While the coronavirus crisis was forcing the majority of the population into lockdown, acts of solidarity towards the most vulnerable members of the population were spreading rapidly. Many people decided to take action - acts of mutual aid increased and neighbours became everyday heroes.
At present, the Grand Duchy is gradually moving out of confinement in an orderly manner, Luxembourgers are slowly regaining their relative freedom. In strict compliance with health measures, shops have re-opened their doors, restaurants and cafés are welcoming their customers once again, indoor sports are now permitted and cultural institutions are open to the public. In short, social life in the Grand Duchy has taken a few tentative steps towards normality.
Since the world came to a standstill in mid-March, the coronavirus has literally kept every country on tenterhooks, and Luxembourg was not spared.In order to limit the spread of the virus, which is mainly transmitted by respiratory droplets, it became mandatory to wear a protective mask. Stricter health precautions were also put in place as well as more severe physical distancing and stricter preventative measures. The war against the coronavirus has been officially declared.
The Grand Duchy unites against the virus
The unprecedented guidelines, put in place as a result of the coronavirus led to social and physical distance of two meters between people. Interpersonal contact has literally been prohibited, the right to hug has been abolished and preventative measures have become the norm. Despite these strict rules, confinement has nevertheless brought people closer together - social life has taken on a different guise and the notion of solidarity has re-emerged.
An outpouring of solidarity blossomed in the shadow of the coronavirus. Individuals, associations, volunteers - everyone played their part! From one day to the next, solidarity and mutual aid initiatives were rolled out across the country. Municipalities mobilised to make life easier for their inhabitants, ordinary citizens got together to support the vulnerable and young people reached out to help the elderly.
Over the past few months, a glorious chain of solidarity has been formed and the crisis has welded the community together more than ever before. At a time of social distancing, the sense of unity has never been stronger.
Healthcare workers on the front line
From the very beginning of the health crisis, healthcare workers were relentlessly committed to fighting the virus. The entire medical network - doctors, nurses and care workers - have worked ceaselessly with the sick throughout each day and night. As a sign of gratitude, the inhabitants of Luxembourg opened their windows at dusk and applauded the nursing staff for a few minutes, every day at eight o’clock.
They all became immediate heroes and the police delivered their own special message of appreciation. The homage was conveyed in the form of flashing lights in front of the Kirchberg hospital. In Esch-sur-Alzette, police patrols displayed their solidarity by marching through the streets of the iron city - from the Town Hall to the Emile Mayrisch Hospital - with the lights on their vehicles flashing and by applauding in front of the hospital.
One small gesture, one giant leap of support
The act of solidarity did not stop with the ritual applause. On the contrary, solidarity-based initiatives quickly spread across the country to address the many social and economic problems caused by the virus. These initiatives covered everyday tasks and chores: shopping, going to the pharmacy or walking a dog suddenly became very risky activities for some of us.
But many people continued to rise to the challenge; they did not give the impression of giving up when the Grand Duchy went into lockdown. More than ever, it is not just the virus that continued to spread but also acts of kindness and solidarity. Sewing machines and printers started to run at full speed in order to make protective masks and visors. Neighbours offered support to each other, young people started running errands for the most vulnerable - in short, everyone is playing their part.
Portraits of everyday heroes
The platform showcasing initiatives
Blanca Martinez and Belen Diaz-Mor have launched a website that brings together all kinds of solidarity-based initiatives which are available to individuals during lockdown. The two young Spanish women, who live in Luxembourg and work in the telecommunication sector, wanted to use their know-how to launch a platform to give vulnerable people the opportunity to look for volunteers who could provide help in these unprecedented times. The principle of the website is simple: the services offered by volunteers are displayed in the form of an advertisement (such as walking a dog, shopping, etc.); the services are also listed by geographical region.
Scout for a day, scout for ever!
In the wake of the spread of the coronavirus, scouts have put their hearts and souls into providing support. The FNEL Scouts as well as the Luxembourg Guides and Scouts (LGS), have shown the vulnerable, less mobile and more fragile members of society that they are available and will not turn their backs on anyone by offering to help them in their day-to-day lives. The two guides Hannah and Leonie talk about positive experiences and tell us that they would commit themselves again if necessary. Scout's honour!
Cycling for a good cause
Since the start of the crisis, Sébastien (25 years old), has provided support to the most vulnerable through the strength of his calf muscles! As a cycling enthusiast, the young man, originally from Esch-sur-Alzette, has offered to do the shopping for local residents. When his phone rings, the solidarity courier jumps on his bicycle and delivers basic necessities such as medicines and groceries to those in need. The service is free of charge but the bills are paid in compliance with the strict hygiene measures in force: mask and gloves are among his everyday working tools.
Printers running at full speed
It sprung into life following the maternity leave of the wife of one of his partners, who had to go back to work in the middle of the Corona crisis. In order to protect his wife at that time, his colleague started to develop and manufacture protective masks. That's how Shahram Agaajani, head of an architectural firm, explains the source of inspiration for making protective masks. “The level of mutual support during the process was immense”, explains the architect. In the space of a few hours, more than 40 volunteers came to the fore, helping the team to produce and distribute the masks. A success story worth telling.
Masking the scent of flowers
During the confinement, two florists Sandra and Connie were forced to close their shop in Olm. They had the idea of making masks for their customers, so they immediately started production. The masks have been a huge success and orders are pouring in. The two florists even had to ask two girlfriends to lend a helping hand. In the end, even though the masks were free, the young women were able to collect donations, which they gave to the organisation Helfer mit Herz.