Nagaland cancer survivor, 5 others offer free rides for Covid vaccination


Express News Service

GUWAHATI: A group of Good Samaritans is promoting the Covid vaccination drive in a remote Nagaland town.

The six-member group, which has Venkangshu, a woman cancer survivor, and Phelem Naam, a woman priest, has taken up the task of helping the Mon district administration by providing transportation to people for a mass vaccination drive.

After the administration had decided to hold the drive at a ground in Mon town, conveyance stood in the way in the absence of much-needed public transport. It was then that the six people came forward to extend the service.

Mon District Magistrate, Thavaseelan K told The New Indian Express that the decision to conduct the vaccination drive outside a hospital was taken following the observation that not many people, aged above 45 years, were coming forward to get jabbed.

“Primarily, the reason behind this was that people were afraid of visiting a hospital during the pandemic. We thought we should conduct the vaccination drive in such a way that they feel far more comfortable. So, we launched the drive at the Local Ground in Mon. Some 80 people had come forward to take the shot,” Thavaseelan said.

He said the six volunteers were using their own cars and they refused to take fuel offered by the administration.

“We will make the drive a weekly feature. Anyone who does not own a car can avail the service by calling the volunteers. They will come, pick the person, take him/ser to the ground and drop back home after vaccination. We circulated their service widely through newspapers and the social media,” the DM added.

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The voluntary service was the brainchild of a local social worker, Hongnao Konyak (40). He had mobilised the five others through Facebook.

“After the five people desired to extend the service, we shared our numbers through the social media. We will extend the service as and when required. We have named our group The Civic Wheels,” he said.

Affee Venkangshu, the 35-year-old cancer survivor, said she had offered the service to four people on Monday, the first day of the drive.

“They contacted me over the phone. It feels great to be able to do something for the society,” Affee, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and works for an NGO called Konyak Tribal Welfare Society for forest management, said.

Phelem Naam, the only woman pastor in Mon district, said she had been giving such service to the elderly people for a while.

“I had shared my number with a lot of people earlier. I helped elderly people by picking them up and dropping them somewhere. I feel excited, blessed and satisfied to help such people,” she said.

Shemouh Konyak, a beneficiary, heaped praise on The Civic Wheels.

“I don’t own a vehicle but they came to my rescue. After I had called one of them (cancer survivor), she came to my house in no time. She took me to the site of vaccination and then, dropped me back home,” he said.

The three other members of the group are Sashi, who works for an NGO; Shongwang, a government employee; and Tingmei Wangshu, a school teacher.

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