In the last of our special series on Mahindra’s Covid Warriors, we highlight the stories of some of these Bravehearts who went beyond the call of duty to help those affected by the pandemic.
Messiah for migrant workers
The plight of the labourers and daily wage workers during the Covid-19 pandemic touched the hearts of Shan Prabhakaran and his wife. The couple, along with other Mahindra colleagues, Varoon Damodaran, Mudita Mithel, and Rishabh Agarwal and his wife from the Farm Equipment Sector, Aerospace and Defence and Group Corporate Office businesses lent a helping hand to thousands of daily wage labourers through their random acts of kindness. All of them came together to start the Help Our Labourers initiative in Maharashtra.
Shan explains, “Last year, during the first wave, we could reach out to 3,670 families with 746,960 meals. But the second wave was worse than what we all expected. Without regular income, several migrant workers were struggling to obtain even three square meals a day. The situation worsened after many bread earners succumbed to Covid-19, leaving their families with no other income avenue.”
In the second wave, Shan and his team categorically targeted locals as well as migrant labourers who had lost their jobs, widows, people with disabilities, the homeless and ragpickers in villages near Anand in Gujarat and Mumbai.
The team raised money through WhatsApp campaigns and online fundraisers. To overcome immense logistical challenges and lack of comprehensive census data, they reached out to a local non-profit organisation and identified the areas that needed help the most. “We found a ration vendor who, after hearing about our initiative’s purpose, agreed to sell us the ration at a highly subsidised rate. Every weekend, we drove over 100 km to the villages in Anand district and across Mumbai to distribute the ration,” he says.
In the second wave, Shan and his colleagues reached over 500 families with 99,600 meals. “To fight Covid-19, we will keep this drive on to ensure needy people do not go on an empty stomach,” he says.
Thanks to their efforts, Shan and his colleagues reached out to 4,170+ families with 846,560 meals in Maharashtra and Gujarat during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rejecting comfort and stepping into ground zero
The severe and widespread nature of the Covid-19 pandemic caused a heavy strain on the health workers who were outnumbered by the patients. During such a time Praveen M, working at Club Mahindra in F&B department, decided to lend a helping hand to the community. Praveen joined Samoohika Sannadha Sena, the volunteering platform established by the Kerala government, and was selected to work in the Rapid Response Team of his town’s panchayat in Purathur, Kerala.
Braving the pandemic, Praveen distributed medicines and food to ailing patients and even helped conduct the funerals of those who had succumbed to the virus. His selflessness was reflected in his refusal to accept any form of reward for his hard work or even compensation for his travel expenses incurred during his volunteering efforts.
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