Working with Arigatou International – GNRC and Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement in the field of violence against children, the Hindu Women’s Society has moved forward in protecting the little ones as much as we could. We now have ways to improve and increase our actions through Arigatou International’s global campaign, “Faith in Action for Children,” in response to the impact of COVID-19 and strengthening resilience amongst children.
We have been working together to contribute and support each other’s work experiences well before COVID-19. And now with this initiative, “Faith in Action for Children,” newer avenues seem to be opening up for us.
The impact of COVID-19 on children by God’s Grace in our opinion is not severe as it is for the elderly community. However, since we in the Hindu Women’s Society work through empowering the girl child through her Secondary Education, I would like to share with you all the work we are doing for our student community.
Congregational Prayer with a difference
The lockdown keeps the students at home. The students, particularly the younger ones, may not understand all that is happening since their lives have been disrupted – there is no school and they cannot meet their friends. This could be frustrating and difficult for the students.
To them we very clearly emphasize the importance of, “Staying Home.” By staying home we can all help support those who aren’t able to stay at home themselves. Because being at home right now isn’t just about keeping our family safe, its also about helping save the lives of so many others.
With this in mind, we organized a congregational prayer – a prayer with a difference – a get together from our respective homes and a session of silent sitting, prayer, meditation followed by the chanting of Mantras, and the singing of a devotional song.
In a prayerful spirit we urged, “Let us get together, each one at our home at 8 o’clock in the morning after the morning ablutions, sit silently for a while, then chant together the three mantras as given in the link and sing the devotional song which is also given in the link.”
And as our whole family, which consists of members of the Society, teachers and students of our premiere institutions the Vidyalayam (the Secondary School) our parents and all our other employees, sit together in our respective homes, we feel that the vibrations of our prayer, meditation, chants and singing will have its wonderful effects on all of us and those around us. (These mantras and the devotional song have been specially chosen for events of this nature from our shastras and rendered soulfully by the Music teacher) The students are automatically drawn into this and become disciplined.
The Management through the Principal has also arranged that education be imparted to the students through WhatsApp/Zoom online Apps for the time being. When using digital resources and tools by the
teachers in these special sessions of teaching, we see to it that the students are safe online and limit screen time for the primary students.
We have also been advising the parents the importance of being with the children and get them to share their time in housework. And through this guidance, it has made activities like hand washing and wearing the mask fun.
Dry Rations Packs
In Sri Lanka, except for around 30% who receive monthly salaries, the rest of the working force consists of day laborers and those engaged in their own work such as taxi drivers, street vendors selling goods of various kinds, farmers,etc. In times of lockdown these families are badly affected.
The Hindu Women’s Society in close association with the Hindu Council of Sri Lanka has also decided to provide these Packs for some of the underprivileged villagers in the north where the children go hungry – the three areas are Moodraampitti in Mannar, Pudhuymurippu in Kilinochchi and Vakarai.
While distributing these packs our coworkers at the village are taught to teach the families on preventing the spread of the virus, wearing of facemasks, maintain physical distance, washing hands etc and mostly asking them to drink warm water several times a day and also take steam inhalation twice a day – these remedial home preparations are easily available and understood by the villager.
Helping the General Hospital Jaffna in fighting COVID-19
In keeping with Albert Einstein’s words, “A human being is part of the Whole called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space …….Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in all its beauty.” It is this that the pandemic is showing us that we are all interconnected as a global family and hence we have to work together. Care for one another and to transform hope into action.
It is in this spirit that we are helping the community in the Northern Province to fight COVID-19 by providing funds to improve the facilities in the Jaffna General Hospital, which is the Teaching Hospital of the Jaffna University. Many of our advanced level students who wish to do Medicine have entered the Medical Faculty of the Jaffna University at various times and it is now a privilege to help the Teaching Hospital of the University at this juncture.
The Hindu Women’s Society has similarly helped to improve the shortage of medical supplies especially protective equipment for healthcare workers. We have taken part in offering psychological support for the patients and healthcare workers and supported health education for the public. Healthcare workers – including doctors, nurses and paramedical staff – are in the front line against the COVID war and need to be looked after at all times. Together we will defeat this pandemic.
Mrs. Sivanandini Duraiswamy
President, Hindu Women’s Society, and