Village members prepared weeks in advance to protect their community
BAŠELJ, Slovenia — Taking proactive steps to help their community face the challenges of the current global health crisis, youth and adults in this small village of some 450 people have been finding creative ways to share information and arrange for access to necessities.
Three weeks ago, a group of youth participating in Baha’i educational programs that develop capacities for service to society took action to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“When our group was reflecting on how it could serve our community,” says one of the youth, “we all thought about the coronavirus. Everyone was worried about it even though it had not reached our village yet. So we decided to help inform people about what they could do about the situation.”
Finding reliable information online from the country’s National Institute of Public Health, they made a poster sharing the steps each individual could take to prevent the transmission of the disease, and displayed it prominently in a public place.
Not long after, as measures to reduce physical contact came into effect in the area, it was necessary to find a way for people to access food and other supplies while avoiding physical contact.
“In a village,” says Aleksandra, a Baha’i who lives in the community, “we come together when there is a need and find a way to address it.”
She reached out to food and produce delivery businesses whose usual customers, mostly restaurants, no longer had the same need. Finding that these businesses were happy to deliver to homes, she was able to let the entire village know about these services through an online group they had established to convey news.
These efforts to enable food delivery in a way that would minimize contact were reinforced when the mayor of Bašelj invited local farmers to offer their produce directly through the municipality.
Members of the Baha’i community have observed that people are having conversations about the importance of unity, collaboration, family and friends; the need for spiritual renewal, less materialism, and a greater consciousness of how we can each contribute to our society.
“This is a small place where people have long been serving together regardless of differences in their religion or race” says Aleksandra. “We try to have universal collaboration. But even here, this period is different, and most of us see it as a time to reflect on how we live our lives. People see the world is very interconnected: whether something happens here or farther away, sooner or later it will affect us.”