• David Dijkhuis

The Inspiring Corona Tales of Our Day

Inspiring Thai Teacher teaching children corona measures

Worrawut Lakchai, a teacher in Thailand, is a literal Corona hero, singing to kids how they should behave during a Global Pandemic while dressed as Batman. Source: Reuters.

I’ll be honest with you, I struggled with writing this blog post. Even if we go beyond the day to the structural events happening, we see negative news and misery. Many of our loved ones are in difficult decisions, are dying, or perhaps have already passed. Meanwhile, Hungary’s Victor Orbán has suspended democracy as some kind of collateral damage in the fight against Covid-19. China, Russia, and Cuba use the situation to send protective equipment, and doctors to Europe in what appears to be more of a publicity stunt than genuine help. I was ready to write that post. But then, something struck me. We shouldn’t focus on them. We should give a shout out to our heroes who inspire us in these times.

And that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Let’s have a look past the negativity to uncover the huge amounts of positivity and inspiration that we can also see now. Amazing startups and businesses that should inspire us.

There is an incredible amount of people who have started businesses to help us get through these tough times. Take the french initiative Doctolib, which has made its teleconsultation platform completely free to all doctors in France. Or the Swedish startup FirstVet, which made its telemedicine platform for vet and pet owners free. Equally important, many mental health organizations are offering their services to help people get through their days. The Lithuanian startup Qoorio is building a Covid-19 support community to bring those struggling in quarantine together and offer them psychological advice. There are also amazing new food delivery incentives, new financial technologies, software, transport initiatives, et cetera, et cetera. Many people are doing such wonderful things.

A French Initiative, MiiMosa, uses donated money to offer food support for caregivers. Source: MiiMosa.com.

We often hear on the news that there are companies that are nasty to their workers, forcing them to work under challenging and unsafe conditions. However, many companies are not like that. Microsoft has announced that they will keep paying their workers full time even if their work hours are reduced. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban has stated that he would reimburse all of his employees for any lunch and coffee purchases at small businesses. And LinkedIn offers 16 of its normally premium learning courses to the general public, which provide tips on how you can stay productive, build relationships when you’re not face to face, how to use virtual meeting tools and how to balance family and work healthily. This is only the tip of the iceberg of all the inspiring things that companies and start-ups do to help their employees and general society out.

Amazing people that should inspire us.

You don’t have to be a company to mean something to people. Some people do the most amazing stuff for their local communities. In Italy, Germany, and the United States people have been singing from their balconies in solidarity with one another. People in Italy hang motivational signs on their balconies, saying that everything is going to be alright. In Iran, volunteers have turned shuttered mosques into places where they could sew face masks and prepare food packages which in turn could be distributed among poor families. It’s a new dawn for human solidarity. In Tennessee, the Old Knoxville Neighborhood Association has created an online forum where neighbors can offer help to others who need it. And a fitness instructor in Spain is now giving free classes on his rooftop to people nearby.

People in Germany are singing ‘Bella Ciao’ out of solidarity with Italy. Source: The Guardian.

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the initiative that I’m part of, COVAID Africa. Two weeks ago, the non-profit initiative was just an idea in the head of Niklas Huppmann. By now, it has become a huge network with over 200 volunteers who are ready to raise money for Africa, where the Covid-19 pandemic is projected to have a very severe impact. The initiative will revive the spirit of LIVE AID and get artists to perform from their homes, who people can then watch from the comfort of their homes. Stream Live, Safe Lives, because all the money that will be raised will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.

It can be difficult to remain optimistic in these challenging times. There indeed is a lot of negativity going on, through people like Orbán. But let's not forget that the people who give a positive spin are with more. We should never forget the ways in which we inspire one another. So remember that when you’re sad, or blue, that there’s people out there who will help you. David Dijkhuis PS: Go to the website of COVAID Africa here👈 And help us reach our goal! PS PS: Make sure not to forget to relax, too. Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. Check out Gabriëlle Hoffman’s movie recommendations here 👈

Additional Readings:

7 moments of inspiration during the Coronavirus ciris that will fill you with hope. By Meghan Ingraham, Ladders.

18 times people around the world spread love and kindness to lift spirits during the coronavirus pandemic. By Natalie Colarossi, Insider.

Berlin pushes back in the coronavirus propaganda war. By Hans von der Burchard, Jilian Deutsch and Maïa de la Baume, Politico.

Coronavirus Champions: A Running List of Brands Getting It Right. By Shama Hyder, Forbes.

The Coronavirus just created a new dictator in Europe and has emboldened the toxic behavior of authoritarians worldwide. By Brianna Moné, Business Insider. “Corona, corona”: Thai Batman fights virus with catchy tune. By Jurawee Kittisilpa, Reuters.

(Please note: this article was written before social distancing measures were widely implemented.)

How Startups are supporting Europe’s coronavirus efforts. By Amy Lewin and Connor Bilboe, Sifted.