru, Chennai and Delhi feeding in data.

“We did a test run in Shanti Nagar in Bengaluru where we pointed out shops that were not practising social distancing; the local residents’ welfare association’s attention was drawn to this, and we asked them to talk to the store managers about this issue,” says Kuldeep Dantewadia, co-founder, Reap Benefit. “We are trying to rely on the power of local people and their relationship with neighbourhood stores to make sure social distancing happens everywhere,” says Dantewadia.

The same principle applies to mapping details of people who may need support in terms of food and other essentials. “When a resident or a member of an RWA feeds in details of a person in need that they know, the process of offering help becomes quicker,” he says.

Dantewadia believes such efforts by citizens can hugely supplement the government’s work to help the needy. He then adds, “ Citizens can be a small workforce on behalf of the government.”

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 12:20:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/covid-19-stay-at-home-and-reach-out-to-the-helpless/article31183496.ece

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