UNRC on COVID-19: Be ready and be kind

Dear citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic,

Amid the fear and anxiety over the spread of COVID-19, which is crippling the world, and the growing pressure on all of us, please let me remind you of one simple and yet very important message - all of us should remember to include in everything we do an act of kindness. This was well captured in the words of Chyngyz Aitmatov, who said “The biggest challenge for us is to remain humane every single day”. Ahead of challenges that are looming large indeed, my message to all citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic would be “Be ready. And be kind.”

Inform yourself about COVID-19, get ready for the challenge and be kind. Now, as never before, we need to take responsibility for our health and loved ones. Keep social distance, but do not forget about kindness. From Italy to China to France to the US, over the past weeks we have observed great acts of human kindness. Acts that define us as a human family. We can rise together in solidarity, as a human family—whether singing a song together outside our windows, getting groceries for the elderly or calling a friend to alleviate anxiety and fear. 

What can we do for our neighbors and for the most vulnerable among us? In case the virus hits us — let’s take active steps to stop stigma and encourage empathy in the form of encouragement and support. Kindness has the profound power to remind us of our humanity in the face of despair, to restore dignity and to strengthen our response.

Cooperation, be it at the global or local level, has never been so vital and the call for unity—so clear. Every day we are seeing collective and individual actions that encourage everyone, everywhere to be part of this response and to leave no one behind. We are grateful to our medical colleagues, public and community health workers for putting extra effort to confront potential outbreak.

We should be aware of potential implications on the rights and dignity of people affected by COVID-19. The international experience is showing that people affected by COVID-19 are part of the solution and must be supported at all times. The extraordinary actions that the UN, Kyrgyz government and international community take to respond to COVID-19 is what will break the pandemic, while to prevent stigma and discrimination we need more kindness from each of us.

When the crisis passes, and it will pass, world leaders must invest in climate mitigation, health care, education – all of the 17 SDGs. That will be one way to prevent future pandemics.  

Let us all - Be informed. Be prepared. And Be Kind. 


Speech by
Mr. Ozonnia Ojielo
Resident Coordinator
Mr. Ozonnia Ojielo
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations