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Standing Together in Solidarity

As we enter yet another uncertain month amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic, we want to shine the spotlight on initiatives undertaken by Changemakers around the world.

Getting Together and Providing the Essentials in Rio

The Rio de Janeiro Changemakers Consuls Luciana Padula and Claudia Paludo Pykalisto share with us what is going on in their community and how they cope with the current times. In Rio, the Coronavirus has resulted in millions losing their jobs and homes. Both Lucianna and Claudia agree that there should be urgent attention to these issues and have focused their efforts on supporting the communities in dire need and the homeless by donating essentials like food, water, and masks.

The women were motivated to post their first virtual activity, Let’s Have Fun and Share Our Gratitude, as they knew that there is a lot to do. Everyone in the group agrees on the focus of their initiatives. For example, for now, the priority is food, water, mask donations but this may change with time. “This activity helped us open our minds and listen and learn from others about how we can give back to the community,” Claudia Paludo says. “And besides all the seriousness, we also need to relax and unwind. So, this also served as a time for us to put our worries and stresses away and have a virtual get-together with likeminded people who want to make a change! “

Some initiatives that were born from this activity:

  • Food, water, mask donations & delivery in Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, and Lapa
  • 300 baskets of food donations provided to the Tabajara community
  • The 5 kg of love and books initiative
  • 150 masks distributed to the homeless and 100 face shields donated to health workers

Helping the Neighborhood in Dallas

Over in Dallas, Changemakers Consul Jenya Teplitskaya reached out to members through her Discuss Ideas for Helping Others Now and in the Future Activity. The group talked about different ways to order curb side pick ups from local restaurants, buying items from charity organization's wish lists and having them delivered directly, and also came up with ways to help out friends and relatives with kids by providing virtual help via lessons and checking in on friends. Interestingly, this even led to follow up activities like the Adopt a Grandparent idea.

Jenna has been actively hosting Changemakers Virtual Activities since March and when asked what motivates her to host these virtual activities she said, “I realized that during this time, many of us are lost in how we can keep being involved in our community and what resources were available to us online. All the organizations where we typically would help, like preparing meals at the shelter, were closed to volunteers. I wanted to find other opportunities during this lockdown period and share it with my group.”

Changing Perspectives in Panama

In Panama, Changemakers Consul Gianpiero Luppi shares his feelings and tips on what he does to cope with the lockdown. He says, instead of overthinking, sometimes he just gets lost in a book or a movie. He goes on to share that what he finds most energizing is accomplishing something that defies the expectation that we’re helpless. “I try to look at the situation not as how things are, but as ‘a thing’ that can be reacted to. Personalizing the situation helps me get motivated to resist it and defeat it. Instead of just thinking positive, I also want to kick negativity in the butt.”

Gianpiero was motivated to create his first “Still United In Love" Virtual Activity simply to remind everyone that it’s not always about one big thing, sometimes it’s just about the many little things that we do and see every day. The small acts of kindness, making someone smile when they’re having a bad day, even a fleeting connection with other masked individuals as you’re rushing to get home before curfew… these things matter, and they matter a lot! If all you can do is make someone smile, you’ve already done a lot.

“I hoped that this activity would help people change their perspective a little as they look at the current situation in the world. Instead of looking at the distance, the empty spaces… look at the people! Don’t just see them as dangers, see that they are us and we are them.”

Despite not getting overwhelming participation, all that mattered was that some people showed interest. Gianpiero also received many personal messages from members talking about how they were coping, showing him that his message touched a lot more people and that the feeling will spread if we keep at it.

From raising money and essentials like food and books, to sharing memorable moments to boost each other’s spirits, it is truly heart-warming to see how Changemakers are making the world a better place, one activity at a time.

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