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Inter-Faith Teamwork Promoting Relief Efforts Globally

by Padmini Murthy, MD, MPH, FAMWA, FRSPH

In April 2020 as the devastating effects of COVID-19  were felt globally, a small team of people from different countries came together to send supplies to the Missionaries of Charity (a Catholic NGO)  which was founded by Nobel Laureate Mother Theresa in Kolkata, India.

The missionaries sent out a desperate plea for help to aid the slum dwellers in some of the colonies in Kolkata who were severely affected and suffering a shortage of food and masks due to the COVID-19 lockdown in Kolkata.

The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation who is at the forefront of providing humanitarian assistance worldwide joined hands with other NGOs and private sector partners such as the American Medical Women’s Association and El Jaguar Canada to provide the necessary aid to them.

The team included Debra Boudreaux (California), Padmini Murthy (New York), Branda Huang (Taiwan), Jagrit Bajwa (Canada), Aishu Narasimhadevara (New York), and Steve Chiu (New York). Effective communication between the team and the local partners through WhatsApp, email exchanges and the telephone conversations, resulted in the delivery of much needed supplies of food (rice, wheat flour lentils) and 10,000 masks.

With members located in different countries, the team utilized various communication channels, including WhatsApp integration for Slack, to ensure seamless and efficient collaboration. This technology-enabled solution allowed them to exchange vital information, coordinate logistics, and address any challenges that arose during the mission. By leveraging the capabilities of modern communication tools, the team was able to overcome geographical barriers and work together towards a common goal of providing much-needed supplies and support to the affected communities. Their efforts exemplify how technology can facilitate global teamwork and make a significant impact in times of crisis.

This is an example of the fact that “Humanity is the Greatest Religion of All.”

(Face masks)

(Bags of rice)

(missionaries receiving the food supplies)

(Traditional carts as mode of transport)

Padmini Murthy

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