The situation resulting from novel coronavirus pandemic has affected people across the world. There are however, some who have been doing everything in their power to help those less fortunate.
The virus hit Qatar in a similar way as it has in other parts of the world. Qatar however, is different in many positive ways. The government has worked hard to check the outbreak and minimise its economic fallout.
Further, there have been numerous individuals who reached out to people who needed support of all kinds.
British expatriate Carolyn Collins is one of the many philanthropists who have been making sure that those who have been rendered jobless get enough food supplies to sustain themselves during these difficult times.
General Manager at Roots Hair & Beauty Salon, Carolyn moved to Qatar in January 2018 to manage her sister’s salon. “We have been closed since the March 18 and during this period I have been busy ensuring Roots continues to be fully active on the social media. We have been promoting our product delivery service and keeping in touch with our team, our client base and all the women we support in our local community. In my spare time, I have been able to do more exercise as well as self-development with Mindvalley [an education technology company founded in 2002]. I have also been listening to audio books and podcasts to benefit both the business and myself.”
In April, Carolyn became a part of the initiative launched by several women living in the Pearl. “They were collecting food for employees who found themselves with no salary and food, and some who were rendered homeless after their companies shut down. When I saw a message on one of my WhatsApp groups asking for food donations, I thought this was a wonderful initiative and offered to put it on our Roots social media platforms. At Roots we have a ‘Giving Back’ initiative where we collect toys and clothes. I offered to donate these items with some food I had bought.
“A friend, Shray Presenger, asked me if I would like to drop food items off to a couple of families in need and it broke my heart to meet these families. From an initial three families, I then got swamped by amazing people within our community who wanted to help. In four weeks, I had delivered to over 100 groups in need. Some of them were groups of up to 75 people. I was storing the food in my bedroom. The donations were coming in thick and fast but so were cries for help, so I moved all the donations to Roots. For the past three months, I have been receiving all the donations at the salon and preparing the food to go out and organise volunteer drivers to drop them off to those in need. Some of the drivers have their own groups. An amazing guy called Paul Okubasu who is a fitness instructor in Doha, is out nearly every night till all hours delivering. It has become extremely organised and runs like clockwork.”
The volunteer has been all praise for the generosity she has received from her community. “I have now dealt with over 400 groups and I personally liaise with most of the families with babies. I got involved in the families. I also receive so many baby donations such as formula, nappies etc. every week. We also have a large group of men we support in the Industrial Area. I also send food to a friend that supports many families in Al Khor. We have given food to every nationality, but the ones who have largely received the donations are from the Philippines, Kenya and Uganda.”
Carolyn calls the experience of distributing food very humbling. “The most rewarding part of this initiative has been the deliveries; to be able to meet the people and children receiving the food in person is just so humbling and a fantastic experience and one I will always remember.
“It has also been so uplifting to see how a community can pull together, stand strong and help the less fortunate. The pandemic has hit every single one of us. Many have no money to feed themselves and some have no accommodation. There are many people who have no means to pay for a flight to go to their home country.
“I feel incredibly grateful and privileged to have been able to meet so many amazing people. All of us will reflect on this pandemic in different ways during our lifetime; however, I can honestly say I will be looking at this time with true gratefulness and gratitude for so many different reasons.”
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