While the world at large is devastated with the onset of Covid19 pandemic, the challenges of managing a Protective Home with 600 residents, ensuring their safety, dealing with their frustrations and helping them deal with uncertainity is a herculean task.
It is with a forebearing sense of fear that we looked at Covid19. The care-givers, the therapist and the counselors took great personal decisions to make a choice to live within the campus so that the virus has lesser possibility of entering the therapeutic community. This essentially meant that they were separated from their own families for a longer periods of time.
But the survivors(residents) defeated us with their positivity and geneosity. In the initial days of Covid pandemic they volunteered to make reusable face masks which could be distributed to frontline health workers. Over 35,000 face masks were stiched which was handed over to the health department.
This triggered a series of responses from mainstream staff who took the initiative to provide relief support to thousands of starving families and migrant workers.
The pandemic has changed the way we conduct ourselves even within the home. Wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing has become a norm. On a regular basis Covid tests are conducted to rule out any possible infection.
Inspite of all the precautions, 4 staff were infected. The movement of one of them to check on her ailing husband got the virus inside. But the efforts of the team to restrict the infection only to four staff was successful with none of the children or women getting infected.
The child residents who are studying in the Learning Center or persuing education from outside are connected to online classes. The vocational courses and employability training was resumed with all Covid protocols in place.
The drop in funding support during this period will have long term implications, but for now the situation is much under control.
The new normal in managing a Protective Home also means setting up a Quarantine Facility for any new admission and diligently follow Covid suspect regimen.
The tragic part of this reality is that while Covid19 has devastated us and restricted our mobility, for the trafficking syndicate this has become another opportunity to lure and coerce many more vulnerable persons in the web of exploitation.
The number of persons rescued from exploitation continues to grow while we cope up with newer norms of managing a Protective Home!