It is time to celebrate achievements of amazing Atlas Corps Alumni who are making inspiring impacts against COVID-19. Today we want to talk with our recent Alum Ahsan (Class 34, Pakistan), about his efforts against COVID-19 in his home country, Pakistan, and worldwide.

Ahsan recently completed the Fellowship and returned to Pakistan to continue his work at Roshan Youth Welfare Organization (RYWO). RYWO is a nonprofit that works in supporting human rights and development with participatory and gender equitable approaches. The organizations’ overarching goal is to lessen discrimination and poverty in Pakistan and improve the quality of life of marginalized populations including women, children, and people with disabilities. Most recently, Ahsan is working on creating Pakistan’s first Urdu COVID-19 awareness website with RYWO! Learn more about their efforts here!

Read below about how Ahsan is contributing to the fight, and how we can all work together and rise above the challenges of today. Thank you so much for everything that you do! We wish you the best with this impactful work!

Name: Muhammad Ahsan Syed

Home Country: Pakistan

Current Organization: Roshan Youth Welfare Organization (RYWO)

Role at current organization: Co-founder and CEO

Please share with us how you are working to fight against COVID-19?

Most of the internationally available COVID-19 related material is in English. Due to the low English literacy rate in Pakistan, that material was not very useful for the masses. At Roshan Youth Welfare Organization (RYWO) we started our work by developing awareness-raising and advocacy manuals and creating Pakistan’s first Urdu COVID-19 awareness website Separate manuals were developed for health practitioners, households, school children, and local advocacy organizations in Rawalpindi and Islamabad to create awareness to keep the community safe and combat the stigma, fear, and misconceptions.

Secondly, we partnered with a UK based software house for the development of a mobile app and a website to connect neighbors with neighbors and food surplus with food deficit to support the daily wages people who lost their work due to lock down. (the app) will be live by the end of April, which will connect food surplus people (and philanthropists) with food deficit people (poor people) to share food, grocery, and relief items virtually. The mobile application will enable stakeholders to share and secure food and perform relief activities by staying safe at home and maintaining social distancing. It will help to reduce chaos and hunger that otherwise could be amid the Pakistan corona virus lock down.

Do you have anything you would like to say to everybody about how we can all do our part in this pandemic?

In the current situation, no doubt, it is imperative to stay home and wash hands. But we need to think about the daily wages many have lost due to the pandemic. Most of them have never earned enough to save for the rainy days, as what they make is barely sufficient for their daily survival. Governments cannot support those people alone; we need to stand with the government to help those people. So, the ones who have enough finances, working from home, or still have jobs should support people who are suffering from this hardship.

In this critical time, it is the responsibility of everyone to step in to play a vital role in creating awareness in the community to devise a psycho-social support mechanism to cope with the situation. We should come forward and initiate individual virtual talks with our relatives, friends, and colleagues to help them to release their stress and educate and respond to their queries regarding mental health.

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