King’s was founded on the ambition to serve society. Now, more than ever, this spirit is flourishing, as alumni and their communities come together to help others in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
We’ve been inspired by the many acts of kindness springing up across the world and would love to hear what’s happening in your community. Help us celebrate these by sharing your positive stories of service, big or small, on social media using the hashtags #ForeverKings and #ContinuingToServe or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about how King's is #ContinuingToServe its local, national and international communities. Find out how you can get involved and support your community through volunteering here.
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Sufi community live out their ethos of ‘service’ to make and distribute PPE to key workers
Ghonche Alavi (MA Public Policy, 2015) and her Sufi community have distributed over 1000 pieces of PPE to London hospitals and care homes. They’ve sewn face masks, crafted visors, made up care packages and even played live Sufi music to care home residents. Ghonche is very proud to live out the Sufi idea of ‘Khidmat’ or service. ‘As we started to see the impact of the pandemic – specifically the shortage of PPE for front line staff – we knew we had to do something to serve the vulnerable’ she says.
Virtual doctors save lives in Zambia using a smart phone app
Zambia & Malawi via East Sussex
Daniel Grace (Medicine, 2012), GP and volunteer Medical Director of the Virtual Doctors has been supporting frontline health workers in rural Zambia and Malawi, saving lives with just a smart phone. The Virtual Doctors diagnose conditions and treat patients remotely, using an app. Their service has never been more crucial as the country fights the COVID-19 outbreak. They’ve also worked with partners to distribute equipment on the ground, including foot-operated wash stations, soap, hand sanitiser and PPE.
‘One of the positives to emerge out of this pandemic is the collective desire to support society, particularly groups who are vulnerable and isolated’, he says, ‘For me, giving back and contributing to something bigger than ourselves is what service is all about.’
‘United we stand, divided we fall.’
Primary care doctor Myelone Tharmaseelan (Medical Ethics & Law, 2018) is working on the frontline and talks about his pride in doing his best for his people. ‘I have had the immense privilege of serving and treating patients while other fellow Malaysians remain indoors. My courage and spirit have only been amplified as I never felt alone or ever isolated. As the world is gripped with the Corona pandemic and we are all faced with unprecedented challenges, the global effort from so many has ensured that we have the upper hand. Together I believe we can emerge from this much stronger than before.
I would like to thank King’s for imparting knowledge to me and for providing a community of alumni where I can connect and network with others, Doctors and Politicians included, to work hand in hand to ensure a more holistic approach to fight this novel virus. United we stand, divided we fall’ he says.
Providing one million meals for frontline workers
Momin Saqib, alumnus, former KCLSU President and current King's staff member is one of the founders of One Million Meals – a charitable initiative which provides healthy meals to key workers in London including doctors, nurses, police officers and other staff who are playing a vital role in the fight against COVID-19. Momin has been unable to travel back to London from Pakistan, but managed to get the initiative up and running within 48 hours. Now teams across King’s, and his other networks, are coming together to support his vision.
Peking University and alumni communities combine to donate COVID-19 tests and PPE to King's Health Partners
Alumni from Peking University in Beijing and King's alumni community in China have worked together to donate testing equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) to King’s health partners. Around 10,000 COVID-19 test kits, notably those from the Peking HSBC Business School (PHBS), are being sent to London with the first batch already in operation. The test can provide patient results on the COVID-19 illness in just fifteen minutes. This welcome contribution marks an almost 100 year partnership between King's College London and Peking University. A separate initiative through the King's alumni community in Beijing and Shanghai has seen thousands of donations of PPE for our front-line health staff.
Solidarity, Empathy, and Social Distancing in Naples
Chiara Caiazzo (Comparative Literature, 2019) shares how the Neapolitan spirit of inventiveness, solidarity and empathy, coupled with the tradition of using an 'o panáro' (bread basket), is helping communities in Naples.
The panaro is a basket which the Neapolitans traditionally used to share food with relatives without leaving the house, by lowering the basket down to the street. During lockdown the tradition was reborn as people started to use these these baskets to share food and other essentials with passers-by, so that nobody felt abandoned. The idea spread across the region, with many leaving food supplies outside their doors with the message ‘Those who can give, may give. Those who cannot, may take’. A powerful example of the difference acts of kindness can make, Chiara says ‘If we want a better world we must do something to bring this change and make it last.’
Using social media in 'Service to others'
Alumna Seyran Khalili (Msc Organisational Psychiatry & Psychology, 2017) and five friends have started a Facebook group to bring people together in solidarity. The group is called Nasjonal Dugnad and embodies the idea of ‘Dugnad’ or ‘Service to Others’, an important part of Norwegian culture. The group was set up in the first week of lockdown. It has already attracted 70,000 members and made it onto the national news with content such as video meet ups, mentoring and talks on mental wellbeing. Seyran and her friends were also influential in advocating for the government to close down schools and kindergardens.
Seyran also took part in the ‘HackTheCrisisNorway’, a 48-hour hackathon to find solutions to the Covid-19 crisis. Her team's idea for 'Immunikey', a type of immunity passport made the top 10 out of 300 ideas submitted to 'save business' during the outbreak.
Watch a video about Immunikey
Visit Nasjonal Dugnad on Facebook
Here in the UK there has been an outpouring of help in response to the crisis. Over 750,000 people signed up as National Health Service (NHS) volunteer responders in just a couple of days and 250,000 have signed up to help local charities. Numerous local community support networks have sprung up across the country. Campaigns are spreading messages of hope and thanks as children display their creations of #rainbowsinwindows. And clapping for the NHS has become a weekly celebration, as the public come out on their doorsteps to thank carers and key workers.
The King's Community - Staff & Students
At King's, many of our academic clinicians have stepped up into NHS roles. This includes Professor Ian Everall, Executive Dean of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and Professor Richard Trembath, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine who said 'As a medical community, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to bolster the NHS frontline response'. Academic staff from the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care are offering support and training to junior nurses. IOPPN staff are helping to set up a supportive advice line for NHS staff, based on previous work supporting staff in Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic. These are just a few of the many examples of staff volunteering their services. And of course we congratulate our final year medical and nursing students who have now graduated, many of whom are now working or volunteering for the NHS.
King's Health Partners
Our hospital partners, Guy's & St Thomas' are at the very heart of the response to the crisis and have been overwhelmed with support and messages of thanks.
Support our hospital partners:
Support Guy's & St Thomas' Hospital
Support Evelina London
King's launches #ContinuingToServe
#ContinuingToServe is a university-wide approach to bringing together, strengthening and celebrating the many ways in which King's people are making a difference, wherever they may be, fulfilling our purpose as a civic university that serves the world. Find out how you can get involved and support your community through volunteering here.
King’s contribution to the coronavirus response
As a world-renowned university, several King’s academics and researchers are playing a key role in supporting the global narrative and response to the COVID-19 outbreak, from providing expert analysis, to researching therapeutic treatments and advising the UK government. We have set up a dedicated website to update you on King’s contribution to the COVID-19 response.
King's COVID-19 appeal
King's has launched an appeal to support research and our incredible NHS partners to get the funding needed to combat the spread of COVID-19. Donate here.