Kantharis to the rescue in a COVID-19 stricken world

At the time of COVID-19 around the world, a blogging initiative by 'Kantharis'

Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

While Amrita Gyawali from Nepal laments how the differently abled could not stock up enough drugs and essential commodities before the lockdown came into effect, Rahel Zegeye, who is stranded in Ethiopia, highlights the plight of domestic migrant workers of Lebanon and their children who are starving due to the lockdown.

Kanthari, a leadership training centre based in Thiruvananthapuram, is bringing together the life of people in various parts of the world at the time of COVID-19 through a blogging series. With COVID-19 literally paralysing many parts of the world and bringing to halt many social service activities, Kanthari has initiated the blogging with one of its graduates daily writing about life at the time of COVID-19.

Amrita, who suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident that claimed the lives of her parents and siblings when she was three, is now actively involved in social services. In her blog, she says: "I believe that during the corona pandemic, the whole health system has more or less forgotten us, the chronically ill and disabled. None of us had enough time before the lockdown was imposed to stock up on drugs, urine bags and diapers for adults."

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Zegeye, a Kanthari graduate of 2017, is from Ethiopia. She said that the COVID-19 pandemic came on top of an already simmering internal crisis. "Many domestic migrant workers and their children are starving, they are on the streets or sharing a small room with 10 to 12 other women. Eleven domestic workers have taken their own lives in the last few weeks,” she said.

Ajith Kumar T, administration manager of Kanthari, which was founded by German Tibetologist Sabriye Tenberken and Paul Kronenberg in 2007, said that 226 persons from 48 countries had already graduated from the institute. Over 130 organisations that address social issues like the environment, disability, education, human rights, women empowerment and health have been initiated by Kanthari graduates across the world.

Fleur Rakoto, a half-German, half-French, now working in Madrid, tells how her dog came to her relief as pet owners are allowed to take them for a walk.

Riya Orison, who quit her corporate job last year and now ‘trapped’ in Kanthari owing to the lockdown, recollects on her blog how she enjoys cleaning the nearby Vellayani lake adjacent to Kanthari campus in the evenings.