Pandemic relief: Tamil Nadu YouTubers rise to the occasion

Print edition :

A poster advertising the event "We for O2", organised in aid of erecting an oxygen plant in Tiruvannamalai.

As the COVID-19 virus is raging across Tamil Nadu, a group service-minded people from the temple town of Tiruvannamalai, in association with a band of celebrity YouTubers, have taken up the task of erecting an oxygen plant for hospitals in Tiruvannamalai.

Recently, the members of the Rotary Club of Pride, Tiruvannamalai, approached District Collector Sandeep Nanduri for permission to erect an oxygen plant at the Old Government Hospital, Tiruvannamalai. The Collector, besides accepting the request, sanctioned the initial amount for the project from the district Corporate’s Social Responsibility Fund. The Rotary Club members chipped in with their contributions. A private firm from Coimbatore agreed to erect the plant at an estimated cost of Rs.70 lakh.

It was decided to crowdfund the project. Anbarasu, the Rotary member and coordinator of the ‘O2 Plant project’ had suggested that the fund could be sourced through YouTubers of repute by organising a programme. A group of 26 YouTubers, with guidance from journalists-turned-YouTubers Jenram and Senthilvel, formed the Tamil Digital Creator Association and organised a six-hour continuous event named “We for O2” on May 30 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. This was relayed live in all the YouTube channels run by them.

The event started with `parai’ music, which was followed by skits, dances, re-telecast of memorable YouTube interviews of celebrities, and so on. Tamil Lyricist Yuga Bharathi was the chief guest. The event yielded a whopping Rs.22 lakh by way of viewers’ contributions. The organisers said that contributions were still pouring in. Many viewers shared their traumatic experiences of trying to get oxygen beds for their near and dear. They donated liberally because of their feeling that others should not go through such experiences.

The organisers told the media that they took the cue from YouTubers at the national level who had organised a similar event for Corona Relief Fund. They collected Rs.50 lakh. In Kerala, the collection was Rs.1 lakh. “But the response in Tamil Nadu has surprised everyone. This also encourages us to plan a similar fund-raising event for the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Corona Relief Fund, in which celebrities from the cine world would take part,” said one of the organisers.

Tiruvannamalai is one of the worst-hit districts in the second wave in Tamil Nadu. The two government hospitals in the district do not have adequate number of beds with oxygen support.

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