The ‘new normal’ – Citizen Social Responsibility (The other CSR)

Enough has been written and said about the pandemic and how it has transformed lives.

There are the obvious things such as working from home which we live everyday. Equally obvious are things we see, such everyone wearing masks. But, there are many less obvious things that have happened, and we at StepOne would like to share one such observation, hoping that it will persist beyond this ‘disaster.’

Disaster had struck India. And the whole world. Anxiety, panic and helplessness was abundant. There were visuals from inside an ICU, and those that appeared on media showing the millions of migrants that made journeys of millions of steps to their homes.

But like any other disaster that we have witnessed during our lifetimes, there have always been folks that stepped forward like we see every single time a natural disaster. State machinery kicks in, NGO’s operate at full throttle, volunteers sign up to help, and funds pour in to assist those that are in distress. Eventually, the dust settles, and life returns to normal. The ‘trauma’ is overcome, and we all believe that equilibrium has been attained.

This ‘tsunami’ has been quite different in many ways, with the duration being an obvious diffrentiator. And I suppose that Newton was spot on when he stated in the 3rd law of motion, that action and reaction are equal and opposite. Via all of our journeys at StepOne, we have seen an unprecedented amount of kindness and selflessness unfold. This has been evidenced that during this journey which began with a WhatsApp group, we have now served in some way, almost 20% of the Indian population that was infected by Covid. WITHOUT A SINGLE EMPLOYEE!

This got all of us at StepOne thinking. We started something to assist those who could not receive any assistance due to an overwhelmed healthcare system. And while doing it was a lot of hard work, no doubt, the solutions came easily, and fast. We practically lived the wisdom of the quote made by Margaret Mead which stated – ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’

Exemplifying by the people, for the people, thousands of citizens from all walks of life came forward, offering their time, and joining us in our aspirations of being contributors to end the pandemic. Our team has medical and non-medical professionals, students, teachers, artists, and so many other people that have tirelessly worked to help those in need.

Our experience has led us to believe, that there is much caring in the world. As humans, our innate nature of empathy emerges to the forefront during times of crisis. But, what happens when the crisis ends? From being deeply involved in the trenches of healthcare delivery, we realized that access to healthcare has been a challenge for a very large number of our citizens, for a very, very long time. And, as we look to the future, our vision goes beyond Covid. This may sound audacious, but it really is. To create a world where nobody is deprived of healthcare

If how emerges as a question in your mind, it is totally legitimate. But, given what we together have achieved over the course of the last 10 months, we feel encouraged to think that our experience of citizens stepping up (pun intended), will persist with time. In fact, we like to think of this as the unfolding of what we believe is the ‘other CSR’ – Citizen Social Responsibility. Not because it is mandated by anyone, rather, because, people do care. And we are going to do everything we can to foster this.

So, in hindsight, maybe this pandemic has been a reminder to all of us about what inherently already exists inside of us. Our natural instinct to help those in need – be it a family member, a friend, a colleague, or in this case, a total stranger.

If you have volunteered with us already, we are immensely grateful to you. And if you have not thus far, but would like to learn more about how you can contribute to our vision, please write to us at hr@projectstepone.org. Health is everything as we have learned during these times.

About the Author :


Es Cee In his own words: “I am a bit of a gypsy, and I love meandering. During a given day, when I am not involved with StepOne efforts, I keep myself engaged in rehabilitation and adoption of stray animals in Mumbai, collaborate on some other projects which are focused on assisting those that have been economically impacted by the pandemic, particularly for their nutritional needs. Oh, And I have started to learn to play the piano. Someday, I hope to be a taxi driver. After the pandemic though. :-)”
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