The rise of community giving

She opened her kitchen. Not in a literal way but symbolic that if somebody is hungry, she can prepare a meal for them and hand-deliver it if necessary.

“If you are concerned about you or your child not being able to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, feel free to PM me with no fear, guilt or shame. I will do what I can to help. A cooked meal, a box of cereal… whatever it may be, I will do my best to help,” she shared on a social media post.

Not that she has so much to give. She too is feeling the pinch of a falling economy. She might lose her job. But out of common decency and a good heart has prompted her that there are things that needed to be done. Even as an individual. Even as a mom raising a child.

“As weeks go on, the lockdown continues, and people lose their income, there may be people out there who simply cannot afford the day to day necessities,” she said.

“Do not feel embarrassed as we all need help at times and we’re all in this together,” she prompted.

It’s easy for some to be self-righteous at a time like this — to preach #StayHome because their funds will last them months. They are the fortunate ones. But not everyone lives in the same comfort.

When you’d been in a hard situation yourself, it is easy to empathize with people — to see their hurt and to feel their pain even if it’s no longer happening to you.

From that one message, she became aware of more issues. Mother with three kids unable to pay their rent, possibly ending up being displaced.

Workers let go by their employers, caught between unable to go home and unable to find a new job in this situation with nowhere to run for their daily needs.

Fortunate to be managing a social media community, Oman Restaurant Review, with over 20k members, she used her connections and shelled out money from her pocket to create food care packages — a box filled with necessities like rice, bread, milk — the basic that can help some to get by at least even for a week.

Bosky Dutia is one of the women that I’ve come to appreciate in a time like now. She understands that the government is facing a lot and that as an individual, in her little way, she can do her bit.

And there are a lot of Bosky Dutia coming out of the woodwork. They take different shapes and forms. Some come in the form of small companies donating medical supplies. Others handing out essentials like water. Some organize food drives, handing out sanitizers or face masks. Some donating to charity all coming together because there is a job that needed to be done. These people are not looking for anything in return. Not money, not kickbacks not even 15-minute of fame.

In Oman, it is the community rising together in the spirit of giving. Their help can be felt at a macro-level, down to one person desperate for food. And it is creating so much ripple that when you hear or see it, it makes you restore your faith in humanity.

One of the youth leaders of Oman, Alena Dique, has asked me for a quote related to how I see the world after this pandemic.

I told her that, “Perhaps, humanity needed a reset — a pause so that we can do a little bit of thinking. Maybe, we all needed to be reminded of what is truly important.”

I ended it with, “To come out of this, all the same, will be the greatest disservice to who and what we are as a species.”

To expound on that, I think the world will still be broken after this pandemic. There will still be societal issues. There will still be wars. There will still be famine, misunderstanding, aggression, pains, and depressions.

But out of this is the hope that we will begin to foster the good within us. That we can make that hope bloom and electrify everyone to become better versions of ourselves.

While governments all over the world are still figuring out how to properly respond to a pandemic, it’s amazing to know that we are getting something right. Oman’s community of givers is a perfect response to a crisis like this.

While we are kept apart by social distancing, it doesn’t mean we stop being human. And perhaps our evolution as species starts from here — gaining a better understanding that race, gender or political leanings do not make us better, but it’s the spirit of giving.


Yeru Ebuen is a digital strategist and features editor for Oman Observer.