By Sakshi Selvanathan – (18th June 2020) Our extensive volunteer network has been the propelling force behind our humanitarian endeavors from the very inception of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society’s emergency response to the COVID-19 epidemic. With the sole objective of protecting the Sri Lankan populace from the debilitating disease, volunteers across the twenty-five branches of the SLRCS have been mobilized to implement a plethora of emergency initiatives.
As such, our volunteers initially engaged in multiple awareness-raising activities in relation to the preventive measures required to abate the spread of the virus: the installation of leaflet stands and the distribution of posters and stickers on public and private modes of transportation only surmount to a few discernible examples of the island-wide awareness campaign carried out by the SLRCS volunteers.
Rigorous interventions such as the SLRCS Disinfection Programmes were held to supplement national efforts to curb the spread of the virus, and the thorough disinfection of public areas, police stations, and other areas of national significance were only made possible by our intrepid volunteers. This initiative proved to be a true testament to their dedication and selflessness, for it was one in which the volunteers implicitly and explicitly agreed to leave their homes and loved ones for days on end to ensure the continuity and efficacy of the programme.
Adding further succour to nationwide endeavours of the medical sector to combat the COVID-19 epidemic is the fact that volunteers from different branches were regularly deployed to their district-specific hospitals to provide medical professionals with the administrative support they desperately required. And embellishing their superlative record of delivering timely support was the volunteers’ active participation in relief distribution activities, targeting those populations rendered highly vulnerable by the scourge of the disease.
Though the COVID-19 epidemic itself does not seem to accept defeat at the time of writing, the priceless contribution of the SLRCS volunteers has not reached its cessation either. Instead, our volunteers continue to prove – time after time – that they truly are the ‘silent heroes’ of the SLRCS, and that they constitute the backbone of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement as a whole.