With new positive cases of COVID-19 being reported every day, reading the news can be mentally excruciating for many of us. However, in this scenario, what is truly distressing is the increasing ostracisation of health workers, the ones who are truly at the forefront of the crisis.
In spite of the stern messaging from different state governments, there have been several instances where they have been attacked, asked to vacate their homes, or even been prevented from doing their job.
In this scenario, Suchana Saha’s decision to lease two of her family-owned flats to health workers, completely rent-free, is worthy of appreciation.
“I read about how health care workers were being driven away from their homes by landlords for saving the lives of positive COVID-19 patients. This was deeply distressing, and I wanted to do something to help out,” says the 26-year-old animation cinema student at Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), who is a resident of Nagerbazar in Kolkata.
After thinking hard, she realised that her family owned two unoccupied flats, which could be rented out to health workers in need. So, she posted a status update on Facebook and since then, has gotten more than 20 queries and is currently in talks with several nurses.
“One of the nurses who contacted me was from RG Kar Medical College and Hospital. She was thrown out by her landlord because she was treating COVID-19 patients and is currently staying with her other friends who are also nurses. They plan on moving in and I have asked them to provide their identification cards for reference,” she mentions.
The reason why what Suchana has done is important because her one act of kindness has inspired several other people to do the same.
“I have not only gotten queries from people who want to live here but also from people who want to help out. Three of my friends have said they can also shelter some of these health workers in case the two flats occupied quickly. Even random strangers have gotten in touch with me saying they want to help out. This feels good,” she smiles.
How she went about it
Since the flats she was going to offer on rent were in a different building, she had to take permission from the building secretary.
“My father and I spoke to Mr. Poddar, who is the building secretary and told him what the plan was. Luckily, he spoke to everyone in the building, and everyone gave a green signal. This was important as I wouldn’t have been able to execute this without their permission,” she says.
While both the flats have been aired and cleaned thoroughly, Suchana mentions that they are still unoccupied as of now.
“We are in the process of verifying the details of the nurses for one flat, and the second one is still unoccupied. Quite a few people have reached out to me, and some have even offered to pay rent. But, I am insistent that both these flats are only for doctors and nurses who have faced discrimination and need shelter urgently,” she mentions.
“Our health workers are risking their lives and those of their own families to protect us. The doctor-patient ratio in the country is already abysmal, so most we can do at this crucial moment is to show gratitude and do the best we can to help,” she says, signing off.
If you are a healthcare professional from Kolkata or know someone who has been ostracised and evicted from their home, contact Suchana at 89812 29636.
Facebook post source: Indiatimes
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)