As the world fights the deadly new coronavirus, we mourn those lost, applaud those fighting on the front line and stay home for those who can’t.
Amongst the grief and chaos there have been beautiful bursts of creativity, as plays, music and dance all move online.
Across the world coffee catch-ups are shared over Zoom, laughter over Skype and Easter is celebrated through social media.
In the early 1990s, one of Australia’s greatest humanitarians Professor Fred Hollows delivered one of his most enduring quotes: “I believe the basic attribute of mankind is to look after each other.”
To remind us that although we have never been so distant, we are more connected than ever, the Fred Hollows Foundation’s founding director Gabi Hollows has started a campaign urging all of us to look out for each other.
Mrs Hollows told The New Daily that message from 30 years ago, is now more important than ever.
“This has been an incredibly tough year and I know that countless people are going through enormous challenges and uncertainties,” Mrs Hollows said, on what would have been Fred’s 91st birthday week.
“While many things are out of our control right now, we can still control how we treat each other, especially the most vulnerable among us – locally, and around the world, in big and small ways.
“I loved that Fred was forever optimistic about the humanitarian nature of everyday people. You don’t need to be extraordinary to make a difference.
“To everyone in Australia and around the world: caring for other people is what being human is all about, so please, be like Fred and look after each other.”
Mrs Hollows hailed the many eye surgeons, nurses and community health workers trained by
Across the world, staff trained by the foundation have joined efforts to fight COVID-19 – in countries like Kenya, China, Vietnam, Pakistan, Myanmar and the Philippines eye surgeons are are being re-deployed to other areas of hospitals to help.
“Our frontline workers are amazingly resilient and brave. I thank them for their contribution in the face of this unprecedented health crisis,” Gabi said.
“Fred never did medicine to make money, he did it because it was useful, and I know our wonderful eye health workers are driven by the same humanitarian values.
“And for those who aren’t on the front lines, we can all play our part. We can make sure our vulnerable neighbours are well, we can pick up groceries for our elderly friends, we can reach out and just say hello to that person who lives alone.”