Grassroots heroes of pandemic battle in Songjiang

Yang Yang
Some stories about grassroots people's efforts to fight the pandemic.
Yang Yang

Editor's note:

Here are some stories about grassroots people's efforts to fight the pandemic: nursing staff at a Songjiang welfare house look after elders; compassionate shop assistants sent vegetables and fruits to a locked-down senior; whether they are old, or have a sore throat, volunteers are still shouldering their responsibilities; some innovative officials had the novel idea of printing and registering QR codes.

'Autumnal leaves' volunteer team helps fight pandemic

A group of senior citizens in Baziqiao Village of Songjiang District are volunteering to help during the pandemic resurgence.

The villagers in Yexie Town were inspired by Zhang Jinmu, 74.

Early morning on March 19, before the village launched its first round of free nucleic acid testing, Zhang went to notify residents door to door in spite of the drizzling weather.

Buddy, the village offers free nucleic acid testing, please do go and take the test, sister, remember to bring your personal identity card with you for information entry, Zhang would tell his fellow villagers.

"A village is larger and has more elders, it is different from an urban neighborhood," said Zhang.

"It's impossible to use a cellphone to reach everybody. Some people might think, 'as long as one member of my family did the nucleic acid testing and tested negative, I would be negative and safe,' and refuse to do the test. So door-to-door motivation is necessary."

Granny Zhang, a villager of Baziqiao Village, agreed to do the test with the persuasion of Zhang.

"He told me, 'If one family member refused to do the test, the rest of them would be at risk'," she said. "I thought he was right and went to do the test. He has always been helpful to us and I trust him."

In addition to sending notices to residents, Zhang also shouldered the responsibilities of maintaining order.

More and more elders, including Hu Yulong, 80, Jin Zhenghua, 72, and Zhang Juying, 75, joined the volunteer team.

"Some young people might have the bias that elders are always the group to be cared about, instead of caring about others," said Wang Mibao, a Party committee member of the village.

"But the senior volunteers in our village, some of them being cadres before retirement, are familiar with the village condition and therefore are capable of the volunteer work."

"We assigned work for them based on their previous working experience. Those who had grassroots working experience were responsible for coordination. Those who know some basics about medicine were responsible for science popularization. And those who are still in good physical strength were asked to maintain order. The villagers called them 'autumnal leaves volunteer team' out of respect."

Grassroots heroes of pandemic battle in Songjiang
Ti Gong

A senior volunteer on duty

Shop assistants deliver food for free amid heavy rain

A green food store in Songjiang District has supplied vegetables to locked-down neighborhoods despite storms - and refused to charge payment.

"They sent vegetables to us in heavy rain and refused to charge the cost," said Zhou Fumin. "I don't know how to thank them except telling you about their good deed." He was speaking to the district's media center on March 21.

He was referring to shop assistants of Beidahuang Green Food Store's North Renmin Road Branch.

An 81-year-old senior who lives alone in Yueyang Subdistrict, Zhou doesn't check his phone regularly, therefore the information about the neighborhood lockdown reached him late.

"I wasn't prepared for it and felt nervous and uncomfortable," said Zhou.

At that time a WeChat chatting group buzzed. Shop assistants of Beidahuang Green Food Store asked if anybody in the neighborhood lacked food.

"They knew I lived alone, so they especially called me in," said Zhou.

Soon afterwards the shop assistants arrived with packs of vegetables and fruit.

"I was on my way to the gate of the neighborhood and looked from a distance to see the head of the store and other shop assistants waiting for us to collect food amid heavy rain," Zhou said. "They were about the age of my grandchildren."

Ruan Dajie, head of the store, said they started to assist with food supplies when a customer of theirs called for help.

"We transfer the food from wet markets daily and our boss told us not to charge the residents at a time like this," said Ruan.

"We've supplied food for dozens of households and will continue to do this. We don't think we did much, the medical staff and the community volunteers, they are the real heroes."

Child's printing gadget helps nucleic acid testing for elderly

A school child's mathematics question printing gadget has been used by a Party member volunteer in Songjiang District to assist in nucleic acid testing for the elderly.

"Auntie, please show me your personal identity card and I'll help you with information entry and typing of nucleic acid testing QR code," said Zhong Qiwen, a Party member volunteer who worked at the Lan Tian Si Cun residential area in Zhongshan Subdistrict in Songjiang recently.

What she was holding in her hand was a palm-sized gadget which was able to facilitate the testing process.

The gadget turned out to be a school child's math question printing machine, belonging to the daughter of Zhang Zonghui, Party secretary of the neighborhood.

Having sought permission from his daughter, Zhang lent the gadget to the neighborhood's "green channel" for elders at or above 70 years old who don't have a smart phone.

At the testing site, Zhong firstly registered the elders' information into the Health Cloud applet in WeChat, then she screen-captured the QR code from her cellphone and used blue-tooth delivery to send it to the gadget, which finally printed a piece of paper bearing the QR code on it.

The elders then sent the paper with clear QR code to the testing personnel and finally completed their nucleic acid testing.

"It was such a big convenience, we feel very grateful," said the elders.

Lan Tian Si Cun is a neighborhood in Songjiang with a relatively higher ratio of the aged.

Auntie rallies the troops for nucleic acid tests

An auntie wearing protective gear spoke into a megaphone to remind her neighbors to take the nucleic acid test. After a while, she began to lose her voice due to overexertion.

A video of the touching scene was lauded by residents of Songjiang District's Yueyang Subdistrict.

"This is Auntie Tang Zengrui, a neighborhood volunteer and the most considerate person protecting us," a resident said in the video's introduction.

"Everybody was so cooperative," Tang recalled.

The video was shot on March 15 as she reminded residents of the Zhangxin Residential Area to take the second nucleic acid test. Some residents worried that she might have a sore throat after talking so much.

"This is the most efficient way," Tang said.

"She is the most kind-hearted person in our neighborhood, always trying to solve all kinds of problems for us," said a resident surnamed Yang. "During the recent nucleic acid tests, Tang helped seniors with mobility problems take the test before everyone else."

Tang was modest in the face of so many compliments.

"I just determined who might need the most help from my previous experience as a volunteer," Tang said.

When the pandemic broke out more than two years ago, Tang, who retired 14 years ago, volunteered for daily patrols.

"It's a habit I developed as a labor union worker when I was young, and now I am a member of the seniors' association. Helping others is a principle I've always abided by," she said.

Grassroots heroes of pandemic battle in Songjiang
Ti Gong

Tang Zengrui speaks through a megaphone.

Welfare staff choose to stay with patients

More than 160 staff at the Society Welfare House of Songjiang chose to spend 14 days with the institute's elderly during a locked-down management.

When they were notified of the 14-day lockdown on March 7, staff members of the Society Welfare House of Songjiang informed their family members about the news immediately and stayed put to await orders. Others who were off duty at home returned to the institute the same day.

When the workers, carrying their luggage, returned to the welfare house, they were met with neatly-made temporary beds and some encouraging words like "to conquer the plight till things improve" to boost their morale.

In less than half a day, more than 160 workers were ready to spend 14 days in lockdown with the institute's about 300 elderly residents.

A nurse surnamed Li volunteered to help with catering when the cooks were too busy. It turned out that the food she cooked tasted great. When it was jokingly suggested she become a full time cook, Li said she was too deeply attached to the elders as a nurse to leave them.

Nucleic acid testing was also carried out among the elders to ensure their safety. When some elders with cognitive impairment became nervous at the sampling site, they were told a white lie that it was a teeth check. The elders then cooperated.

Staff contacted their family members after work.

Qiao Xiaofang, a social worker with a third-grade daughter, would help her daughter with her homework online every night. Zhu Jiamei, an accountant and mother of two children, would soothe her children by suggesting they draw a circle everyday to mark the passing day.

"Many staff workers said they are now able to empathize more with the elders who usually stayed inside the institute day and night," said Yang Xiajing, chief of the Society Welfare House of Songjiang. "It was a treasured opportunity for them to raise their service quality."

Online classes ensure students get enough physical exercise

Online sports classes launched by schools in Songjiang District are making up for the absence of playgrounds and facilities by organizing online sports competitions and encouraging students to do chores as a way to exercise.

The "Cloud Sports Competition" launched by Songjiang Experimental Primary School takes place weekly and students participate in it through the 天天跳绳 (daily skipping rope) app. Every Friday afternoon, students upload videos of their one-minute sports activities, including skipping rope, sitting up and kicking shuttlecock, onto the app.

"Though the competition lasts for only one minute, it encourages the students to exercise," said Hu Jiayan, chief of the sports teaching group of the school.

In addition, the school also gives students tips on doing home exercise under 35 categories, including agility, flexibility, strength, jumping, speed, endurance and entertaining activities.

Xie Weijie, a third-grade student, said she was able to assist her mother in doing some chores thanks to the encouragement from her online sports classes.

Parents may rightly have some concern about the potential harm to their children's eyesight during online classes. So, Jiuting Middle School in the suburban district has developed a series of non-contact eye exercises for students.

"Through saccade, aiming, focusing, and circling exercises, students protect their eyesight and have fun. Not just sports teachers, other teachers can also guide the students to do such exercises after each class," said He Yilei, a sports teacher of Jiuting Middle School.

"Judging from students' different health and physical conditions, teachers make different exercise plans for them. Online sports classes require tailor-made guidance to encourage participation," said Duyang Fanghong, chief of Songjiang No. 1 High School's sports teaching group.

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