Hope, Kindness and Unity During Covid-19
Antony Devassy has been a Unisys India employee for over a decade and works in the MCP Build and Installation team. As a member of the Unisys India CSR Council Unicare and the Emergency Response Team at Unisys, taking responsibilities and going above and beyond were not new to Antony. However, the COVID-19 pandemic was where Antony really proved his mettle as a pragmatic and effective social worker. Here, we share his story.
When the first wave of the pandemic hit the country and everyone was asked to work remotely, Antony was just like one of us – not sure what Covid-19 is all about or what could be its implications on our lives. A colleague introduced him to service projects happening in his locality and Antony joined hands with the team – NERT-India Federation. The leader of the local police station was driving many projects with the support of the local community to help those in need during the first wave of the pandemic. Antony and his teammates were trained on how to keep themselves safe while engaging in social welfare activities. Antony was quick to realize how valuable this guidance was and followed these guidelines diligently. He says, “Volunteering is not heroism. Personal safety is an important consideration if you want to help those around you in circumstances like these.” Armed with all that he learnt from the Emergency Response Team in Unisys and the training he got as a member of NERT-India Federation, Antony actively engaged in several service projects like barricading, food distribution and helping laborers at the Vidyaranyapura Police Station fill their details at Seva Sindhu Portal, so that they could return to their homes during the lockdown via special trains. It was during this period that he and his team were able to help curb a fire that broke out in a cemetery in Lakshmi Pura locality where the team was on duty. The team acted as an interface between the administration and civilians and soon won the trust of localities and associations operating in that area who helped the team with various items they needed to carry out their tasks effectively such as protective gear, sanitizers etc.
The second wave of the pandemic proved to be more challenging as the infection was more contagious and casualties more severe. Antony and his team continued their work, this time helping people access resources such as ambulances and Oxygen concentrators in an emergency. They provided home-cooked food to Covid-19 affected families. They also offered ad-hoc support to these families in the form of food deliveries at nominal rates after their quarantine period. The volunteers were aligned to different zones and took care of the requirements from that area. Antony was personally involved in delivering food at the doorsteps of Covid-19 affected families. The team also played a crucial role in aiding individuals to take the necessary precautions against a potential Covid-19 infection by organizing vaccination drives. They organized a vaccination drive with the support of the Rotary Club where 300-400 people received their first dose of the Covishield vaccine, free of cost. Individuals were also provided on-call counseling and other assistive services whenever needed. The team also assisted other vaccination drives such as the Polio National Immunization Day on 31st January 2021 by transporting the healthcare staff from one location to another in the absence of public transport facilities and supporting them throughout the vaccination drive. The team boosted the morale of healthcare workers with these and other gestures. They also undertook night patrolling as they observed an increase in crime rates during the pandemic.
With so many heroic deeds to his credit, Antony reiterates that volunteering is not a form of heroism, but our responsibility as a human being. His advice to the other crusaders is to thoroughly research the cause and project they want to be associated with so they can be well prepared and do their tasks most effectively. A firm believer of collaboration, Antony expressed deepest gratitude and appreciation for the frontline workers, police department and the BBMP waste management staff who rose to the occasion saving countless lives, despite the risk to their own health and safety. He is also grateful to his colleagues and leaders who supported him as he follows his passion for giving back to society.
Antony was one of the Covid-19 warriors felicitated by the Department of Information and Public Relations in association with Karnataka State Labor Institute and the India Red Cross, Karnataka for their exemplary service during the pandemic. His service activities go beyond the Covid-19 initiatives though. A blood donor at the St. John’s Hospital and regular contributor to the Mother’s Meal program, he will soon be trained as a traffic warden by the Bangalore Traffic Police. Antony is one of those remarkable individuals who continue to seek opportunities to serve the society without running after name or fame. A sense of responsibility towards his fellow human beings is what drives him every day.
Article by Unisys India: https://www.linkedin.com/company/unisys/