Meet the founder of St George's Student Covid Response Group, Rozina Choudhury
Published: 06 May 2020
St George’s Covid response group was founded by penultimate year medic Rozina Choudhury. Rozina explains where the idea for the group came from and her role in the organisation.
“The Covid response group started with a simple thought. It was during the earlier days of the pandemic when the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK was just beginning.
“I fell ill myself and, whilst in bed at home, I came across a picture of an elderly lady in the supermarket full of empty aisles – you may have seen it too, as it shortly went viral all over social media. The reality of the coronavirus situation was really starting to kick in - the stockpiling, the panic buying - and the impact that this pandemic was having on our community, not to mention on our NHS staff. This picture truly broke my heart and I realised we could not simply sit back and do nothing.
“Being quite Instagram-savvy (I’d like to think), I decided to set up an Instagram page called @covidresponse to raise awareness of the issues that the outbreak was starting to have in our community and try to find ways in which we could help. It started with sharing viral kindness cards - encouraging others to post leaflets to their elderly and vulnerable neighbours to provide help with shopping or collecting medications and so forth. It then started to grow.
“I knew I wasn’t the only one who wanted to help so I reached out to my colleagues at St George’s to see who would like to get involved and the response has been truly amazing.
“We reached out to local organisations, charities, our local MP, local hospitals, GPs and more to offer our help in any way we could. We started off wanting to help foodbanks; now we have students working in a wide variety of roles, from helping frontline workers with childcare to students helping on the wards that are under pressure. We even have students out in central London working with the Covid Protect facilities looking after the homeless population. Now we have a working group of over 170 volunteers!
“We have had an outpouring of support and we continue to reach out to anyone who might need our help. I am amazed at how much the community has come together and I am blown away by the messages of support we have received. I honestly feel so privileged to be able to work together as part of Team George’s at a time when it is most needed.
“During this time I have been honoured to meet some of the most beautiful of souls. They say that when you sign up to work in healthcare, you dedicate your life to helping people and this could not be more true.
“I would like to say THANK YOU to all of the amazing NHS workers, to all of my wonderful team and volunteers and to each and every person who is doing what they can during this time. My heart has never been so full, and I just wish there was more we could do during this difficult time.
“In terms of what I personally am doing at the moment - I mostly coordinate our different projects, but I also volunteer myself. I am helping with hot food distribution as well as organising food donations and making/distributing care packages for staff on the wards at St Georges on a daily basis.
“I love what we are doing and to see the smiles on the faces of our wonderful NHS staff makes it all worthwhile. It is not to say that managing a very large group of people and working with lots of big companies and organisations isn’t stressful - I’ve had a fair few cries along the way - but it is all worth it and I would not change it for the world.
“But this truly would not be possible without our volunteers. They are some of the loveliest people I have ever met and I could not have asked for a better team to come in and see every day during these challenging times. I look forward to doing even more to help, even if it is just in a small way.”