QF staff and students join volunteer group to spread awareness and encourage physical distancing while shopping
Volunteers from across Qatar Foundation have come together to support the Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) in a national initiative to raise awareness about hygiene practices and prevention measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Qatar Foundation (QF) volunteers can be found every day in the Lulu Express located inside Education City, providing support and sharing the most updated and accurate information with customers inside the shopping center.
When the team at QF’s Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental (HSSE) Office, learned about QRCS’s initiative, which aims to position volunteers at major grocery stores around the country, including Al Meera, Carrefour, and Lulu Hypermarkets, they suggested that the volunteers at Lulu Express inside Education City be from the QF community.
“We suggested that the Lulu Express be covered by QF volunteers,” said Abdulaziz Murad, Acting Manager, Fire Prevention and Emergency Management at QF’s HSSE Office, “because the building is inside QF and easily accessible to them, and also because there are many in the QF community who are interested in volunteering and helping out.
“We got volunteers from the partner universities and the entities, and now, around 90 percent of the volunteers are from the QF community, and the remaining 10 percent are those who live near the area.”
For us volunteers, it’s about giving back to the community. We believe that it is our duty to work hand in hand, and support each other.
Since the beginning of April, the volunteers have been working in shifts that run from 11am to 11pm. They raise awareness on the importance of following State guidelines on physical distancing and practicing proper hygiene. They provide masks and discourage parents from bringing their children to shop, and also check temperatures of customers coming into the shopping center.
In addition to raising awareness, the volunteers also help the elderly, who are at higher risks if they contract the virus, to expedite their shopping process and minimize the time spent inside the shopping center. These volunteers also support the shopping center by ensuring that its staff and delivery personnel wear the appropriate protective gear when unloading shipments and stocking shelves.
By working together, we will be able to overcome any challenges we face and come out stronger
“For us volunteers, it’s about giving back to the community. We believe that it is our duty to work hand in hand, and support each other, not only during these difficult times, but whenever support is needed and we are able to offer it. By working together, we will be able to overcome any challenges we face and come out stronger,” Murad, who is also a volunteer, said.
The impact of the awareness campaign has already shown positive impact, with a noticeable increase in the number of shoppers following physical distancing guidelines and wearing protective gear, according to Murad.
“The shoppers are very responsive to our advice and the information we share with them, and they are cooperative in getting their temperatures checked before they begin their shopping. They also ask a lot of good questions about things they’re not sure of that are related to prevention measures.”
Of course, in addition to sharing information with the shoppers, the volunteers also make sure they follow the strictest measures of self-protection. “Volunteers are required to be wearing masks and gloves at all times, and to maintain a suitable distance from shoppers as they speak to them,” said Murad.
“Masks and gloves must be changed every two hours, and once the volunteers go home, they have to remove their shoes outside before entering their homes, and they must shower as soon as they enter.”
In addition to the QF volunteers managing Lulu Express in Education City, QRCS has many volunteers helping at different locations across the country. QRCS continues to seek and provide opportunities for volunteers to help out at quarantine sites and other select locations. Those interested in volunteering can register at www.qrcs.org.qa