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Godwin seniors help their community heal from COVID-19

By Amelia Betz and Zoe Slapshak

During the uncertain times brought by COVID-19, three Godwin seniors, Haasita Akkala, Amal Ali, and Ankita Adhvaryu, decided to get together and create a blog called “Healing from COVID-19,” where they write about COVID-19 and other social issues related to the pandemic.

The purpose of their blog is to help others and answer the question: What happens to the worldwide community after the quarantine lifts? 

 “No one had created an organization that focuses on the after-effects of the pandemic, how society rebuilds, [and] how the government should be reformed as we reflected upon how we handled the pandemic,” said Ali.

According to Akkala, the creation of the blog was prompted by wanting to do something in response to the pandemic. 

 “The main thing that inspired me to make this blog was a feeling of helplessness. I was watching how the nation and the whole world were descending into chaos, and while watching people on the front-lines save lives, I felt guilty for not being able to do anything,” said Akkala.

 Their main goal was to help spread information to others through their various resources and blog posts. 

“We saw the chaos that the world was going through, and we felt obligated to try and help in any way possible. This blog helped us achieve this goal by helping our community in the best way we know how: writing,” said Akkala.

The idea for the blog first came about through a text conversation between the three seniors. 

 “I distinctly remember the conversation my friends and I had over text that inspired us to make this website. We were discussing how much we wanted to do something to help people during the pandemic in a way that was possible for us because we were just students without work experience or an ability to physically go out and help those suffering from COVID-19,” said Ali. 

In April, the girls began to work on the blog and figure out the details. By May, they had published the blog. 

Ali, Akkala, and Adhvaryu are passionate individuals who all have an active role in helping others. Together each of them has a vital role in contributing to the blog.

 “Ankita [Adhvaryu] heads the virus information pages. Haasita [Akkala] heads the current events and news pages. I head the writing and social justice pages,” said Ali.

They chose their positions in the blog based on what they are each passionate about.

 “I am super passionate about social justice and being involved in the government, and I love writing, so I took the writing and social justice pages. Ankita [Adhvaryu] is passionate about science and safety, so she took the virus pages. Haasita [Akkala] is passionate about being informed, so she took the news pages,” said Ali. 

Since the girls are all experienced writers, they felt that they were well suited to write a blog. They wanted to spread factual information so that they could help their community to the best of their abilities.

Their other goals included informing viewers, providing insight, and helping members of the community to get involved with social justice issues.   

“We want to spread accurate information regarding all aspects of the virus to our viewers so they can be confident in knowing the virus well and knowing how to protect themselves against it,” said Ali. 

The girls plan to keep the blog updated as long as our country is struggling with the pandemic. 

“If we are still working on this website when we start college, I believe we may have new members join our group,” said Ali.

The plans for the future of the blog are long-term. The girls have plans to advertise their blog. 

“In the future, we plan to further advertise by creating more shareable infographics that help spread information on social media, which will help increase awareness as well as point people to our site for more information,” said Akkala.

The girls also use their blog to help people stay informed about current events. They decided to include a voting section when the United States Postal Service started facing problems, and have taken this on as a part of their platform 

“There are so many people out there who don’t know how to vote safely during a pandemic, and we believed it was our duty to help educate others,” said Ali. 

The voting section helps to educate people on how to vote during the pandemic because it can be complicated because of these unusual circumstances. In addition to the section on voting, these girls also included a section on the Black Lives Matter movement.  

When protests were starting, they knew that this was a historic time. They were inspired to create this section of the blog to elevate black voices and help the movement.

 “It was just the right thing to do. It was the moral and humane thing to do,” said Ali.

They included a large list of resources meant to raise awareness about the movement and aid those affected by racism. 

The information on their blog has been seen by between 1,000 and 1,500 people. On average, 50 people view their site weekly. 

This attention has brought notable people to visit the blog including Virginia Senator Ghazala Hashmi and Virginia Delegate Sam Rasoul. The senator and delegate contacted the three blog creators and said they especially enjoyed the voting section of the blog.

The girls hope that their readers will become more informed after reading the blog. They are excited to see the future of their blog come to life. 

“We all hope that people are more informed about the virus, more serious about staying safe, more informed about current events, and more passionate about enacting change on their own after reading,” said Ali.

For more information, visit the “Healing from COVID-19” blog:  https://www.healingfromcovid19.org/

photo courtesy Haasita Akkala

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