Since the beginning of lockdown, we have all been reading heartbreaking news about fellow Indians and it’s been overwhelming, to say the least. I think as students, it’s often confusing to know how you can help in such a situation. When we chanced upon The Crisis Project’s (UK) initiative called ‘Letters to the NHS’ — it felt like a sign; We finally found a way students, such as ourselves, could contribute. ‘Write to Recognize’ is inspired by that movement. It is a simple platform — we share a story of a key worker with a volunteer, who then writes a letter of appreciation for them. Since people have a chance to nominate key workers, we have been able to send letters to doctors, pilots, the police, community leaders — the list is endless. The lockdown has had devastating consequences for us all and it just seemed like the perfect time to go out of our way to show gratitude for our daily heroes like delivery personnel and grocery store owners.
The journey started off with just one letter and the gratitude we felt through hearing the Key workers’ feedback was overwhelming. We knew that we needed to grow this initiative not only to facilitate students like ourselves to contribute to society in a small way but also to show our appreciation to our daily heroes. We set up the basics of our website to allow people to sign up and tell them a little bit about our story. Soon after we made an Instagram account and started to spread the word about writetorecognize through social media as well. Posting regularly was important in order for us to attract new volunteers as well as encourage nominations of Key workers. The response we got was much better than we expected as people from around the world wanted to show their support to those working valiantly in COVID times in India.
Upon sending more letters, we started to receive words of encouragement from the frontline heroes. It was incredible to hear back from them, and so fulfilling to hear that we had made their day. Some responses such as ‘Thank you very much for thinking of us. Just doing my job but it’s a very good feeling when people think about us’, reminded us of how easily we take key workers for granted. Pilots from the Vande Bharat mission have reached out, overwhelmed by the recognition. One said ‘You girls have brought a smile to my face when this email dropped in. It has been my pleasure to serve the community in these testing times. On behalf of the entire pilot fraternity of Air India, I thank you’.
Responses like these have truly kept us going, and have reminded us that a small act of kindness can go a long way. In order to share the responses with our volunteers, we uploaded these testimonials on our Instagram page and website. Our volunteers are making a huge and positive impact, and we wanted to be able to share that with our community. We continue to update our website regularly with positive testimonials from
frontline workers, and from our volunteers. Hearing how simple the experience is and how easy it to make someone smile, has helped inspire other volunteers to sign up with us. We are incredibly proud of this ever-growing community of compassion. We have been lucky enough to be featured on multiple platforms such as ‘MissMalini’, ‘HomeGrown India’, and India’s largest Independent run student newspaper — DU Beat.
We don’t know how much of a difference a letter can make — but we believe that we have built a more emphatic community in a mere few weeks. In the first 2 weeks itself, we reached over 150 key workers and 200 volunteers- we were overwhelmed and full of gratitude for such an enthusiastic response to our initiative. If you’re reading this and inspired to join our movement, sign up with ConnectFor and volunteer to write a letter of gratitude by heading to this link
Write A Letter to A Key Worker! A great advantage of virtual volunteering is that you could be anywhere in the world and still join our cause — we have worked with volunteers in Peru, Singapore, and the USA! We are looking forward to your support, join us today in making key workers smile!