The fight against COVID-19 has been an uphill battle in the country. It has also, however, shown us, that a little bit of humanity can go a long way. While many wonder what's being done for police force's safety amid the pandemic, there are those who are silently working to help them.
19-year-old Amaan Asim, a resident of Bengaluru and a student at Ashoka University began his own initiative to help procure, design and distribute masks to the city's police force. On Friday, Amaan handed over the 3,000 masks to the Bengaluru City Police in the presence of Commissioner Kamal Pant, IPS and state Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
Helping the police force mask up
In the fight against COVID-19, the role of masks has been essential. In a way to prevent the spread of the disease and in helping individuals stay safe. For those on the frontline, the mask has become a basic and integral part of their uniform. However, the procurement of masks, especially those considered to be of good quality is an important factor.
The police force in Bengaluru has been on its own so far in doing this for their workforce. However, there are those that are thinking about them. A young and aware citizen Amaan Asim in association with the Humane Touch Trust organisation, of which Amaan heads the Youth Wing has procured 3,000 masks for the police force. The Human Touch Trust had been part of COVID relief with its Mercy Mission which helped get food and ration to daily-wage earners and workers during the lockdown.
Speaking to IBTimes, Asim discusses how he went about the idea he had at the end of June this year, "We saw there was an initiative being done in Bombay where they were raising funds for the police force, for masks. They as well were using the same company so instantly when I saw that I said there's a need in Bangalore as well, I wonder what is the story back here. When I googled, and actually tried to search what is the scenario, we noticed officially they've been given no masks given, nothing sanctioned or nothing which is uniformly given. So we said ok, there's a need clearly over here."
Plunging into action, Asim contacted the manufacturers and received a quotation, and sent it out to his contacts. It took them two weeks to get the necessary funds he said. The #MaskOurWarriors initiative has so far been a one-man effort, Amaan says. Having sourced funding from private individuals and corporate funding Prestige Group, the initiative plans to donate quality N95 masks to the police force. The initiative was geared not only on providing masks, but masks that meet the current health standards set across the world.
Speaking about the Bengaluru police Asim said, "It's our gift to them, there is nothing requisitioned from their end. But, the thing is that they have always been supportive of such an initiative happening, obviously appreciative of the efforts. They've given us their logos for putting on the masks." Now, the masks go with the city police force's uniforms, including the khaki colour and logos.
The 3,000 masks are just the start Amaan says, and the goal is to donate masks to the entire force if possible. The handover took place on Friday, in the presence of Commissioner Kamal Pant, and Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
Talking about the challenges in launching such an initiative Amaan reveals, it was especially tough to secure funding. He describes the phone calls he had with individuals, "People just saying, 'Oh no, we've already done this earlier, we've given masks' but people don't understand the quality of the masks that they have distributed. Or the sort of level that we're looking at covering." Moreover, the masks were sourced from Mumbai and the challenge was also in getting the masks to Bengaluru.
Talking about whether it's possible for youngsters to pick up the baton in tough times and set up similar initiatives and campaigns, Amaan says, "I think it's very much possible. I think with the necessary support we can certainly reach out to people. Obviously, this is a long-term thing. We can see 3,000 masks as a small amount at the end of the day. It's 7,000 more masks to reach the entire police force."
Amaan says that he will continue working towards new initiatives in education and emergencies such as COVID-19 in the future. It's safe to say the city needs more such initiatives.