Yunus Dudhwala, head of chaplaincy at Barts Health, will feature in a new installation, “From Where I’m Standing”, which tells diverse stories from people across the UK as a record of life in 2020. Helen Hewitt, a matron at The Royal London Hospital on the Adult Critical Care Unit, and Geraldine Cunningham, associate director of culture change, were also featured.
The Empathy Museum has created an immersive project featuring 34 portraits, each accompanied by an audio story and a photograph, that reflects the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Intended to create a museum archive of the pandemic, “From Where I’m Standing” looks at what Covid-19 has taught us about empathy, resilience, wellbeing, and endurance.
Yunus Dudhwala, head of chaplaincy at Barts Health, contributed to the collection after being inspired by his reflections on the challenges of living and working through Covid-19. Chaplaincy services at Barts Health have changed during the pandemic, including how they provide support to patients, families, and staff during this difficult time.
Yunus had to adapt to help those in need and his communication methods with families and patients also had to change. He either had to be wearing PPE when speaking face to face or provide virtual communication via the use of tablets.
While this isn’t as personal as a face to face service, it enabled Yunus and the chaplaincy team to talk to over thirty family members at a time both in the UK and abroad to provide invaluable support to families grieving.
Yunus was interviewed by BBC London on Tuesday 8th December about this grief as national grief awareness week drew to a close.
He was also called upon to help set up the chaplaincy and bereavement services at the Nightingale in London, where he provided guidance to funeral directors on washing and handling the deceased within the Muslim community.
Yunus said: “Everyone who worked in the NHS during the pandemic – no matter which area, which discipline, which profession, and which job – are all heroes.
“From the cleaners to the surgeons, from the receptionist to the managers, and everyone in between deserves recognition and are all amazing.
“The Empathy Museum wanted to capture the story of the pandemic and chose individuals from different professions across the country. I feel honoured and privileged to have been asked to participate in this project and tell my story about what it was like working as a chaplain during Covid-19.”
Clare Patey, Empathy Museum founder, said: "In the midst of a pandemic, listening to these storytellers, with all the wisdom, kindness and generosity of spirit that they share, has inspired me, moved me to tears at times and ultimately given me a renewed faith in humanity."
The project was shot by four award-winning photographers: Myah Jeffers, Lottie Davies, Tim Mitchell and Amit Lennon. The images can be downloaded here. The exhibition is on at Dalberg Road London SW2 1AJ between 10th December and 10th January.
Yunus will also feature in the soon to be published book “Covid Kindness UK:2020”, an exclusive Jackanory commemorative book to celebrate hard work, adaptability and kindness during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yunus said: “The book is packed with positivity, including photos and interviews with key workers and familiar faces, as well as pictures of some of the things we've all been seeing over the past few months.”
The installation, presented in collaboration with the NHS and The Health Foundation, will be available online from Thursday 10th December.