By Hanna Mödder, Jana Surkova, Annika Loebig (Team Help Isolate)
When we left uni, we knew we were going to come back at some point. We knew we would return to our flats and beds, to a university with MacBooks for loan and a TV studio in the basement. We just didn’t know when.
But for refugees, rough sleepers and victims of domestic violence, the situation is severely different. Stripped of resources and possibilities to seek refuge, they are some of the most vulnerable members of European society – and now they’re hit by yet another crisis.
As we study journalism, it will be our responsibility to cover important concerns. However difficult, however uncomfortable, we, as the Fourth Estate, hold leaders to account and advocate for the voiceless. But, in reality, our current options are limited. What can we do as students, when we aren’t backed up by a big organisation and don’t have money to go and report where it matters?
Here we are, with all the skills we acquired from our journalism course. To help out during this crisis, we wanted to make use of them as much as we could. With our project Help Isolate, a word play on self-isolation and the often limited options to isolate under precarious conditions, we initiated an online-based initiative that provides insight into the social and political situations we want to see the media pay attention to.
We focus on one issue for a few weeks and, along with researching and creating content, set up a fundraiser to support the selected cause.
Our first project is focusing on the refugee Camp Moria, in Lesbos, where a dense population and scarce medical and sanitary resources would lead to a catastrophic spread of COVID-19. Our fundraiser is supporting Global Aid Network Germany who’s erecting an isolation facility with 200 beds at the camp, something that is urgently needed to slow the spread of the highly contagious virus.
The camp, that was built for 3,000 refugees, now houses over 20,000. As GAiN’s spokesperson, Harald Weiss, explains, families have three square metres to live on, and 1,300 people share a single water tap. So, any way to isolate those who have caught COVID-19 will help to slow the spread and, consequently, save lives.
If you would like to support GAiN and our future projects, please follow us on our social channels and spread the word. Gather ten of your friends and donate a fiver each to fund one bed or just pass the message on if you’re in a position where you cannot donate. Anything helps – and it shows that staying home doesn’t mean that we can’t help until we get to go outside again. Now back to our normal lives.
Our website: https://helpisolate.wixsite.com/website
Our Instagram: @helpisolate