Quaranteens is an initiative by a few students in the DP-2 class to help provide basic necessities to people in need in these tough times. When we all went into lockdown, everyone struggled to cope with this new and unheard-of situation. However, as we persevered in the comfort of our homes, the people that we see on the streets that are not as fortunate were forgotten about. While having a conversation, a few of us began to wonder what would happen to them in these dire circumstances. This is where the idea of Quaranteens was born. How could a group of teenagers in quarantine help these people?
As lockdown restrictions eased, we were able to see these people on the streets again, but many of them were without masks and sanitisers that have become a necessity to protect oneself from COVID-19. We decided that this was something that we could help with. As an art student, I also saw this as an opportunity for a small photography project to capture the moments from the perspective of the students and the recipients.
In order to effectively understand what these people needed, we went out and investigated what they require. We noticed, right away, that none of them were wearing masks. Some of them were even being penalised by the traffic police waiting at junctions. This was something that we felt was a necessary part of this project. Although this project will not be sufficiently large scale to provide a massive number of people with these necessities, it is important to provide these people with whatever help that we can.
When the time for distribution came, we were quite well prepared with a good amount of food, masks, and sanitisers. However, when we arrived at the locations to donate, we noticed that many of these people expected only food as donations. As a result, many of them seemed to assume the sanitiser sachets that we included in the package were also edible. With other group members not proficient in Hindi or Marathi, we had to make sure to translate and convey to them what was edible and what the sanitiser was to be used for. Aside from just distributing, it was nice to have conversations with the people we were distributing to as we realised early on that they seemed to enjoy seeing new faces around.
Although it is normal to feel compassion for the people in need, seeing these people become excited about the small gesture we were doing to help them was an eye-opening experience. Although we prepared all the resources to donate, the finances behind all the donations and transportation to all the locations, we did not plan to feel the way we did after we had finished the day of donations. It was heartwarming, but also worrying at the same time to see the condition the pandemic has left most of these people in.
Although we plan to do more of this in the near future, we hope to do it with the help of the MIS community. If you have anything you are willing or able to give, please visit our website and fill in the form at https://www.quaranteens.co.in/ or DM our Instagram page at @quaranteens2021.
Aryan R (DP 2)