NET News Desk
The Stars of North East India (SoNEI), primarily a social media platform for promotion of talent in the society with a membership base spread across the continents, converged the resources and skills of its members to make the best use of the lockdown situation. In a project named ‘SoNEI Cares’, under the supervision of Nazia Laskar, SoNEI distributed essential food items to over 200 needy families spread over Kamrup Metro, Bongaigaon, and Karimganj Districts of Assam.
As soon as the lockdown began in March 2020, SoNEI organised a virtual meeting of its members hosted by Syed Mohsin Raja, in which guidelines were given to members to promote low cost online courses for skill development, sharing of recipes and other skills, and ‘keep fit’ mental and physical exercises to combat the effects of the lockdown. Taanishi Inam and Nazneen Zaffar took the lead in this initiative.
Anjim Sabiha, Asstt Professor at Christ’s deemed university in Bangalore and Rameez Gazi, Asstt Professor at North Eastern Hill University Shillong shared their ‘online classes experiences’ inspiring other teachers to take up similar initiatives. A Sabur Tapader and Fauzia Khan took the cudgel to create wide awareness about the Epidemic Disease Act, The Disaster Management Act 2005, Assam COVID-19 Regulation 2020, and relevance of the IPC Sections in the current situation. Dr Rezwan Hussain used his expertise to support the Government in the manufacture of hand sanitisers, COVIT test kits and PPEs for use at the quarantine centres.
Intibah Murtafi’s ‘Access English Micro Scholarship Programme’ for the children belonging to BPL families won appreciation from the US Consulate in Kolkata. Anisul Hoque’s campaigns to create awareness about lockdown norms won appreciation from the public. The newly created poetry blog by Sabah Al Ahmed was received enthusiastically by the connoisseurs of literature. Gazala Ansari, a renowned teacher of fashion technology, created protective masks out of indigenous fabrics and made those available to the public through local pharmacies.
On another front, film maker Mirza Arif Hazarika and PR practitioner Subhankar Banerjee organised a series of online creative competitions to keep youngsters engaged in constructive activities. While Shah Md Farid utilised the lockdown time to complete the groundwork for the establishment of the North East India – ASEAN Chamber of Commerce in Guwahati, another enterprising SoNEI member and upcoming artist, Farnaaz Islam, organised an online art exhibition.
Abu Zakaria, an IT expert, helped the administration in the formulation of apps for essential online stores for home deliveries, an effort that is providing employment to a large number of youths rendered jobless by the lockdown.
There are many instances of SoNEI members taking up various charities and welfare activities to bring solace to the victims of lockdown. One wing of SoNEI members is engaged in providing support to the migrant labourers of the North East India who are stranded at different places in the other states. Kismat Bano (Guwahati), Saddam Hossen (Bongaigaon), and Khalid Khan (Shillong) have been feeding the impoverished and serving packed food to front line workers on duty. SoNEI member Sunayana Dutta made it a point to come live streaming on Facebook everyday to sing and talk to her viewers to boost their morale.
A majority of the members have videographed their lockdown experiences and this will undoubtedly prove to be an excellent chronicle of the pandemic for all times to come.