Voice Coming From Afar —records of the 4th IACCR meeting


Ever since the end of Ever since the end of February, Chinese anti-epidemic campaign has been reaching across borders. In this process, many civil society organizations(CSOs) and volunteers have been playing an important role. Their goals—respond to the need of others’, share their experience, and push those CSOs to be more professional in “Going international”.

On 10 a.m., April 17th, Social Responsibility Practitioners (SRP), as one of the main members participated in the online conference, organized by the International Alliance for COVID-19 Community Response (IACCR) on Zoom. Participants consist of experts and volunteers from all over the world. Here are three typical projects that helped fight against COVID-19.

“Sui-Sui-Suita” Bringing Warmth to Elderly People Living Alone

Hikaru Okishio from Osaka University, Japan has been invited to share his experience of a Japanese NGO “Sui-Sui-Suita” in psychologically supporting elderly who live alone in the epidemic.

“It has been hardly to see anyone for the entire whole month!”、“We even haven’t been dare to go to the supermarket since we are so afraid of being infected of coronavirus there”. The highly-connected network in Japan has made it hard for everyone to take care of themselves without getting help of other people in the period of epidemic, especially for elderly who live alone. Sui-Sui-Suita, a student organization built under the background of the Osaka Earthquake in June, 2018, perfectly understands the role of communication in emergencies. Trying to build connection between college students and local people, this time, they have changed their focus to the vulnerable groups—the elderly people living alone.

As early as in February 2020 (before the situation in Japan started to worsen), volunteers on social welfare have long been paying attention to the need of elderly living alone, and delivering home-made food to them one by one. Then as the situation went worse and to avoid being infected, their “face to face” communication had to pause. Later, inspired by the idea of Ms. Xie from Wuhan, they came up with the idea of “writing a letter to mentally support elderly who live alone.”

Sui-Sui-Suita has organized its meetings either by means of online chatting or online phone calls. Letters were gathered in the form of PDF or posts, then volunteers would drop by the houses of those elderly to deliver letters. Now, Sui-Sui-Suita is waiting for responses and feedback from the elderly concerning those letters, and at the same time, expanding the coverage of the service, so that more comfort and help would be delivered to those elderly.

Spring can never be stopped by wall”—breaking the wall of labels through psychological support

Luo Xiaolin, representing the community-based organization “I YOU SHE” in Chengdu, China also shared her experience in “eliminating panic and discrimination, rebuilding trust and friendship in the community.”

In some ways, “discrimination” is one of the most popular words, while “labeling” is one of the most commonly seen phenomena during the epidemic period. Discrimination against Asians, Chinese (shouting Chinese virus), against overseas Chinese students who came back to China, and against some people from Wuhan… Discriminations built up invisible walls between countries, provinces and also did harm to the relations and trust among people.

Take China as an example, social problems raised by discrimination is nothing new. Those who have been discriminated not only need to bear the inconvenience materially, but also undertake the pressure and anxiety psychologically. For those who moved out from Hubei, rejection could be witnessed everywhere, both in job-seeking and returning to hometown. The same dilemma is faced by those who just came back from abroad, including overseas students, businessmen, tourists and workers. Some of them are going through extreme anxiety, anger and sensitiveness; some are being isolated in socializing, some are unwilling to obey rules in quarantine and others, mostly overseas workers, for whom financial problem remains a biggest concern.

Targeting at these social problems, “I YOU SHE” launched community psychological service with service of “double professionals” provided by social workers and psychological counselors as a core. Starting from four aspects, it hopes to achieve the effect of not only eliminating panic discrimination, but also helping such groups to get through their real plights. Community support services: promote trust and friendship among people “being labeled” by organizing them together; hotline consulting service: provide policy consultation and psychological consultation for people in isolation who returned from overseas, alleviate their anxiety, and promote mutual assistance among themselves; daily services: purchase daily goods, provide express delivery and other daily services; living assistance: provide those migrant workers returned from overseas who have been temporarily poverty-stricken, financial support for their isolation and quarantine and ease their tension. In addition, “I YOU SHE” also strengthened the group protection for the poor and the elderly living alone, especially offered help to those who live alone in difficulties, and provided them with long-term anti-virus medical supplies for protection, such as thermometers, drugs, masks, medical disinfectants and kitchen health supplies.

“Film debate”: a new anti-epidemic and decompression therapy

Jolio Uriega, a member of the public welfare team “+JANDI” from Mexico, shared the team’s experience with us from another perspective: “under such sudden outbreak of COVID-19, the film debate helps to express emotions”.

“Isolation, physical distance, schools and workplaces density all pose great challenges, during which stress, anxiety, fear and loneliness occur naturally,” said the head of the world health center. During the epidemic, there are a lot of social groups which focus on psychological services while few of them could promote emotional expression through debates under the background of films. “+JANDI” is the one that stands out to do so.

As a health community, “+JANDI” is committed to building up a professional health team working for the well-being of patients, and also promoting people to take spontaneous actions to maintain their physical, mental and emotional health. During the epidemic, “+JANDI” not only held a series of related professional activities for practice from the perspective of psychology, physiotherapy and dietetics, but also launched some relatively novel decompression therapies.

The film debate remains as one of them. “+JANDI” would show some films closely related to their patients’ diseases and further debate on these issues on a new respect. At first, they just wanted to develop the emotional expression of these professionals through film debates, share life stories and life experiences with each other, and cultivate their sense of belonging and security for the group in the process. While in the end, it was more than that. After practicing again and again, film debate has gradually changed their perspective on film. They considered film as a platform for learning and finding answers; film debate has also increased their sense of union and identity with other members; film debate also promotes the collision of ideas and values, and provides them with different living strategies.

IACCR was established by the experts, scholars, public welfare organizations and governmental institutions from China, Japan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and India at the end of February. It is a platform to share and exchange knowledge and experiences of fighting against coronavirus organized by different countries and organizations. In addition to a platform for information exchange, IACCR also helps countries affected by the epidemic to recruit volunteers, purchase corresponding medical supplies, and provide other assistance. On April 3rd, Shenzhen International Public Welfare Institute released the “Ten Action Cases of Chinese Social Organizations Participating in the Global Anti Epidemic Campaign”, in which IACCR has been listed successfully. SRP joined IACCR in March and have participated in four online communications and sharing meetings.

SRP concentrates on promoting the communication and cooperation between China and the world in the field of social responsibility. We are trying to build a platform to tell stories both from China and the other corners of the world. We hope to observe the value of human nature in one story after another and find out such a colorful world with a promising future!

Translators: 许函睿,Ariadne闫丁凡

Proofreader: Jeanette周霁虹

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