In Mexico, the cases of people with covid-19 continue to increase and it has become one of the countries with the most deaths from coronavirus, exceeding 50,000 deaths. The economic and social impact of the pandemic is also worrisome, because with a population of almost nine million inhabitants, half of Mexicans have to go out to work every day to survive. In addition, confinement has in many cases aggravated children's access to schooling and has seen a greater risk of gender-based violence in families.
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Faced with this situation, different actors of humanitarian aid are making a great effort to support those who need it most, fighting tirelessly against the pandemic. This is the case of Gina Mejía, a young 27-year-old architect who has been a volunteer for the Red Cross in Mexico City for three years. According to Gina, she has always felt the urge to support those who need it most: “I have always had the spark to help and on many occasions, when I was working as an architect on a construction site, I thought: 'If an accident happens, I really wouldn't know. how to act to help the injured ”. And that was how she decided to join the Red Cross and start training in first aid.
Later, he joined the Volunteers on Wheels program , a charitable work that he carries out together with 20 other fellow volunteers traveling throughout the city on motorcycles. "I have my own motorcycle and the program consists of going through different areas, together with other volunteers, to support the people who need it most." This is how Gina and her companions distribute everything from bread and coffee in hospitals to toys for children from families without resources.
However, with the arrival of the pandemic, everything changed, including the program: “At the Red Cross we quickly detected the need to offer information and protection measures to the population, especially to people with few resources who spend a lot of time on the streets. , such as street food vendors ”. And that is how they began to tour the city on their motorcycles, this time to take the temperature in the markets, distribute masks and hydroalcoholic gels, offering truthful information and advice on how to protect against the virus.
Because at first many people did not wear a mask because they did not know how important it was to protect themselves against the pandemic; the volunteers chose to carry out awareness campaigns for the population and thus offer protection measures. "The Mexican Red Cross is a leading organization in the country and we noticed that if we were the ones who advised them to wear a mask or respect distances, they would listen to us," she says proudly.
The volunteers of the Mexican Red Cross protect themselves with all measures to carry out their work safely. Also, they know where to go to help those who need it most. “It is very gratifying to see how homeless people come to us asking for masks and asking us how to protect themselves against the pandemic. Many of them ask us for more than one because at the beginning there was a shortage and also they cannot buy them, and they are very grateful when we deliver them ”.
For Gina and her colleagues it is very important to help in these moments and they consider that the work of the volunteers is fundamental in a situation as they have had to live. It is at this stage that Gina confesses to us that, now more than ever, she is clear that she will stay with the Red Cross forever.
Olivia Acosta is responsible for Communication and Media in America for the Red Cross.