Work continues amidst exam fever

Young fever surveillance workers with GCC help their families out of financial distress

Last month, P. Krithika’s honorarium received from the Greater Chennai Corporation for volunteering as fever surveillance worker took care of the deficit in her mother’s income. It meant a lot as her mother is the sole breadwinner of the family. The honorarium also helped the second-year undergraduate commerce student pay the monthly due for the loan she had borrowed from a women’s self-help group.

“My father has got some ailments and hence not in a condition to work. Therefore, it was my mother who was managing the house. She worked as a maid in three houses and earned around ₹8,000. During the second wave of COVID-19, one of the households stopped engaging her and the other two insisted she get vaccinated to be able to continue with them. This entailed a noticeable loss in her monthly income and it is the honorarium that keeps us going,” says 19-year-old Krithika who is assigned Madhava Nagar Ward 173 in Raja Annamalaipuram.

Likewise, two of her co-volunteers Joshua Samuel. J, and Gokula Krishnan. S , both doing their undergraduate studies in engineering and physiotherapy respectively, belong to the Ward 173 team and support their parents with the honorarium they receive.

While Joshua’s father is an aluminium fabricator, Krishnan’s father is an autorickshaw driver. They have suffered a drastic reduction in their monthly earnings due to the devastating second wave of the COVID 19 and lockdowns.

Joshua helped his father to pay their house rent and Krishnan took care of his family’s food expenses.

In yet another example, fever surveillance volunteer of Ward 179 in Velachery, S Manikandan rose to the occasion when his father, a daily wage-earner in a private factory, was rendered jobless. He took care of the household expenses with his honorarium.

This June, as semester examinations have commenced, these students cannot afford to give up their voluntary service, as it has turned to be a part-time job that keeps their families going.

“While moving from house to house, I keep listening to my lessons over the headphones. That is how I find time to prepare for the exams,” says Manikandan.

The youngsters say that the only saving grace is that the exams are being conducted in open-book mode.

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