With the second wave of the pandemic in the NCR came a spike in the number of distress calls. The very fact that people who we’ve shared our lives with were being reduced to mere numbers shook us. I coordinated with 4 of my guys and, in under 48 hours, we assembled a team of 40+ volunteers and deployed our service. The aim was to provide only personally verified leads to the ones who need it the most because the nation had lost innumerable lives to inaccurate information dispersal.
The initial plan was to personally vet the leads for crucial resources (O2 concentrators, oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, etc.) and update them on our website and social media distribution channels. It was by the end of the first day we realized that this solved only half of the problem, we still had to get these verified leads in the hands of the right people - majorly the people who are panicking in desperate need and don't have the access to our website and away from the "hoarders" against humanity.
We pivoted by the next morning, deploying 3 helplines - through Instagram (because of the quick reach generation by harnessing the pre-existing connections of the team across the state), Twitter (to respond to the SOS tweets demanding immediate support), and through personal channels such as our private phone numbers to benefit any distress calls received at the personal ends. This method was very tedious but the results were much more tangible. We were no longer populating a database buried under search results, but helping people one-on-one.
We began with the goal of saving just 1 life and yet, within a week, we had reached upwards of 23,000 users. After successfully overcoming the challenges to operations in our hometown of Delhi, we collaborated and deployed our service to the city of Kanpur. Our efforts were applauded by several celebrities and newspapers alike.