Staying Strong in the Midst of the Storm

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The need is growing. Frontline workers, hospitals, the police force, daily wages labourers, migrant workers, the homeless and vulnerable are still in dire need of help to protect them from this grave crisis enveloping the nation. It has been over two months since the lockdown, which has brought the entire country to a standstill, was announced. Not giving up the fight are the business houses, groups and individuals who are relentlessly doing their part to provide relief in various forms – be it food, water, shelter, medical care, counselling, innovative products and apps, music, and the most vital protective gear for frontline warriors as well as for civilians. We salute all these Corona Warriors.

APP Delhi NCR

To mitigate the crisis caused by the Coronavirus and to help the needy, underprivileged people of the society, Association of Property Professional (APP) Delhi / NCR, a conglomerate of real estate experts have stepped up to provide aid. It has extended a helping hand to alleviate the pain and misery of the poor people of the country, who have nothing in terms of savings that can get them through this lockdown.

As of now, APP has twice donated Rs 50,000/- to NRAI (National Restaurants Association of India), represented by its members, Sam Chopra and Vishal Anand for ‘Feed the Needy’ drive, which is a campaign in collaboration with the government to provide food to the people who are in dire need of it. More than 50 lakh meals have been distributed through the initiative thus far, which is a laudable achievement and the organization is still going strong.

A similar amount of monetary help has also been provided to another NGO, Meals of Happiness (MOH) led by Anchal Sharma, who has long been a member of the APP. Anchal, who herself is a cancer survivor, started this NGO to feed the underprivileged children in Delhi and Gurugram every day. MOH has doubled its efforts ever since the Coronavirus began rampaging in India, and it’s doing the best it can cover as many people as possible.

Karuna 2020, which is another anti – COVID the initiative, has also been given a similar amount of money to feed the daily wage workers and to facilitate some basic essential supplies to them so that they can survive these difficult conditions.

“This lockdown has been difficult for us all, but it has been excruciatingly difficult for the poor, underprivileged people of our country. It is a travesty that such a large population of our country lives so close to the poverty line that they have nothing in terms of savings that can get them through a period of financial calamity. Most of these people work every day to eat every day, and the sudden loss of their jobs due to Coronavirus has plunged them into a pit of plight and misery.”

“As privileged individuals who have the power to bring change, it is our social responsibility to support our less fortunate brethren and help them survive these difficult times, just as they have helped us previously in building our economy. The cloud-kissing skyscrapers would only be a dream without the hands that build them. It’s time we come together and do our bit for the society; it’s time to give back to those who have given us so much,” said Kshitij Nagpal, President, Association of Property Professional (APP) Delhi / NCR.

CKC Group of Jewellers

Soon after the lockdown is declared by Govt of India due to COVID 19 cases in India from March 262020, Hareesh K A, who is working as a CSR representative in CKC Group of Jewellers registered with The Department of Information and Public Relations as a Corona Warrior and joined hands with Bengaluru city police to perform warrior duties in East division, Bengaluru. He has performed his voluntary duties as a warrior for a period of one month starting from April 3 to May 20, 2020.

Hareesh along with few volunteers from C Krishniah Chetty Foundation has distributed dry ration to 710 migrant and poor families in Jogupalya slums (50 families), Athiguppe Govt. school children (150 families), Lingarajapuram Migrant Colony (230 families), Domlur area slums (100 families), Commercial Street Police Station (30 Kits), KR Puram (migrant workers – 25 Families), Ramamurthy Nagar – Govt school children (25 families) and Devara Jeevana Halli Police Station (migrant workers-100 families).

Along with this, Hareesh and his team of five volunteers from C Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers distributed 23000 meals during 48 days of lockdown period to the needy and poor people in Halasuru, Joguplaya, Indiranagar, Lingarajapuram, Maruthi Seva Nagar areas. The hot lunch reached the various sections of people on time every day at 1:00 pm through a well-structured programme. The team of CKC volunteers have done this great service every day by keeping social distance and all guidelines and advisory of CKC and Government from time to time.

Along with this, Hareesh and 12 CKC Traffic Wardens performed their regulation duties during COVID-19 lockdown period and spent around 290 hours of their time in East Division supporting Bengaluru City Traffic Police and by creating awareness about COVID-19, checking vehicle movement, distribution of masks, distribution of food and dry ration to needy people to keep the city safe and healthy. 

Union Bank of India, Mumbai

Union Bank of India, Mumbai Zone – Staff Members, contributed an amount of Rs.30.00 lakhs towards the Chief Minister Care Fund, Maharashtra, in support of the noble cause to combat the COVID-19 pandemic situation. The cheque was handed over to Hon. Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar by M. Venkatesh, General Manager, Mumbai Zone, Union Bank of India.

Citrix

Citrix has always believed in supporting the communities in which they live and work. Whenever natural disasters have struck in the past, Citrix has figured out ways where the company might be able to help, and the global teams have willingly and generously contributed money and time to these disaster relief efforts that can make a difference in the lives of those affected.

Amidst the ongoing pandemic too, working with their committee of community ambassadors – which comprises of employees across all levels and organizations – Citrix selected 11 charities that provide support in the most critical areas of need and put the full-court press on their vendor to vet them.

To support these organisations, Citrix employees were given the opportunity to donate one day’s salary or any amount of their choice in the month of April. The digital workspaces leader also stepped up to match their contributions 2:1.

The drive has successfully helped raise 1.25 Crore, or nearly $165,000 USD. Together with the organizations, Citrix has helped:

  • 15,500 frontline healthcare workers by providing face masks, shields, personal protective equipment and daily lunches
  • 4,000 migrant workers and families in need by providing essentials and cash support for several weeks
  • 800 elderly and individuals with special needs by providing food and medical essentials
  • 450 transgender families by providing relief packages and ration kits
  • 75 waste pickers by providing personal hygiene kits and masks 

WeCare

Aditya Prakash Bhardwaj, a doctor-turned IRS officer from Faridabad, started a community initiative WeCare to help the vulnerable sections of society who can barely afford to earn their bread & butter and are hungry.

WeCare has served over five lakh people suffering from hunger during the lockdown.

WeCare feeds 5,000 people each day. Its services are not only limited to marginalised people but also work for the welfare of animals. As part of the initiative, they incorporated measures to help animals very carefully as the lockdown has had a profound impact on not only humans but also animals. 300 water buckets were arranged over the entire stretch of the Gurgaon-Faridabad road. Apart from this, foodgrains were also kept for these animals so they do not go hungry.

“The desire to create a hunger-free society inspired me to start this initiative, to feed those who are unable to meet their needs during lockdown because I believe that food should be available to humans as well animals as it is their basic right where no one will go to sleep on an empty stomach,” said Aditya Prakash Bhardwaj.

This initiative is also working to provide self-employment to women along with food. For this, WeCare has opened a sewing centre in Kabra, a village in Greater Faridabad where women are making masks. These masks are being sold in the market and the revenue is being distributed among these workers.

Coca-Cola and United Way Mumbai

As the need to step up relief efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Coca-Cola in India has partnered with United Way Mumbai to augment healthcare initiatives in 48 public hospitals across eight states in the country. Apart from large-scale support to public hospitals and healthcare workers, the partnership has also committed to serving 65000+ public service personnel such as sanitation workers, police staff and community health workers across the nation. This initiative is a part of Coca-Cola’s commitment of INR 100 Crores towards helping the healthcare system and communities to combat the crisis and contain the spread of the pandemic.

The initial phase of the relief program will be rolled out in eight critically affected states including Maharashtra (Mumbai, Pune), Delhi, Tamil Nadu (Chennai), Karnataka (Bengaluru), Telangana (Hyderabad), Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana. To provide immediate support and enhancement of health infrastructure, public hospitals will be provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) comprising N95 masks, 3-ply disposable masks, surgical caps, surgical goggles, waterproof gown, shoe covers, gloves for the safety of healthcare workers. The support package will also include sanitizer dispensers, additional ICU beds, and non-contact thermometers for medical preparedness in dealing with the anticipated number of cases across the country. Working alongside the government bodies and local institutions to support basic needs and ensure safety and protection of our frontline healthcare personnel and communities, this outreach aims to positively impact 9600 healthcare workers and over nine lakh patients across India.

Additionally, to equip public service personnel such as police staff, sanitation workers and other community and social workers who are working in the hotspot zones, protective gears such as masks and gloves along with sanitiser dispensers will also be provided. This support is expected to reach approximately 50,000 sanitation workers, 11,000+ police personnel and 6,000 community health workers across India.

Commenting on the initiative, Ishteyaque Amjad, Vice-President, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability, Coca-Cola India and South-West Asia said, “We are humbled to collaborate with our partner United Way Mumbai in providing support to the health and safety of the country’s frontline warriors. We are hopeful that with collective efforts and resilience, we will be able to steer ourselves out of these testing times.”

Adding further, Jayanti Shukla, Chief Executive Officer, United Way Mumbai said, “The rapid spread of the virus has left doctors, nurses and other frontline workers with inadequate access to the protective equipment, necessary to defend themselves. In such testing times, it’s important to ensure their personal safety and safeguard their health so our citizens can continue to receive the care and support that they need. Through this collaboration, Coca-Cola and United Way Mumbai will continue to identify, plan and support interventions to areas of greatest needs.” 

NEO TECH and Donear Group Companies

With the COVID-19 pandemic making its presence felt globally, frontline workers are diligently performing their duties towards the society. Being synonymous with product innovation since their inception and with the vision of contributing to the society, the Donear Group – Donear, GRADO by GBTL (GBTL was formerly known as GRASIM) and OCM – have ventured into manufacturing fabrics, garments and protective gear using NEO TECH® Technology, under their ranges – CARETEX, PROTEX and SHIELDTEX respectively offering PPE Kits, Masks, and healthcare apparels.

To quickly cater to the evolving need for healthcare products, the Group has invested in ‘heat seam sealing’ taping machines and has started producing PPE kits. These kits have been certified by renowned laboratories and agencies including SITRA and DRDO.

Understanding the need for the healthcare segment and due pain points, the Group has also developed specialized fabrics with Anti-microbial and Blood repellent finish. These fabrics are made with NEO TECH® Technology and especially for PPE coveralls. One of the USPs of these coveralls is that they are reusable.

Another USP is the comfort factor for the wearer, which is why the fabric is made with a breathable water-proof chemical.

With the primary aim of providing high quality, utilitarian, ready-to-wear products and catering to an array of industries such as Healthcare, Aviation, Defence, Banking, Police, NGOs, municipal workers, security agencies, government bodies, etc. These products shield the frontline workers from viruses and bacterium, upholding the tenets of health, hygiene and comfort which are the need of the hour. These reusable coveralls will further help curb the challenges of waste management considerably.

These anti-bacterial fabrics have received wide acclaim from multiple industries, such as the major State Police Departments and government bodies amongst others.

These fabrics are also being appreciated by people who commute daily (commuter suits), as aprons in Salons/ clinics – anywhere where a human touch could be involved.

NEO TECH® is a unique technology developed by the Donear Group companies, a culmination of extensive efforts in research and development, done with the intention of bringing a paradigm shift in the Indian textile industry. In the wake of COVID-19, a team of industry stalwarts, illustrious chemical suppliers and technological institutions was formed, with the aim of developing fabrics that are high quality, utilitarian and have a shield against bacteria and viruses alike. Apart from other technologies such as moisture management, anti-odour, cool max and much more.

The product basket of CARETEX, PROTEX and SHIELDTEX comprise of PPE Kits, masks, and healthcare apparels and details are as follows-

  • PPE kits comprise of anti-microbial reusable coveralls customised for being waterproof and stain repellent,  disposable coveralls (non-woven polypropylene fibre) which are dust-proof, fluid and blood resistant,   3-ply face masks,  nitrile gloves, shoe covers, face shields, goggles and much more
  • Specifically for masks, they are available as an anti-microbial reusable mask made of 100 per cent cotton fabrics, which are fluid repellent, odourless, anti-fungal in nature, disposable 3-ply non-woven masks, made out of ultra-fine fibre which is fluid-resistant in nature

Pioneering in innovation, these brands have extended their product range by bringing in anti-viral and anti-microbial reusable and disposable healthcare apparels – Reusable apparels constitute of scrubs, lab-coats, caps, aprons and gowns made of poly cotton & poly viscose and 100 per cent polyester with a fluid-repellent finish, disposable category comprises of caps, shoe covers and aprons.

Apart from the range above, the NEO TECH Research & Development laboratory is constantly working on new products and innovations which will be rolled out in due course of time.

Rahul Agarwal, Director – Donear said, “While the country is grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic and the front line warriors are taking the centre stage, it’s our responsibility to contribute and protect them. In doing so, we have successfully extended our product offerings for NABL certified NEO TECH®  range of protective gear inclusive of PPE kits, masks and apparels for healthcare, police, defence, municipal workers amongst others. We endeavour to provide our civilians and frontline warriors with the best quality protective gear while keeping them safe and sound and meet the evolving needs of tomorrow.”

India Circus by Krsnaa Mehta and Pratham

India Circus by Krsnaa Mehta – a Godrej Venture, is an omnichannel made-in-India retail brand offering home decor solutions, interior and fashion utilities, that has joined hands with Pratham, an NGO that works towards the provision of quality education to the underprivileged children in India. Pratham has interventions spread across 23 States and Union Territories of India and supporting chapters in Europe and Australia. India Circus has recently launched an entire collection of reusable face masks in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and is doing their best to ensure it reaches all those in need. These masks are not only a coverage piece but also have kept one’s hygiene check-in place and hence, have exhibited 99.66 per cent bacterial filtration efficiency when analysed as per ASTM: F 2101-19 standard.

India Circus will be donating over 1500 masks to Pratham for them to distribute amongst all those that are a part of their charitable trust. In addition to donating masks, India Circus will also be donating 15 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of these masks to Pratham.

Tapping into the utilities hygiene and wellness segment was the priority of the brand and hence, came the face masks. Face masks, made of cotton blend purely sustainable causing no harm to nature and to the wearer at an absolute cost-effective price is what India Circus ensured on providing. Also, since it is fabric-made it is not only reusable but also turns out to be a comfort piece without getting a feeling of being choked up. But lastly, and mission-wise – firstly, India Circus has placed their association with Pratham NGO at the peak of its map.

Krsnaa Mehta, Founder & Executive Director at India Circus – A Godrej Venture, quotes, “Addressing a right cause at the right time is what makes a brand. And what is a brand that only delivers to meeting customer demands but not addressing the needs of the society? Hence, to bridge the gap between a demand and a need due to this COVID-19, the launch of the face masks came into being and taking it further with Pratham, we at Godrej continue maintaining our social responsibility in every way we can.”

SIF’s #GiftASong

Fronted by local music veteran and the SIF’s Citizen Ambassador – Clement Chow, this initiative has commissioned 15 homegrown musicians in Singapore to perform and record their renditions of requested songs from their homes. Participating artists include Alemay Fernandez, Alexandra Hsieh, Benjamin Chow, Beverly Morata Graffon, Christiane Mikaela, Izat Ibrahim, Jordin Tan, Kexin Tay, Lisa Haryono, Mathilda D’Silva, Michelle Poh, Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai, Syah Riszuan and Wayne Sandosham.

As part of the second phase of the initiative, members of the public are encouraged to send in their dedications via the SIF website – www.sif.org.sg/giftasong – from May 26, 2020, to someone they know – whether in Singapore or overseas – who is in need of cheer. Dedications from one country to another are highly encouraged. Shortlisted dedications will be recorded and sent to the requesters and recipients via email. Selected videos will also be posted on the SIF’s social media channels from 18 June 2020.

The first batch of dedications was made by the SIF’s community of Citizen Ambassadors and international partners and friends from Singapore, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and the US. Accompanied by messages of encouragement, these gifts of songs in various languages have been dedicated to their friends locally and abroad, including unsung heroes and frontline fighters. Video recordings of the performances and dedications – which have reached more than 3 million users – have been uploaded to the SIF’s YouTube channel and other social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram.

Jean Tan, Executive Director, SIF said, “Music can warm the heart, lift the soul and heal. We all know someone who is fighting COVID-19, facing economic hardship or just in need of cheer. Two of my friends were in ICU and I struggled with how to cheer them on which inspired this idea. We can spread the message of positivity and solidarity even as we battle the pandemic. Indeed, it has been encouraging to see Singaporeans and world communities come together to encourage one another through the Gift A Song Project. This project has also enabled SIF to support our local arts community in challenging times.”

“The beauty of music is that it feeds the soul and is without borders. It creates an outlet for people to express themselves and through that harness the healing powers of music in reconnecting with our loved ones, especially amid social distancing measures,” said Singaporean artist Clement Chow. “I’m heartened by the dedications that have come through and the positive responses garnered online in support for this project and the community.”

India-based Sathish Raman from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) had requested for “Heal the World”, dedicated to the health fraternity in India. “I am grateful for this opportunity from the SIF and it is heart-warming to see such an initiative from Singapore that spreads cheer around the region in a time where positivity is much needed. Wayne had performed a beautiful rendition of the song and I hope that it was able to cheer the healthcare professionals on.”

The Gift A Song Project is part of the SIF’s Arts for Good initiative to galvanise community involvement and harness the power of the arts for positive social change, particularly in enabling livelihood and fostering inclusive communities.

SIF’s #GiftASong Trailer Video: www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1491601294335427