The girl from Odisha: Preparing her Village Community to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic

Kerenga village in Koraput district in Odisha is home to Rashmita who lives with her mother and younger brother. Having lost her father at an early age, the weight of the world fell upon her young shoulders. As the sense of responsibility dawned upon her, she set out to take charge of not only her family, but also her community.

Rashmita works as a peer volunteer in her village for the last few years. South Orissa Voluntary Action (SOVA), the organisation working in her village, imparted skills and training that proved to be a life changing experience for her. Today, her work spans across different community issues revolving around health, nutrition, community development, social welfare, child rights, and protection, and education. She spearheads health and hygiene awareness campaigns with adolescents and young girls of her village.

Even with a situation, as alarming as COVID-19, she did not shy away from her duties. As villagers had to confine themselves indoors to contain the spread of the virus, Rashmita decided to arrange for masks for the people of her community. She reached out to various civil society organizations and within a span of 2-3 days, she gathered around 150 masks for all the residents. However, she was not content and wanted to contribute more. With her persistent efforts and determination, she was finally able to distribute around 3000 masks to the most vulnerable of the community, like elderly people, pregnant and lactating mothers, children, people with disabilities, and to those in need.  
The safety and well-being of the community remained of utmost importance to her and she continues traveling from one village to another to train young children, women in basic hygiene practices. 
To this date, she has demonstrated the ‘6 steps hand washing’ process to 580 women, 350 adolescent girls, and 350 children. She is driving awareness campaigns on the prevention of coronavirus, the importance of physical distancing and maintaining cleanliness. Rashmita is also supporting the Panchayat officials during PDS distribution and pension activities.  Praising the commendable action of this young lady, the Village Head proudly says, “She has done an excellent job in training people to maintain physical distance among themselves and has brought a transformation in developing hand wash practice among the children.” 
About SOVA
SOVA, founded in 1993, works to promote the best interest of disadvantaged communities with a holistic intervention approach. It has been streamlining the community development process by implementing programmes on community health, quality education, sustainable livelihood, village governance, child rights and child protection. To know more about SOVA, visit, http://www.sovakoraput.org/
About EdelGive Foundation
EdelGive Foundation has been supporting SOVA’s initiatives since 2018. EdelGive Foundation is a grant-making organisation, helping build and expand philanthropy in India by funding and supporting the growth of high-calibre small to mid-sized NGOs. EdelGive makes, receives, and manages grants, to empower vulnerable children, women, and communities via a zero-cost platform. 
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