General lockdown in Italy has been declared on March 8th 2020, although, in the northern regions, some restrictions were already put in place two weeks prior to that. Now only one person per family can leave the house to go grocery shopping. The measures taken by the Italian Government to reduce and limit the spread of Covid-19 are strict, and aim to avoid the overcrowding of intensive care units in hospitals. They also seem to be working, so far. Our Exchange Students have found themselves in the middle of the emergency.
Even though staying inside has not been the easiest, it definitely has had its upsides. We have had to adapt to a new way of life, purely based on technology and the company of our families. Companies introduced smart working and schools introduced online classes. The situation for our Exchange Students is not different: they are following their lessons from home and spending more time with their host-families, getting closer to them and embracing italian culture even more. Even Rotary Youth Exchange Committee meetings are now held on Zoom. Indeed, we may be witnessing the first time in human history, in which most, if not all, communications take place online.
However, as soon as lockdown started, we realized that not everywhere in the world people were taking social distancing seriously and were not thinking of the dangerous consequences this might have for a lot of people. For this reason, we decided to “start a revolution from our beds” and spread awareness on the importance of staying at home. We used the power of the Internet and created a video in collaboration with our Inbounds and Rotex members. We put together clips showing the countless things that we can do in our homes during this time: watch TV, study, read a book, play ping-pong or board games with the family, cook Italian cuisine delicacies, exercise, to name just few examples. We then shared the video on our social media, and tried to reach as many people in as many different countries as possible. We are very happy with what we have achieved and how far the video has spread. We hope we made someone change their mind about the seriousness of the situation and the importance of social distancing.