How Nepali Society supporting their members through COVID 19
Coronavirus cases reached 16 in Tasmania as five people tested positive on one day on 21st March. Port Arthur Site closed, and precautionary measures started to occur. That same morning, Nepali Society of Tasmania (NEST) sensed things were going to get worst so opened a closed Facebook group “Helping Hand for Tasmanian Nepalese Students during Corona Virus” We started to invite people into this group if they were struggling or if they wanted to help those that were struggling. We started the first phase of the program.
Reach out to those who have come from Nepal in 2020 Intake. Our thoughts were around the fact they have just arrived, do not know the community, probably haven’t made many friends outside. So, we offered grocery hampers for those that needed it.
For second phase, we started to look at what we need to do beyond that immediate grocery hamper support. By now it was obvious there was an information overload out there. We wanted to decipher that information. We also realised that we need to go beyond immediate grocery hamper program. So, we started “Extend Our Family” program. In this one family takes on one person (can take more than one) Minimum requirement is one-to-one mentoring because we want to ensure everyone is OK. If family wants to help with grocery support, then great. If not, we will find a way. Apart from that we also started few other programs:
- Nepali Grocery Store in Hobart – put a box with note there for those that shop there letting them know if they want, they can buy an item of a choice and put in the box. This has collected enough to make a food hamper almost every week for the needy.
- We stated Facebook Live sessions to give information to everyone and help decipher what is out there on complex topics like withdrawing from superannuation to rental moratorium and your rights. We brought in Professionals in the area for these topics
We are now running in Phase 3
It has been 2 months since initial isolation started. This is where we are right now. We are seeing more people who are worried and scared. It was always expected because we knew people would run out of savings by now. We have two programs running in this phase:
- Food Hamper Support for a person in “Extend our Family” where hamper is costed at 80 dollars a fortnight per person. This is done through our Nepalese Grocery Store again as we want to ensure our local business also gets support.
- Mental health is something that we are worried about. So, in “Extend our Family” we want mentors first. It is not necessary to be able to provide financial support to be a mentee. Therefore, we have started to fundraise. Our Mentees will tell NEST who needs financial support and we will try and help. We have also started receiving funding support from some Nepalese Businesses. This way we are also growing the number of mentees too since they know they don’t have financial obligations.
We are now looking at Phase 4.
Phase 4 has to be about ensuring that that while we make sure nobody is sleeping without food, we are also THINKING about how the vulnerable ones in community also sustain themselves once we come out of this Covid-19 phase. Not just that, but we should also be thinking and planning for the world that could face a possible second wave. We don’t know what programs we will have for that yet for Phase 4, but our team is brainstorming programs that incorporates both the “post covid-19 phase” and hopefully not but a possible “second wave”