A message from Friendship founder and executive director Runa Khan

The COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping the world. Its fear, its impact on health, society and our global economy, is a reality. In times of such peril, it is imperative that we do not lose ourselves to chaos.

These are times and situations where even the mightiest of us have little option but to strive. To save not only ourselves, or our country, but also to realise that each of us have to play a role for saving our world. It is in times like this that we need to step back and reflect on our values of life and living, on what elements we hold to be the epicentre of our lives, and reflect whether the direction of our lives is really the one we have chosen or is it one we have been made to choose circumstantially in the movement of today’s modern race.

One thing stands out from the very first day we all faced this crisis, it is that we are all a part of a Global Community and as such, it is only through solidarity we can combat the challenges we are faced with today and about to face, tomorrow. With the two issues we are facing currently in our world, COVID-19 and the changing climate, our old protectionist ideals are no longer valid or of any substance.

The French President Emmanuel Macron put it beautifully, “Today we have to avoid two pitfalls…nationalism: This virus has no passport. We have to join forces, coordinate our responses, cooperate. The other pitfall is to take an individualist approach. It is by being united and saying ‘us’ and not ‘I’ that we will bounce back.”

With a history of working for the most climate impacted people over the last 18 years, Friendship is no stranger to emergency. We have dealt with sudden disasters before, as when we responded to the Rohingya community—for they were not victims of natural disasters which we are used to facing, but of human atrocities. Friendship with its partners, staff and donors has managed well together, for never in our actions or decisions, have we compromised our deep belief of ensuring humanity and compassion.

Today, over the last one month, the priority for me and for us at Friendship, has been firstly the well-being of our staff and their families, and then our responsibility towards the communities we serve and the patients who come to us to be cured.

Many people depend on our services every day, more so in these times of crisis. It is therefore our responsibility to continue to save lives despite the challenges. We are also working with the government and the world to contain this crisis.

We must remember that it is not our health or safety as individuals that is at stake here. COVID-19 has illustrated in grave detail that the safety of our families depends on the safety of our community and of the world. The health of a person on the other side of the globe is linked to our own health, and the health of our communities is inseparable from our own.

Thank you for your continuous support and for your trust. We at Friendship are all wishing for a more equitable world and a world of global solidarity. And above all, may you and your loved ones all be safe.