Bhumians connect – Volunteering during COVID-19 | Minutes March 25, 2020

Participants: 78
Duration: 90 minutes
Cities: Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Indore, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Patna, Pune and Trichy
Mode: Zoom

With the current COVID-19 crisis that we are facing, Bhumi volunteers came together to discuss how Bhumi can bring solutions for the challenges that we see around us. The discussion started with a broader question: COVID-19 is a sensitive time for everyone. As volunteers, what can we do to help those in need and crisis? We then broke out into smaller groups to brainstorm ideas

Ideas, Action Points & Next Steps

Direct Financial Transfer for poor families

  • General fund transfer for immediate essential needs to avoid unwanted movement
  • Collecting data of beneficiaries is an important next step
  • Identify specified needs in the long term – Fund transfer can be considered for long term needs like education, medical conditions
  • Fundraising – Link

Online volunteering for CoVid19

  • Launching a helpline for Covid19
  • Creating a basic awareness campaign on CoVid-19 for Humans and Animals
  • Match beneficiaries in Bhumi’s database and fulfill through other NGOs and Corporate partners
  • Supporting other NGOs in their Communication and Social media presence

Online volunteering for other Causes

  • Develop content for Bhumi’s educational projects
  • Identify different tech opportunities which would be beneficial for nonprofits. And match the volunteers with related skillsets – Tech4Change
  • Call people in old age homes and have conversations with them
  • Online Volunteering conference

On-ground volunteering for CoVid19

  • To plan tasks while being mindful of the safety of volunteers and lowering the risk for their families
  • Identify beneficiaries for Financial Transfer
  • Support existing Bhumi shelter homes, community centers and school communities with their requirements
  • Providing support to hospitals required blood donation
  • Supporting families of daily wager workers
  • Distributing hygiene kits for the homeless
  • Distributing menstrual hygiene products for needy women
  • Awareness among communities, daily wage workers, construction workers, migrant workers who are unable to travel back home

Join Online – Bhumi’s response to CoVid19 – March 25, 7PM

The outbreak of COVID-19 is now a major world crisis. We are in a situation that no one can prepare for and only our own resolution and restraint can help us in this time of extreme distress. 

Our Prime Minister last evening ordered the country’s 1.3 billion people to stay home, and warned that “If you can’t handle these 21 days, this country will go back 21 years”.

During this time of uncertainty where paranoia is a natural reaction, let’s approach one another with kindness and understanding. I call upon all interested Bhumians to join me in an online discussion to brainstorm on how we as Bhumi can respond to #Covid19 and the #21DayLockDown.
> Let us get together to brainstorm about how we can volunteer (physically or online) in this time of isolation?
> How we can extend a helping hand to our daily wage workers & street vendors who cannot afford the luxury of #SocialDistancing?
> How we can turn this into an opportunity for national building through volunteering and kindness.

Online brainstorming on Bhumi’s response to #CoVid19 #21DayLockdown
Date: March 25, 2020
Time: 7-8 PM

Chennai Floods – Intensive community Rehabilitation plan

(a  4 – 6 months people intensive process focused on the people in the community)

The phase of rehabilitation comes when the immediate shock and loss from flood has settled in and the next step towards moving on stronger comes up. In this stage the victims of flood have been provided the basic support to face the bigger challenge of getting back to normalcy.

While the victims of flood could be from any section of the society, the highest impact and largest numbers are naturally found among the people below the poverty level. These are the families who have had their few assets or possessions damaged or destroyed from flooding or water stagnation or both.

Rehabilitation process not only intends to bring back the people to their old routine but also aims to build a sustainable community support system that provides a safe environment to prosper.

This includes (not restricted to)

  • Providing academic and non-academic support for children
  • Developing new skills for youth
  • Building employment opportunities for men and women
  • Better health care for the sick and old people
  • Better hygiene and sanitation for the community – proper drainage, garbage disposal, etc
  • Creating new economic opportunities – Job creation within the community
  • Building economic independence for Self employed and entrepreneurs

The Objective of the Rehabilitation is not to provide the support and hold up the community but to help them help them hold themselves up independently. “Not feed the hungry man, teach them to fish and feed oneself”

One of the biggest challenge we can expect to face is the resistance from the affected community to move from the stage of relief to rehabilitation. The stage of Rehabilitation is when the onus of rebuilding one’s own family comes back to the earning members of the family. At this stage, people can be comfortable in the negativity of the loss around them and lamenting the loss expecting others to provide support (as would have happened in stage 1 – Rescue and stage 2 – relief).

It is essential to help them take a positive outlook and instill hope about a brighter future as a result of determined and collective work as a community.

The positivity should not stem from material or external factors but from within their own self, their family and community. Only with such an outlook of confidence they can begin to respect and appreciate the support provided to build themselves. In addition to positivity and confidence, they should also begin to act as a community that stands as one. This entails building trust and respect for one another. This is a slow and testing process that will succeed only after many pit falls.

A few steps in building the community as a positive and confident single unit:

Understanding the Community:

Collect database of the families, individuals who form the community and identify the needs of the different groups. Data should cover all demographic and include details of each member and their work/studies, skills, health status etc. This database is the very first step after identifying the community for Rehabilitation.

Happy Circle:

First 3 weeks of rehab – Happy Circle time called for by the Community development volunteer (CDV)along with members of the community (weekdays – evening 7 – 8pm). Atleast one member of each family joins the circle time to share observations and stories of things that made them happy or smile. Their own activities, other’s deeds or hear say stories that made them happy – Objective: let them speak about positive things.

Fourth week onwards – different happy circles by age – old, middle age, youth and children. They are headed by one of the community members. Supervised by the community development volunteer.

Self assessment:

Once the families are comfortable to welcome the CDV into their homes and share their stories and aspirations, the CDV helps the families do a self assessment of their aspirations and the steps to attain them. Breaking down the plans to smaller milestones and helping each member of the family gain an understanding of their share in the family’s aspirations. At this stage, the economic capacity of the family may or may not support the aspirations. If the family needs to build the potential, sources of support can be identified with the help of CDV eg: New skill building or new employment opp for members of the family, etc

Once the family identifies itself against its aspiration and the smaller milestones, the family declares their plan of action to the community (as does every other family). This public proclamation ensures that each member is accountable for their word to each other and also helps the community understand better the battles in each home. (Building mutual respect and support)

A few ways to build the community to greater potential:

  • Create a child care centre
  • Create spaces for tutoring and engagement of kids in sports and co curricular activities
  • Arrange for a few youngsters to be Health in charges – to check on old or disabled or sick people.
  • Help build a simple waste segregation system and publicly recognize families that follow the system.
  • Help in building awareness drives for safety, hygiene and sanitation through the youth of the community.
  • For those who would venture to start new business, help them get a bank loan with initial support while the onus for payment lies with the individual.
  • Arrange for workshops or courses to build skills within the community
  • Plan for a monthly community owned clean up or revamp program where the people involve themselves in the community maintenance.
  • Arrange for workshops on financial planning, banking process workshop to give them basic awareness of the processes.
  • If the families have lost documents, help one of the community members represent them with the Govt for process of retrieval.

Plan by Ms.Vaishnavi Srinivasan, Senior Manager, Ignite programme, Bhumi

Bhumi – Shelter Homes Team Strategy

This is for the volunteers who are involved in assessing shelter homes. Following are the guidelines to assess the status of the shelter homes (orphanages, old age homes) and the key details should be gathered during the visit.

Stage 1 : Collect
1. Overall status of the home.
If the infrastructure is heavily impacted, immediately call the shelter homes core team. These centers require additional immediate attention and speedy recovery process
a. Red : Medium or small impact in the infrastructures; impacts in the inventory; impacts in the day to day life
b. Orange: No impact in infrastructure but impacts in the inventory and day to day routine life
c. Yellow : No impact in the infrastructure and inventory but day to day life if impacted due to water logging
2. Head count – Try to get precise count. This includes,
Number of students – Class-wise, Tamil/English medium wise, Girls and boys count
Number of old people – Men and Women count
Working and nonworking people count including temporary workers

3. Help required from the shelter – list down all the help that they are looking for.
4. Help received from other means such as government, other NGOs and individuals
5. Here is where the tricky work comes in, based on your analysis and understanding, list down all help that they probably need – discuss with visiting team of volunteers and decide.
6. Fill in the Name, Email id and phone number of those groups that visited the centers
7. Also make sure to obtain the name and contact numbers from the shelter homes

Stage 2: Upload
7. These details will be uploaded in the system and you can see the stats of the help provide in the same tracker which will be shared once you send the assessment form

Stage 3: Identify the Need
8. Identify the exact need of the shelter home that we will be fulfilling and list down all the materials along with resource team
9. Fulfill the needs of the shelter home

Stage 4: Follow up
8. Follow-up visits : Coordinate with shelter homes team for further follow up and ensure that the work at the shelter home assigned to you is marked with completed.

Bhumi Flood Relief Strategy Update

Bhumi’s Flood relief strategy Timeline

Nov 16 – 30

  • Door to door collection of in-kind donations and transport to Chennai Rain Relief collection points
  • Volunteering with Chennai Rain Relief partner organisations for food cooking & distribution
  • Collection of food from kitchens and distribution in affected areas
  • Few tonnes of relief materials and thousands of food packets were distributed
  • 200+ volunteers involved

Dec  01 – Dec 07

  • Aiding rescues during the early stages of the flooding
  • Collection of food from kitchens and distribution in affected areas
  • Collection of in-kind donations, transport and distribution to affected areas
  • Aiding volunteer requirements of the government and other non-profit organisations
  • 500+ volunteers involved

Dec  08 – on wards Short term plan

  • Bhumi volunteers split into three teams
  • First team (Shelter Homes & Orphanages Team) will visit/assess and fulfill requirements at Bhumi teaching centres, other orphanages and shelter homes
  • Second team (Community Team) will visit/assess and fulfill requirements at one or a few selected communities
  • Third Team (Resources Team) will set up and manage the Bhumi Relief collection centre setup, will aggregate relief materials from across Chennai, other Bhumi chapters and partner organisations
  • The Resources team will fulfill only requests assessed by the community team and the community team will also facilitate/supervise distributions
  • The teams will extensively use technology to assess and track requirements
  • 500-1,000 volunteers expected to be involved

Medium Term Plan (weeks)

  • Assess health and hygiene requirements in orphanages and engage Bhumi volunteers in fulfilling those
  • Assess health and hygiene requirements in communities and enable them to fulfill their requirements
  • 500-1,000 volunteers expected to be involved

Long Term plan (months)

  • Assessment, Repair and re-building shelter homes and aiding their long term rehabilitation
  • Assessment, Repair and re-building low cost homes of the most needy in the worst flood affected areas by engaging the community along with partner organisations

To be updated – Dr.Prahalathan, co-founder, Bhumi

Strategy Meet – Dec 06

Bhumi Chennai Volunteer – Strategy Meet – Dec06

Volunteers of Bhumi‘s Chennai Team met at the Bhumi office on Dec 06, here are the key points we discussed

  • Three teams to be formed within Bhumi’s Chennai Flood relief group for now
  • First team (Orphanages Team) will visit/assess and fulfill requirements at Bhumi teaching centres, other orphanages and shelter homes
  • Second team (Community Team) will visit/assess and fulfill requirements at one or a few selected communities
  • Third Team (Resources Team) will set up and manage a warehouse to receive/sort and distribute relief material possibly in partnership with AID India
  • The First team (Orphanages Team) will be managed by Kishore Kumar (PC, Chennai, Speak Out) this team will be lead by active Bhumi volunteers only, contact your project team to reach him, others we will reach out to you in a few days
  • The second team (Community Team) will be lead by Baish (National head, Ignite programme)
  • The third team (Resources Team) will be activated once the warehouse is identified
  • Data collection application to be used by Bhumi. Volunteers please install Collect – Data Collection Tool by Social Cops
  • To Volunteer – Sign up on
  • To donate and for other information head over to the main Bhumi website

To be updated furter