When the COVID-19 pandemic hit India, volunteers of Bharat Scouts and Guides, Prayagraj, decided to help those most vulnerable to get through these unprecedented times and began setting up unique banks, like a 'Soap Bank', 'Anaaj Bank', 'Sanitary Pad Bank' and even a 'Time Bank'.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, the volunteers have been distributing soaps, sanitary pads etc among the needy while those attached to the 'Time Bank' are devoting their time to visiting old and infirm people at their homes in different villages.
"(The volunteers) inquire about their health and needs at a time when many are finding themselves alone and helpless during the pandemic," said Firoz Alam Khan, an academic resource person with the state’s basic education department and the district scout master of Prayagraj.
"There are scouts and guides in almost 665 government-run primary and upper primary schools, besides 185 secondary schools and 30 degree colleges of the district. In these institutions, around 35,000 students are a part of this movement, which is managed by 240 warranted scout masters and 1,400 more scout masters and guide captains," Khan said, adding that it was the volunteers who were managing and operating the unique banks.
These banks, according to the report, started functioning from May 25, and around 250 bars of soaps, 150 sanitary pads and 900 facemasks have been distributed in the slums of Bairahana and Fakirganj till now, according to the newspaper.
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Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
"To run these banks, a collection centre has been set up at the government primary school in Allenganj where all the items are collected and deposited for distribution through these banks," Reeta Sharma, a teacher at a government-run primary school, said.Follow our full coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic here.