Alumni respond to COVID-19

Gates Cambridge Alumni have been mobilising to address some of the many issues thrown up by COVID-19.

A number of Gates Cambridge Alumni are involved in efforts to combat COVID-19 and its social impact. They include researchers looking at how the coronavirus impacts various populations, those working on potential vaccines, social entrepreneurs looking to speed up the process of finding treatments and vaccines as well as alumni working to fund raise for some of those worst affected by the pandemic.

Carol Ibe [2015] has been fundraising to provide food packages to some of the poorest families affected by the COVID19 lockdown in Uganda & Nigeria. Carol aims to raise £5,000 to provide emergency food packages to at least 250 poor families in Uganda and Nigeria within the next few weeks. Carol, who did her PhD in Plant Sciences, says the families are on the verge of starvation due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and local travel restrictions, which have affected the way they earn their daily living, for instance, through street hawking. Most of them live in slums and rural areas and struggle to eat a meal a day.

In partnership with the Williams Uchemba Foundation and Efficient Grace for the Hopeless Foundation in Nigeria and Hope for Street Kids and the Vulnerable People Foundation in Uganda, food packages containing basic food items such as rice, beans, palm oil/vegetable oil, tomatoes, onions and maize flour as well as clean drinking water will be provided to the most affected families.  

Another alumna Jerelle Joseph [2014] is keeping Dominican students connected and learning during the COVID-19 crisis through her Student Axecess campaign which aims to raise money for tablets and data connectivity to Dominican students who cannot access online services so they can continue their studies during lockdown. This continues Jerelle’s goal of empowering Caribbean students, which included launching the mentoring NGO CariScholar while at the University of Cambridge. Jerelle did her PhD in Chemistry. 

And Matt Malone [2018], who did an MPhil in Theoretical & Applied Linguistics, will perform stand-up comedy with five others to raise funds for Kitrinos Healthcare, a UK-based charity, providing vital healthcare to refugees trapped in Greece, for a COVID19 crisis care unit at the Moria refugee camp in Greece. The show, which will be hosted on Zoom at 7pm tonight [30th April], is being organised by Laugh4change, the social enterprise set up by Gates Cambridge's Cansu Karabiyik to raise money for refugees.

Other alumni who have been active on the social enterprise and research side include Emily Jordan [2009], who did a PhD in Experimental Psychology and is co-founder of a start-up which has launched the platform to connect patients to clinical trials for vaccines, diagnostic tests and therapeutic treatments in development for COVID-19; and Pradipta Biswas [2006], whose laboratory at the Indian Institute of Science has developed a new app which shows the rate of spread of COVID-19 across different regions. Pradipta did his PhD in Computer Science.

*Picture credit: Surgical face mask from Wikipedia.