Football coach Priya P V, who guided Gokulam Kerala FC to the Indian Women’s League title, is currently assisting relief operations in the coronavirus-forced lockdown through a helpline centre which provides medicine and food to the needy.
Priya has joined the same helpline centre in Kannur, where India and Jamshedpur FC attacker CK Vineeth has been working. The biggest challenge for them at the centre is to make sure that all requests for medicines are met. “We have been getting around 150-200 calls every day. Most of these are for medicines. We make sure that whenever we get any requests for medicines, they are duly sent to those in need,” Priya, who had earlier coached India U-19, said in a press release.
“No requests for medicines are ever turned down. We try to do the same for grocery and food items as well. But sometimes we have to keep in mind that we have to distribute such items among a lot of people. So we try to divide it for everyone to get some amount,” she added. The call centre also attends to requests from students and other professionals from around the area. Kannur being the headquarters of the helpline centre, Priya and Vineeth also get a number of calls from the nearby districts, where tertiary networks have been set up to help the people.
“We are working from the headquarters in Kannur. There are tertiary helpline centres in different districts as well who have their own network of pharmacists, grocers, and delivery executives,” said Priya. “If we get a call from any of these districts, we forward the call to the respective helpline centre.” Priya, who won the IWL 2019-20 title as head coach of local club Gokulam Kerala FC, is staying away from her family to work at the helpline centre.
“My ancestral home is a bit far from the call centre, so I am currently staying at a place that is close by. Initially, I wanted to go to my ancestral home every weekend, in order to make sure that my parents have all they need during the lockdown,” she said. “The footballing calendar in India is quite packed, and those of us making a living out of the beautiful game do not get much chance to give back to society. The lockdown has awarded me the time that I can now use to help other people.”