Work continues amid exam fever

Young fever surveillance workers with GCC help their families out of financial distress

Last month, P. Krithika’s honoraria received from the Greater Chennai Corporation for volunteering as a fever watchdog helped fill her mother’s income shortfall. It meant a lot because her mother is the sole breadwinner. The fees also helped the second-year business student pay the monthly loan she borrowed from a women’s support group.

“My father has problems and is therefore not able to work. So my mother ran the house. She worked as a housekeeper in three houses and earned around 8,000. During the second wave of COVID-19, one of the households stopped hiring her and the other two insisted that she get the vaccine so they could continue with them. This has resulted in a notable loss of his monthly income and it is the fees that keep us going, ”says Krithika, 19, assigned to Madhava Nagar Ward 173 in Raja Annamalaipuram.

Likewise, two of his co-volunteers Joshua Samuel. J and Gokula Krishnan. S, who are doing their undergraduate studies in engineering and physiotherapy, respectively, are part of the Ward 173 team and support their parents with the fees they receive.

While Joshua’s dad is an aluminum maker, Krishnan’s dad is a rickshaw driver. They suffered a drastic reduction in their monthly income due to the devastating second wave of COVID 19 and lockdowns.

Joshua helped his father pay the rent on their house, and Krishnan took care of his family’s food expenses.

In another example, a fever watch volunteer from Ward 179 in Velachery, S Manikandan, seized the opportunity when his father, a day laborer at a private factory, lost his job. He took care of the household expenses with his fees.

In June, as the semester exams began, these students cannot afford to give up their voluntary service as it has turned into a part-time job that allows their families to continue living.

“As I move from house to house, I continue to listen to my lessons on headphones. This is how I find the time to prepare for the exams, ”Manikandan explains.

Young people say the only saving grace is that exams are conducted in open book mode.

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