covid-19 Society

This initiative sends letters to frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic

One of the letters sent via Write To Recognize  

It was towards the end of June that university students Tara Luthra and Aanshi Gupta sent off the first letter of their Write To Recognize initiative. It was a moment of pride for them, sending this important letter of gratitude to a doctor who had been working on the COVID-19 frontline with few breaks. And the 21-year-olds kept doing more, bringing people in for more letter-writing to add some cheer to the gruelling days of essential workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic across the country, until they sent their 200th letter just last week.

The idea is simple: reach out to Tara and Aanshi through the Write To Recognize website, fill the forms to become a volunteer or to nominate essential workers who you think would love such a note. There is also a matching process done by Tara and Aanshi to get things streamlined, unless volunteers have a specific person they want to write to.

Worth doing well

Tara and Aanshi want volunteers to understand that the letter-writing process is a heartfelt one, not merely jotting down a quick thank you. With this requirement in mind, the letters have been spruced up with colour, written on artful paper, with brightly-coloured pens. Some even have illustrations.

To save on postage activity, the letters are scanned and then emailed to the email address of the nominated worker. “We are self-funded,” says Aanshi, “and we want to minimise the amount of movement happening, we don’t want to contribute to the spread of the virus. If the letter really has to go to a postal address only, then we are happy to cover the postage fees.”

Based in Mumbai, Tara and Aanshi say over a Google Hangout call with MetroPlus, that they wanted to make the most of their lockdown by curating notes of gratitude for essential workers beyond the healthcare industry. “We are so grateful to doctors and nurses, but we wanted to explore those beyond this important industry who are stepping up: the police, security personnel, food vendors, and more. But we do write to doctors and nurses a lot,” says Aanshi.

Tara adds, “We’ve had nominations of delivery boys, social workers, people working at grassroots levels, and those helping migrant workers go home amid the lockdowns. A lot of people our age — in their early 20s — feel helpless sitting at home, even though it is the right thing to do to help flatten the curve. This also helps add to the spirit of community so no one feels alone.”

Aanshi states that the project has been fulfilling, especially given how this generation has rarely engaged with the art of letter writing. “That’s why we had a lot of engagements from students,” she smiles.

Tara says the diversity of languages in the letters has largely been inclusive: “We have tried to get our volunteers to have a range of languages in which they write, such as Marathi, Bengali and Hindi. By limiting the letters to just English, we limit our reach, which isn’t our goal.”

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 2:20:57 AM |

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