Care Vectors provided medical relief during the Uttarakhand Landslide at a time when there was no relief in sight for the victims. We present an interview with Dr. Varun, a co-founder of Care Vectors. He shares how they started this organization and talks about the amazing impact they have achieved so far.
‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful the experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster’
– Dalai Lama
A testament to this aphorism is Care Vectors which came into being to extend succour to the Uttarakhand tragedy victims. As Pranveer, the co-founder of the organization intoned, “For me, it all started tragically with 7 members of my extended family being the victims of the Uttarakhand tragedy. I along with my family members and friends did whatever we could to find them. It was then, that I came in contact with Dr. Varun, who had taken upon himself to help out millions of people in need of instant help in these dire circumstances,. Talking to the locals and analysing the problem at hand, we decided to encounter this in an organized manner and CVFCT came into existence.”
With Dr. Varun right amidst the rapids metaphorically and literally, Pranveer along with volunteers in South Korea initiated a “Mission Warmth” to collect warm clothes for the devastated victims .
Here is an excerpt from the interview with Dr. Varun, Secretary, Care Vectors.
How did Care Vector come into existence? What was your motivation behind it?
In the advent of Uttarakhand floods, all roads leading to the villages on the Gangotri national highway were deluded. Seeing that, I formed a team of volunteers, arranged medicines, emergency kit and somehow reached the affected area traversing onerous trails.
Our team provided assistance at a time when there was no help in sight for the victims. From that moment, we realized that we need to formulate a dedicated health relief and rehab organization for combating exigencies like Uttaranchal floods.
This way, on July 2013, Care Vectors Foundation Charitable Trust (CVFCT) came into being.
What are the various initiatives of Care Vectors?
We conceptualized and started the Uttarakhand Flood Relief program in 2013. We regularly organized health check up and relief camps in isolated flood devastated villages around and above Uttarkashi upto Gangotri. As recently as the 1st week of December , we had relief camps in Siror, Lonthru, Bayna and Netala. We also assisted the Government Hospital in Uttarkashi by connecting them with specialist paediatrician and gynaecologist.
Women, teen-age girls and elderly were the worst affected as they could not come down the hill just to receive palliative care. In those flood affected areas water borne infections were rampant, followed by foetal and gynaecology related ailments.
During the monsoon season from July-September, we trekked through the mountains and at times some of the volunteers got injured as well. Our volunteer team comprised of medical and non-medico volunteers.
Apart from providing preventive and palliative care, our team headed by Dr. Atul Kanikar (MD,DCH) organized several camps in school to disseminate information regarding hygiene and first aid.
What are the achievements of Care Vectors till date?
Care Vectors germinated from the thought of transmitting care from an individual to another.
As an infant organization, with little or negligible resources we have tried to contribute to the best of our capabilities in improving the lives of people living in this far flung mountainous terrain. We have successfully developed a dedicated bunch of volunteers who are proud to call themselves Care Vectors of Uttarkashi. These care vectors have basic preventive health care training to tackle emergencies like floods, earthquakes etc.
Do tell us a bit more the ‘Mission Warmth’ initiative. What has been the response to it till now?
Mission Warmth initiative is an effort to provide warmer clothes to the affected villages so that they can bear the long, harsh winters. We are asking our urban friends to donate their warm clothes (which are in decent condition) . The first leg of the program is over and we received great response from India and Korea and as a result have accumulated approx. 800 kgs of clothes. The second leg of transporting the clothes to Uttarakhand was completed in the last week of January.
What are the future plans of Care Vectors?
People of the flood devastated regions now recognize ‘Care Vectors’ . We hope to develop a self-sustaining health care facility for the resource deprived people of this region and to create a means of livelihood especially during the lean months when tourism is at the lowest ebb. We aim to spread our message to people across the world and have committed donors, volunteers join us in our endeavour.
Last, but not the least – volunteers. It is because of people like Ms. Mamta D who takes care of funding, publicty and IT related queries of the non profit that organizations like ours are able to somehow trudge along.
For more information, about how you can become a small vector in this polygon of care and empathy. Check out www.carevectors.org