In the previous post, I wrote about different organisations one can volunteer with in Uttarakhand after the floods. In this second part, I will point out some material requirements of the area that can be contributed at an individual level.
Materials like blankets, dry food items, tarpaulins, clothes etc have been provided in plenty over the last 3 months by various releif organisations. To the extent that wereever we go, we see the same parle G and sunrise chocolate cream biscuits and maggi noodles! The following list is from my personal observations:
Materials that can be contributed in uttarakhand
- Medicines: contrary to what we might think, general health is very poor in these regions. The reason is largely malnourishment. Currently a lot of medicines have been provided by various relief agencies but they are mostly general purpose medicine. Specific medicines for ailments such as thyroid, anemia, BP, diabetes, asthma and arthritis are regularly needed. Recently Dr. Tulsidas gave me a list of required medicines, which, for now, we were able to procure through various pharma companies, but the need will keep coming. Health supplements are also a big requirement. Dr. Kavita, an ayurvedic doctor in kerela, sent a lot of ayurvedic health supplements recently for volunteers working in the region and also for schools.
- Libraries: One thing we found missing everywhere were story books and toys for children. I feel child trauma was somewhere not addressed fully. Organisations have provided school bags, stationary, woolens and uniforms but nothing to engage the mind of the child.
- Goonj: Goonj has been very active in the relief period providing for all basic necessities. During our conversation with their team in Uttarkashi, we found that soon they are moving from relief to a focus on improving schools in the region. We also shortly attended a teacher training program they were anchoring in Guptkashi. Relief is still coming in areas that need it. Goonj is present in most cities and you can support them in their work through contributions.
- Financial Contributions: It is inherent in our thinking to be wary of giving money directly, but sometimes that may be the best option. The people and the organisations here know best what they want and it may just be better to trust them that they will use the money judiciously. Personally I am also not in favor of telling how and on what exactly the money should be used. No strings attached. Once it has left your hand, let the control over it also be gone. There are also a lot of volunteers who are working here without any support. Some groups are supporting the volunteers themselves. They are providing a monthly stipend to the volunteers so that their needs are met and they can stay on longer and without any tension.
The biggest way to volunteer is to simply come here and listen to people. I don’t think I have done much here till now and in no way am I any authority to suggest what others can do. The two posts on ways to volunteer and material contribution in Uttarakhand are a response to queries by friends. In small ways I feel I have served myself and hopefully others as well.
A big disclaimer is that Volunteer Weekly is no volunteer placement organisation. These volunteering and material contribution recommendations are in no means complete i.e. the only ways you can reach out here or even vetted out in the formal ways that many organisations do. These are simply through personal experience meant mainly for individuals.
Hope the list is helpful. If you need contact of any organisation mentioned in the post, please send us a message.