The ongoing war against COVID-19 or Coronavirus pandemic, which has gripped at least 185 countries across the world, still seems far from over. Though the three-week countrywide lockdown in India declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 is nearing completion, speculations are rife on its extension, based on the opinions of state governments and experts. The impact of the virus outbreak and the lockdown has certainly been felt by one and all, but it has been most apparent among those who have been deprived of their livelihood and bare essentials. Along with government authorities and officials, several people have extended a helping hand in their individual capacity too, ensuring that no child sleeps hungry and no elderly remains empty stomach.
A number of such persons have taken to short video app VMate and shared videos of their distributing foods among the needy. Some of them have filmed others who participated in the noble cause. Videos have been shared on the platform from different parts of the country, showing how government officials and common people are distributing foods among those residing in villages and remote areas.
A VMate user named Shadab Ali has shared a video wherein he can be seen distributing cash and biscuit packets among children and other villagers. He can also be seen spraying sanitizer on everyone's hands before giving away the packets and currency. Raja, a creator from Bihar's Bhagalpur, too has shared a video of him distributing food packets among kids and other members of a village. A few other VMate creators, such as Muhammad Kasim and Ansh Jain, have also filmed and shared videos of helping those who failed to procure essential food items in the wake of the lockdown.
Sunny Virdi, a creator from Chandigarh, shared a touching video. In the video, his mother is seen serving food and tea to an old man who could not get anything to eat for over two days. In the video, Sunny has urged all the viewers to do their bit by extending a helping hand to such people who have no shelter or food in this time of crisis.
Apart from these, users have also shared videos of other individuals who distributed food and emerged as a lifesaver for scores of others. A user from North 24 Parganas in West Bengal has shared a video showing members of a self-help group distributing cooked food in a village.
Avadhesh Dixit, a creator from Rajasthan, filmed some individuals carrying packets of grains in a vehicle and distributing them among residents of a village. Several elderlies can be seen receiving the packets filled with foodgrains. The video has in its background a song that has always helped in uplifting our spirits - 'Hum Honge Kamyaab', the Hindi version of 'We shall overcome'.
This is not the first time when users have used VMate, which is known as 'Rural India's TikTok', to showcase how the remote parts of the country are battling the unprecedented crisis. Previously, the creators had shown how authorities were using all means of communication to reach out to millions in villages. Videos shared on the app had showed how information was disseminated through loudspeakers on bicycles and autorickshaws.
VMate too has on its own part taken several initiatives to help people in the outbreak and lockdown situation. Several doctors and medical professionals were roped in to furnish validated and relevant information related to the novel virus among its users. Later, the platform launched a profile titled 'Myth Buster', which served corona-related information confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO). With clear text, Hindi audio and illustrations/animations, right messages were conveyed in the right manner to all. Further, to help people remain engaged and entertained in their homes during lockdown, the app launched a #21DaysChallenge and three games that also raised awareness about the pandemic.