In January 2020 we felt excited about this year since we would launch our community platform to support our partners even better, we would welcome many new partners and we anticipated an increase in the number of jobs co-created with our partners. Until February 12, we were in a positive flow of 2020 and corona virus in China was far away from us.
We actually did launch our online community platform during the ‘Social Impact Summit – The Power of Collaboration’ which we organized on Tuesday February 11, 2020 in Le Meridien, New Delhi. By March, corona virus had reached Europe and India. As of March 20, all international flights to India are suspended and India is in total lockdown since March 24. Our experts can no longer go to India and planned workshops with our partners had to be cancelled.
Keeping the connection
Since then, our team is calling our partners on a weekly base to hear how they are doing and to see how and where we can support. Some are doing great because the request for food items is increasing. Most textiles and handicrafts enterprises however see their income shrink to zero because exhibitions and online sales of non-essential products are not permitted. Our online platform turns out to be the lifeline of the Women on Wings community. Partners and experts find each other and we are constantly looking for links and solutions to share on the platform and keep interacting with partners and experts.
Although we cannot wait for the day that we shall be able to reconnect in person with our team, our partners and our experts, for now we have found the online connect to continue working with our partners. The last two weeks, experts have done online workshops with our partners Grameena Vikas Kendram and Rassaa Creations. Also the mentoring continues via zoom video calls.
On Friday April 17, we have planned an online CEO Summit which is a round table discussion with our Indian partners and Dutch experts. All entrepreneurs will share experiences and solutions with peers.
Stay safe, stay positive
With the total lockdown already being extended till May 3, in India, we do expect that also in The Netherlands the lockdown will continue after April 28. Some countries, that see the curve of corona cases bend, are considering to ease the lockdown at some points. These are uncertain times and for now no one knows what the future will look like. But we see many new initiatives from partners that do us proud. Like partners who are now making masks or preparing food.
On behalf of our entire team and board members, we wish you and your loved ones to stay safe and stay healthy. We will continue to update you about our work .
Shilpa Mittal Singh and Ronald van het Hof
Managing directors at Women on Wings