In a bid to provide much-needed support to people and communities impacted by the escalating pandemic, The Rotary Club of Colombo has launched ‘Reachout’ – a platform envisioned as a ‘mission control’ for the Sri Lankan community response in assisting those affected by COVID-19. The volunteer-driven program hopes to provide both emergency and secondary assistance to those in need.
The COVID-19 pandemic, now in its second year, is showing no signs of abating and many in Sri Lanka are feeling the brunt of the global healthcare crisis. Restrictions on movement have prevented thousands from being able leave their homes to make a living. While this has resulted in the more vulnerable segments of society falling further into poverty, many small business owners, employees, and families have been affected. Unfortunately, without safety nets to support hard-hit communities, there is a greater need for a co-ordinated relief effort.
Having commenced only last month, Reachout has already successfully seen through 16 campaigns, raised over Rs. 3.3 million in just 17 days, and brought much-needed relief to over 1350 families.
Overseen by the Rotary Club of Colombo, which is the first and oldest Rotary Club in Sri Lanka chartered in 1929 – Reachout connects donors to worthy causes, and aims to facilitate assistance in the form of financial aid for individuals and families, donations of essential supplies for the elderly and high-risk individuals, as well as counselling for people dealing with the various pressures wrought on by the pandemic. Operating via the Charity Apple online platform –a 100% non-profit initiative by the Rotary Club of Colombo-, Reachout facilitates a secure mode of crowdfunding where donors can safely reach out to the most deserving.
“We all have something we can contribute, be it our time, supplies, expertise, or financial aid,” said Naqeeb Hussain, Project Chair for Reachout. “Reachout is driven by an urgent humanitarian need, and prioritises those affected not only by the actual virus, but also by the secondary social, health and economic impacts of the outbreak.”
In order to broaden its range of support, Reachout has collaborated with various groups, activists, and community leaders to engage as many people as possible. Current partners on board include VOICE, Care Station, SocialService.lk, Marissa de Silva, and Vrai Balthazar. The organisation also encourages people to reach out to them directly with individual needs or for those within their own communities.
To ensure the authenticity of each request, Reachout taps into its network of partners with representatives across the country. Only once verified will a project be featured on the Charity Apple website and across all Reachout social media channels.
Aside from financial aid, Reachout also encourages volunteers and donors to utilise its platform to contribute their support and assistance through non-conventional -yet transformative- pathways. This may include providing advice, assisting individuals or small businesses struggling to get back on track, shopping local to revive the livelihoods of store owners, employees, and their families, or donating blood to alleviate the healthcare load. There is no limit to the difference an individual can make in transforming the life of another.
For further information on how to help or how to seek assistance follow Reachout on social media www.facebook.com/groups/reachosl or www.instagram.com/reachosl/, visit Charity Apple www.charityapple.org to make a donation, or email Reachout on [email protected].