Calls for temperature scanners for disadvantaged communities and masks for a hospital about to run out. Offers for free counseling sessions. Streaming live musical performances. Elsewhere, volunteer efforts to keep communities supplied with goods.
As fear of infection is turning many inward, others in Bangkok are harnessing social media to make a difference by sharing information, rallying to support at-risk communities and making sure everyone gets through the current crisis together.
Rather staying hunched over Twitter and imploding from despair, we can take action and help make sure everyone gets through this. Being useful is also good for the old mental health.
While there are certainly large foundations and NGOs worthy of support, we’ve looked for some direct-action efforts organized by real people with specific goals. From micro-crowdfunds for health workers to DIY volunteerism, here are some ways you can help.
Since last week, Covid Bangkok Aid has been sharing information and organizing aid efforts with an emphasis on helping elderly Thais who are medically vulnerable and isolated.
“The most vulnerable to this disease are the elderly and those with compromised immune systems,” wrote page admin Giacomo Abrusci, adding that the page’s main focus was to get groceries and medication to those unable to leave their homes.
Volunteers have helped deliver dried goods and supplies to several elderly Bangkok residents, including an 80-year-old Lat Phrao man who has difficulty walking and no microwave.
Its goal is to match volunteers with those in need who are near to them in their communities. Goods are handled hygienically, Abrusci said, and dropped off outside.
Others have used the page to offer free counseling services, yoga sessions and helpful information. Like any open community, it risks being overrun by shitposts.
Another group established Wednesday, Covid Relief Bangkok, shares similar goals but plans to target “the most in-need communities in Bangkok based on age and pre-existing conditions,” admin Adam Sharpe wrote in a post.
“As Bangkok goes into lockdown, and with the Coronavirus pandemic only in its early stages, communities across the city will be drastically short of food and supplies, trying to survive without the bare essentials they need to live,” he wrote. “We will not let this happen, and we need your help.”
It’s first effort will be to distribute packages April 2 in the Nang Loeng community in Bangkok’s old town area. Sharpe wrote they had acquired face masks and alcohol gel and were still looking for food supplies.
While their collective impact may be limited, they stand a chance of reaching some people in need while Thailand has yet to offer a comprehensive aid response as its capital, economy and ways of life grind to a halt.
Launched a few days ago, the #GoWith20 campaign is asking for only THB20 to support the “Thai heroes” who are health care workers by providing protective equipment and food. Though it was started by some regular folks, it has gotten a celeb boost from the likes of TV personality Vuthitorn “Woody” Milintachinda and actress Urassaya “Yaya” Sperbund.
The campaign’s hashtag #GoWith20WinsCOVID19 trended atop Thai Twitter on Wednesday.
The Thammask campaign recently launched to fund production of 60,000 cotton and polyester face masks with durable water repellency to block vapor and fluids.
The masks will be given to medical staff and health professionals who have been working hard to fight COVID-19.
The project was initiated by many organizations including Thammasat University and Thai Health Promotion Foundation and crowdfund channel Taejai.
Though it has met its target of THB1.7 million, Thammask can be supported here.
For those needing substitutes for culture and connection, Facebook Live is a good place to find artists, workshops, musicians and therapists streaming. Local Bangkok musicians Paponpat Weerawit, Nap Pakanat and Marcus Skinner are just a few doing occasional, impromptu sessions, so follow them to hear more.
Skinner said viewers can message and interact during his performances, and even control the music he makes on a hand-built synthesizer.
Know of another worthy (legitimate) effort or cool thing happening online during this time of crisis? Hit us up in the comments or at email@example.com. Always exercise caution as scams abound in times like these.