Reaching out to the nearest in need is something we can do. Often, those in need are living closest to us.
During this time of the pandemic, helping whom you can is the norm that all of us can use.
Maybe not a wide outreach but certainly enough to reach out to someone who could be in need but not able to share the need out loud.
That’s what Abhisheka Wimalaweera, a well know Sri Lankan singer and entrepreneur did on social media.
Her campaign “ළගම ගෙදරට උදව් රමු” not only created a chain reaction of help but also generated a tremendous amount of goodwill for those in need as lockdowns came into effect.
As Sri Lanka struggles with the COVID-19 lockdowns, many are facing economic woes. Most of which cannot be put into words or shared – but the need is very real.
Sometimes those in need belong to a social class that prevent them from seeking help vocally.
The livelihood of many families is impacted ; not only daily wage earners but even professional categories who have faced salary cuts and lack of work.
Social media has been a boon to those seeking to help others – and gave Abhisheka her platform to marshal everyone together in an effort of goodwill and outreach.
One woman’s effort was soon amplified with others joining – for Abhisheka, it was indeed a labour of love.
When Satyn caught up with her, this is what she had to say
What inspired you to come up with such idea (ළගමගෙදරටඋදව්කරමු) – reaching out to nearest in need?
Abhisheka says that living in an apartment in Borella helped her realise that those living in urban settings such as apartments needed help desperately during the lockdown.
” They are stressed – they don’t have a garden to get some fresh air. Many have financial issues. ”
“What I realised was that I didn’t have to wait to help someone – the closest home would do.”
Abhisheka posted her campaign on Facebook, wanting to help as many as she can. As an artiste, she had a reach that could be put to good use by bringing people together to help those in need.
” As soon as I shared on Facebook, someone living very close to my apartment requested for help.That’s when I realised that a lot more people around the city, and the country need such help.”
Reaching out to the nearest in need became a campaign slogan for this courageous young artiste whose determination and commitment touched others, bringing them together.
” We started with 300 homes and I’m happy to say that as at now ,we have helped an uncountable amount of homes.” she says.
How far did your campaign go and how did it bring results?
She started on her own but that’s the power of one in action – soon, she had a formidable team with her to extend reaching out to the nearest in need.
“There many good people in Sri Lanka – with large hearts, they have opened their wallets to meet the needs of others in the most selfless way.”
” There were many others who helped to distribute goods using their private vehicle passes. We’ve also had help from those who work for Uber and Pick Me. It’s been such a magnanimous community effort for all of us.”
She says that the authorities, the Police, SL Navy and those who are working in the harbour have also helped the cause.
” I think by now we have helped about 5000 homes around the country”.
Were there any obstacles you had to overcome?
” Not really. I had a huge amount of support. I never imagined that I could accomplish a project of this size and nature.”
Abhisheka’s project worked because she never did solicit money – instead, what she built was a bridge between those in need and those willing to help.
” Being a woman helped definitely in making the project a success – I believe the empathy, the ability to reach out naturally comes to us as women.”
Any inspiration you can give other women-
” My biggest appeal to everyone is not to take the stress and the frustration of being indoors out on each other or the children. We have to overcome this pandemic together, as a nation.”
” We had a better childhood than our kids. Unfortunately, our kids don’t have access to nature and freedom as we did.
Let’s not take out the stress of the lockdown out on those whom we love – our children. Let us face these challenges with strength and confidence.”
Reach out to the nearest in need. Get started right now.
If you too like to reach out to her project, you can contact her on Facebook.