Freeset’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our On-Going Response

As the nature and impact of the Coronavirus(COVID-19) disease is being further understood, we want to make sure we have a coherent response as an organization and a community. This page serves as a central communication for all our responses related to Covid-19, which the World Health Organization(WHO) officially labeled as a Pandemic. Our main ask of all our staff and partners around the world is: Keep Calm, Be Informed, Be Careful and Be Joyful.

Our Current Situation

We appreciate our valued supporters and customers for the trust and support they have extended to Freeset over the years. The recent outbreak of Covid-19 has disrupted life for all of us, and it will take time for us to understand its full impact. Freeset stands together with our employees to overcome the current situation and continue to power the business of our customers. While the health and well-being of our team members and community is our highest priority, we are also actively focused on supporting the needs of our customers.

On March 23rd, 2020 the Prime Minister of India announced a 21-day Nationwide Lockdown (Guidelines). This has led to an effective stop on all gatherings and operations. On April 15th, the national lockdown was extended to May 3rd, with some exemptions granted April 20th onward (Guidelines). We support this decision on behalf of our community and plan to restart operation on May 4th, 2020. There is some possibility we may quality to open sooner, but that is still pending review. Although production is at a halt, all office staff are being equipped with facilities to work from home during the lockdown. To support our staff at a difficult time as this, we will pay all Freeset staff full wages for March, April & May while we work on a long-term response plan.

Over the coming weeks, we will share updates on this page to answer critical questions for our customers and partners. We appreciate your support and patience. During this period we ask you to do four things

Keep calm: We are prone to the spread of rumor, misinformation, and especially over-reactions. We don’t want to undermine the risks and impact of the disease, but we believe any response, big or small, will be impeded if there is panic. It's a time to be collectively calm and be agents of calm in our communities.

Be Informed: Misinformation has become a major challenge in the response to Covid-19. Inaccurate information is incredibly harmful. It not only leads to unnecessary fear but also harmful actions. As you seek to be informed, make sure your sources of information are CREDIBLE.

Be Careful: Combating the virus requires each of us to do our part. Difficult things may be asked of us, but ultimately, it is our responsibility to follow through. So Be Careful to take care of yourself and others around you.

Be Joyful: This might seem like a strange ask, considering the challenging situation. However, we believe that Joy is a necessary antidote to fear and anxiety. There is medical evidence that stress and anxiety make our immune systems more vulnerable. Being Joyful makes us safer. Being Joyful makes others safer.

As an individual, business and community - let’s fight Covid-19 together. From Freeset we wish you and yours good health. Stay Safe!

On the Ground Response

At the heart of Freeset is its employees. We exist for the many women who have joined us with the hope of a transformed life and a bright future. Considering the recent outbreak of Covid-19 the safety, health and well-being of our employees is of paramount importance. Undoubtedly, Covid-19 has adversely affected our business. In the wake of the spread, we aim to ensure our employees are protected and they continue earning a livelihood. Below are some steps we have taken to protect our team and community.

Spreading awareness: During the initial phase of the outbreak of Covid-19, Freeset organized an awareness program informing about the precautions, symptoms and the Do and Don’ts during this pandemic. Freeset also placed informational posters at all key locations of work premises in vernacular language.

Ensuring Hygiene: Masks and safety equipment are stocked for the usage of the staff. Freeset has made available soaps and hand sanitizers in all restrooms and workspaces. A protocol has been issued to make hand washing a mandatory practice at regular intervals.

Sharing Information: Freeset has created an internal central communication portal for updates related to its response to Covid-19. A response plan has been published for any person reporting sick or unwell. A phone tree has also been set up so we can keep in touch with every staff member, and our managers are in regular communication with all staff.

Planning a Safe Restart: Right now we plan to re-open operation on April 16th. However, we recognize that this is a long term challenge, and we want our workspace to be a safe space for all staff. We are currently looking at setting up partial or flexible work schedules to minimize time on location, additional safety, and hygiene training to ensure safety behaviors continue after the initial crisis, and a temporary moratorium of visitors until we believe the crisis has truly passed.

Supporting our Community

In the midst of crisis, we must maintain our deep commitment to the communities in which we live and work. Preserving health and relationship are of equal importance. Consequently, we are implementing a series of measures that uphold best practices regarding health promotion and infection control. We recognize that the current situation is rapidly evolving, and we strive to adjust accordingly and uphold national guidelines. Here are some measures we have put in place to ensure the needs of the community are heard and met wherever possible.

Creating Awareness: As our community is densely populated the risk of getting sick and infecting others is high. So, we are constantly communicating and sharing information about necessary safety measures to all the people engaged with the community programs and neighbors.

The Cup at a break: Every day many women visit the Cup. As social distancing is one of the main ways to fight the virus, Freeset has taken the difficult decision to temporarily close The Cup community center. We will reopen when situations appear favorable.

Creation of support groups: Though the Cup will be shut during the lock-down period, we will continue our interaction with the community as best as possible. To make this possible we have created two message groups for the Bengali and Nepali community. These groups will help in sharing updates and act as a helpline for the women of our community.

Review and Care: In this difficult time, our social workers will be available inside the community. They will be closely monitoring the health of the women and assist them in receiving the necessary medication and help if required.

These times of uncertainty and fear are inspiring new ways of connection and a growing sense of solidarity in our community. Understanding we are all in this together has filled us with love, empathy, and responsibility.

Key Updates for Customers

We know many of you with on-going or planned orders will have detailed queries. Our customer care team is working around the clock to assess and minimize the impact to our customers. Many of you have already been contacted regarding your orders. However, if you need to reach out to us, please email our Customer Care team at [email protected]

Keep watching this space as we answer some of the frequently asked questions:

> Is Freeset still accepting orders, and if so, how can I order?

> In light of the current economy, is Freeset providing any discounts or offers on sales?

> If I want to learn more about or get involved in the on-the-ground response, where do I start?

Useful Resources

Being Informed is the first step to any effective response. Here we will link useful articles and resources to keep you abreast of how the situation is evolving in India.

Official COVID-19 India Tracker

WHO India - Coronavirus Page

In light of the pandemic, we are facing an immense challenge to provide for our women and communities. Please click on the link to donate in support of our women.

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