Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | July 5
Dispelling ripples of fear that often surround quarantine centres, COVID-19 Task Force Chizami has chosen to deviate from the typical way of doing things by naming their centre “COVID-19 Creativity Hub.” When the first batch of returnees to Chizami arrived on June 4, they were in for a pleasant surprise as they realised that their 14-day stay here would be all about exploring more of their gifts, abilities and creative talents with almost no room for negativity.
“As the name suggests, we wanted this place to be a place for creativity, positivity and productivity, and not a place to be abhorred or looked at with disdain,” Wetshete Joseph Thopi, Convenor of COVID-19 Task Force Chizami enlightened. It was a casual discussion on the current global pandemic and how people have become so negative, that the idea about creating this hub was conceptualized.
The Task Force had also taken into account the mental wellbeing of the returnees, who, he said, “must have gone through so much even before they can peacefully go back to their respective homes,” besides the stigma and discrimination that they continue to face.
“So we thought, why not come up with something positive wherein they can make use of their skills during their 14-day stay here since they would have nothing to do otherwise,” he highlighted. This is basically not a quarantine centre but a creativity hub, he pointed out.
As the returnees started their journey at the Hub, they were briefed on how “the place would be like an industry where people get their internships. However, with nobody to teach them, they will have to make use of their own skills.”
“We wanted our returnees to stay positive and make the best use of their 14-day stay at the facility, exploring their creative talents and abilities to create and make positive stuff so as to spread positivity in the midst of the global gloom that has surrounded us all,” he put across.
Emphasizing that they (returnees) are free to work on anything that they are inspired to do, Thopi further expressed that the response has been very positive. It is usually arts and sketching that they have indulged in so far. “It’s been so encouraging. We don’t actually have to guard them for fear they would run away,” he added. The Task Force had also decided not to give them heavy crafts that involves using knives and other such tools since that would get complicated in the case of any accident.
For their creative activities, the North East Network (NEN) provided tools and kits such as diary/notebook, drawing book, poster, pencil, colors and brush. “When it comes to quarantine centres, the returnees are mostly young and energetic people and we felt that it would be important to give them notebooks where they can scribble either in English or in their own language, and since not all of them may be comfortable writing, we also gave colours,” Seno Tsuhah of NEN Chizami enlightened.
“Whoever comes up with a piece of writing or painting that they wish to share, we also decided that we will try to gather resources and publish it,” she further divulged while emphasizing that “we felt that in these 14 days, it is important to provide some kind of space where they can creatively engage themselves because it’s easy to feel frustrated and go into depression.”
NEN had also provided dry rations and has been reaching out to people in need by giving them relief kits to women, the elderly, street vendors in Kohima, etc. During this period of lockdown, it has reached out to about 800 families.
Meanwhile, commenting on the innovative concept of the COVID-19 Creativity Hub, Colo Mero expressed that we are so traditional and doing mostly the common things. However, in such a time of crisis, he commended the COVID-19 Task Force Chizami for the reinvigorating initiative. “They are being very creative and making a difference,” he said.