Stronger Together. We Shall Overcome

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Amidst the growing uncertainty due to the pandemic, communities are left feeling nervous and unsure of the future. The medical fraternity has been deeply overburdened and is deeply stressed by the shortage of safety kits to protect them while treating COVID patients. Millions around the country are left in the lurch due to the lockdown. The future suddenly looks uncertain. But despite all these challenges and uncertainties, people are uniting to help those most affected by the problems arising from the pandemic. It is only when we are united that we can overcome this latest crisis. 

DBS Bank India
DBS Bank India has committed to providing two million meals to the underprivileged affected by the pandemic, in partnership with organisations such as The Akshaya Patra Foundation, United Way Mumbai, Pratham Mumbai Education Initiative, Goonj, and Ola Foundation.

To support the Government’s efforts in bolstering healthcare delivery, DBS is partnering with United Way Mumbai, and others to provide ventilators, medical supplies and equipment, and sponsor-free testing for the underprivileged.

As COVID-19 has impacted a large population of daily wage earners. DBS Bank India is also encouraging customers and employees to support these hard-hit sections of the society through a donation drive with The Akshaya Patra Foundation and United Way Mumbai respectively. For every donation made, the bank is making a matching contribution of double the amount, thereby tripling the impact.

The initiatives are a part of ‘DBS Stronger Together’, a global initiative by the bank. DBS has committed SGD 10.5 million to help sections of the society that are hard hit by COVID-19 across the region. Through the ‘DBS Stronger Together Fund’, the bank will provide about 4.5 million meals and care packs to affected individuals across Singapore, Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia, and Taiwan. 

Surojit Shome, CEO and Managing Director, DBS Bank India said, “DBS has always been committed to making meaningful and valuable contributions to society. The pandemic has impacted lives and livelihoods, resulting in critical challenges. We have joined the nation’s fight against COVID-19 and are helping with meals, essential supplies, and testing for those in need, as well as medical equipment and PPE for hospitals. We thank our customers and employees for standing in solidarity with us and contributing to these efforts. We will continue to extend support to underserved communities and healthcare workers during these unprecedented times.”

The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s Chief Marketing Officer, Sundeep Talwar said “Recognising the current hardships, Akshaya Patra temporarily repurposed its kitchen infrastructure from serving mid-day meals to school kids to prepare and distribute cooked meals and dry grocery boxes to local community groups, supporting migrant labour and daily wage earners whose livelihood was disrupted by the COVID-19 driven national lockdown. We are extremely grateful to DBS and their customers for their generous contribution.”

Jayanti Shukla, CEO, United Way Mumbai, said, “In the fight against COVID-19, we have witnessed the collective power of the community to protect our healthcare workers, support underprivileged families and build community resilience. We thank DBS and its dedicated team for partnering with us. The initiative will help us achieve a greater impact as the bank pledges to double every donation.”

Huntsman
Huntsman, the global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals, pledged its support to fight COVID-19 through the supply of grocery (ration) kits for migrant workers and protective gear for health care personnel in Baroda.

Huntsman joined hands with social development advisory firm, Fulcrum, to identify and assess critical areas amidst the current outbreak in order to support and take necessary action. The assessment revealed that over 200 families of migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were stuck in two villages in Gujarat, Luna and Umraya, facing a dearth of basic necessities such as daily meals. Huntsman thereby provided 253 ration kits sufficient for 1012 migrant workers.

Moreover, there was a limited supply of N95 masks and other PPE for healthcare personnel at GMERS Medical College & Hospital, a dedicated COVID-19 hospital in Baroda. Citing the increasing number of cases, the situation was an extremely difficult one to work in, thereby putting the lives of the personnel at risk. Huntsman helped these warriors with 525 N95 masks and 50 PPE kits so that they could continue to work while being safe.

Commenting on the initiative, Rayomand Sabawalla, Head – CSR Committee, India Subcontinent, Huntsman Corporation, said, “Today, we find ourselves in the midst of one of the greatest challenges known to humanity. At Huntsman, community well-being has, and always will be a key priority. In these trying times, we hope that our contribution will help protect the lives of healthcare workers, while also assisting migrant workers with their basic needs. We thank Fulcrum for having supported us through this initiative and look forward to doing our bit for the community in the fight against this pandemic.”

TVS Motor Company
TVS Motor Company handed over 3,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and 10,000 N95 masks to the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Shri B.S. Yediyurappa, as a part of their proactive measures undertaken to support the Government in their sustained efforts towards containment of COVID-19. The Company has also, on a regular basis, distributed face masks, disposable hand gloves, packed meals for essential care workers including police personnel, healthcare workers and migrants in Bengaluru. TVS Motor has also deployed vehicles with disinfectants to prevent the spread of the virus in the outskirts of Bengaluru.

Bridgestone India
Bridgestone is globally committed to being a welcome neighbour and the cornerstone of its commitment to society evolves from the core values of “Our Way to Serve”. In line with these values, Bridgestone India undertook initiatives to lessen the hardships of those impacted by the coronavirus. It reached out to hospitals, stranded migrant labours and stranded truck drivers in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand covering major industrial cities such as Pune, Indore, Dhar, Nanded, Aurangabad, Ranchi, Mumbai.

The Company has reached out to hospitals from rural to urban areas in Pune, Indore and Dhar by supplying over 10,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including 7820 complete sets. Through its relief work, it has fed approximately 1,65,000 meals to the stranded migrant workers and provided 3,744 truckers with emergency survival kits inclusive of grocery and personal safety items and hygiene products for 15 days.

“Bridgestone India is committed to supporting the emergency need of society. Providing Personal Protective Equipment for medical and paramedical staff is the dire need of the hour. Also, migrant workers and stranded truckers in various parts of the country are in need of urgent attention. Providing life-saving kits to these communities can ensure their safety. We are trying to reach the people through various efforts and it is our way to serve,” said Parag Satpute Managing Director, Bridgestone India. 

The entire relief work was planned by Bridgestone India’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team in collaboration with Rotary Club of Pune and Samaan Social Development Society, Indore.

In response to a call by Mahratta Chambers of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) to help their Pune Platform COVID-19 response team, Bridgestone India has also contributed Rs 50 Lakhs which will be used for relief operations in and around Pune.

KFC India
KFC India today announced, that it has pledged to donate at least one million meals to help communities in need during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. These meals will be provided to migrant workers and daily wage earners struggling to earn a livelihood and afford meals during the extended lockdown. Supported by the Yum! Foundation, KFC India will be funding these meals.

“Giving back is one of KFC’s core values. As a nation, we are all working collectively to flatten the COVID-19 curve; at the same time, there are many in our communities who are adversely impacted because of the ongoing lockdown. They are grappling with limited or no access to essential items, including food, for their families. As individuals and Corporates, we have an opportunity to make a positive difference in their lives and provide access to nutritious food. We are all together in this fight against COVID-19 and I have faith that we will come through stronger and better,” said Samir Menon, Managing Director, KFC India.

KFC has partnered with ResponseNet to work with impacted communities in need across Delhi, Assam, Bangalore, Mumbai, Jharkhand and other States. ResponseNet will be disseminating kits of essential food and necessity items as rice, flour, pulses, cooking oil, spices, etc. in the identified regions.

KFC India has also made the following commitments to support its people and communities during the ongoing pandemic.

Thanking frontline warriors – Healthcare workers: KFC is committed to serving more than 10,000 thank you KFC meals to healthcare workers at hospitals across Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

Employee well-being: Yum! Brands Foundation has set up the Global Employee Medical Relief Fund, to provide financial support for KFC team members at company and franchise-owned restaurants all across the world, who may be diagnosed with or who are caring for someone diagnosed with COVID-19. 

JV Krishna Maruti
To ensure the safety of Corona Warriors of the Haryana Government, Maruti Suzuki Joint Venture M/s Krishna Maruti has handed over the first batch of two lakh units of triple-ply face masks to the Gurugram Administration. As part of a CSR initiative, the face masks were handed over to Amit Khatri, IAS, District Magistrate, Gurugram and V.S Kundu ACS Haryana & CEO GMDA by Ram Natarajan, ED & CEO, on behalf of Ashok Kapur, Chairman Krishna Group, in the presence of Rajiv Gandhi, Member Executive Board, Maruti Suzuki.

In end-March 2020, Maruti Suzuki got a request from the Haryana and Central Government if it could use its production infrastructure in developing and producing protective face masks in large numbers in the fight against COVID-19. The manufacturing of a car uses a vast number of materials, production processes and technologies across its value chain. With this confidence and without any knowledge of the product test specifications, Chairman R.C Bhargava in a phone call with JV partner Ashok Kapur committed to develop and produce triple-ply face masks. After intensive work by engineers of Maruti Suzuki and Krishna Group with almost hourly monitoring by Maruti Suzuki management and active support by the Department of Textiles, Government of India the mask was finally approved by SITRA laboratory. Before handing over, a few days of mass production was undertaken to gain confidence in the manufacturing set-up.

Speaking on the initiative, Ashok Kapur, Chairman, Krishna Group said “It is a time of national crisis and this is our duty to the nation. We have committed one million masks each to Haryana and Gujarat Governments. I am also planning to import some machines and produce N-95 masks. All important safety and physical distancing guidelines have been observed while manufacturing these masks to ensure the safety of all the staff.”

Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director & CEO, Maruti Suzuki India, said, “We had committed to support the Government with protective gear and masks even though the test specifications and process technology were not known. My message to all our teams are – some doctor, some nurse will be depending upon our product, so please give top priority to quality and performance testing. Mr Kapur and his team have been successful. ”

Amit Khatri, IAS, District Magistrate, Gurugram, said, “My compliments to Maruti Suzuki and Krishna Maruti for this very timely assistance which will come very handy not just for Gurugram but for the entire State in this time of crisis.”

Intuit QuickBooks and Milaap

Intuit QuickBooks today announced the launch of the Small Business Relief Initiative, in collaboration with Milaap, to help small and micro businesses in India to raise money to tackle the challenges arising from the COVID-19 lockdown. Intuit’s QuickBooks Online is the world’s leading financial management solution for small businesses and accountants.

The Small Business Relief Initiative aims to raise funds for small and micro-businesses that are facing difficulties in paying employee salaries and in covering business expenses due to COVID-19. India has around 6.4 crore MSMEs that contribute to 29 per cent of the GDP and employs 11.1 crore people. (Source)

As the COVID-19 induced lockdown continues, most of the small and micro businesses in the country are struggling to survive mainly due to cash flow problems. The Small Business Relief Initiative brings together Milaap’s crowdfunding platform with Intuit QuickBooks’ expertise, to provide local businesses with the resources and tools they require to start a crowdfunding campaign in a few clicks, via the Milaap platform where qualifying businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 can raise micro-grants to meet essential business expenses.

Talking about the programme, Aditi Puri Batra, Country Manager, Intuit QuickBooks India, said, “Small and micro businesses play an important role in the larger supply chain and thus their health is imperative to kick-start the industry when the lockdown eases. While the Government of India and Reserve Bank of India have taken multiple steps to address the liquidity crunch faced by these businesses, there is a need for more programmes that can put cash into their hands as not every one of them may have access to lending. We are hopeful our initiative fills that gap and empowers these small and micro-businesses that are also a crucial source of employment for millions of people in the country.”

Intuit QuickBooks India is also fundraising by enabling its employees in India to donate funds to a small and micro business of their choice on Milaap’s platform and creating awareness about the initiative across its small business network and associated brand channels.

Regarding this initiative, Mayukh Choudhury, CEO and co-founder, Milaap said, “Small and micro businesses are a lifeline for countless communities. Over the last decade, Milaap has supported over 1.5 lakh micro and small businesses. An immediate financial stimulus, for these vulnerable businesses, is the need of the hour. Such a stimulus will address not only the availability of goods across local areas but also the sustenance of employment across the economy.” 

How the Small Business Relief Initiative works:
Intuit QuickBooks India Small Business help site: Intuit QuickBooks is providing its network of small businesses with a resources and tools site that enables businesses to start their own fundraiser or support an existing one. From there, small businesses can share their story on Milaap and request help covering employee-related and business expenses. Then everyone – friends, family, neighbours, companies – can all search the Small Business Relief Initiative site to find small businesses in need and donate directly to them. 

Milaap.org Small Business Relief Fund: Milaap.org, India’s largest crowdfunding platform for medical emergencies and social causes, has launched the Small Business Relief Initiative where people can donate to support the overall initiative. Donors in India will be able to donate towards a business of their choice on the Milaap platform.

The Small Business Relief Initiative in India follows a similar program Gofundme launched by Intuit QuickBooks in the US in partnership with Gofundme. 

Asian Paints
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented in itself an unprecedented challenge for the economy as it changes lives and livelihood for many. The current crisis makes things even more difficult for painters and contractors since a vast majority of them are daily wage earners. To help them during these turbulent times, Asian Paints has taken certain measures to ensure their safety and welfare.

Asian Paints has transferred money directly to the contractors’ bank accounts through a Direct Bank Transfer mechanism. This was done in the first week of April 2020 and has benefited more than 40,000 contractors across the country. Additionally, Asian Paints has also started a helpline for contractors that’ll provide basic information about the COVID-19 virus and precautions which can be taken to reduce chances of transmission. The helpline will be available at all times to respond to any queries around the same. There is also an effort to reach out to the community through the NGO’s to look at providing masks and sanitisers so that the painter/contractor community is equipped to fight the pandemic.

Elaborating more on this drive, Amit Syngle, CEO and MD, Asian Paints Limited said, “Contractors have always been a key stakeholder for Asian Paints. The Direct Bank Transfer drive has significantly helped the contractors and their families meet their immediate and essential family needs in these testing times. We stand committed to the safety of our applicators. We would also like to thank our contractors for their unflinching support to Asian Paints and would urge them to stay indoors and stay safe.”

MG Motor India
Further extending its helping hand during the COVID-19 crisis, MG Motor India is providing 100 MG HECTORs to doctors, medical staff, police and local government officials for community service across the country, till the end of May 2020. MG Motor UK has also committed to providing 100 MG ZS EVs to the NHS agencies throughout the UK to fight COVID-19 Pandemic.

In India, the carmaker will provide 100 HECTORs free-of-cost to support the national effort to overcome COVID-19. All the cars would be provided along with fuel and drivers and will be used to ensure that the key stakeholders in this crisis, such as doctors, medical staff, police and local government authorities can travel safely as the Indian government intensifies its battle against COVID-19. The cars will be supplied via MG’s nationwide network of dealers during the lockdown as per state government rules.

The carmaker will follow the recently introduced ‘MG Disinfect and Deliver’ process to deploy these 100 HECTORs for the national service.

MG Motor has been offering support to communities during the current pandemic situation. The carmaker has donated ventilators and distributed health and hygiene kits, PPE kits, surgical masks, gloves, sanitisers, sanitiser sprayers, food and ration kits to combat the coronavirus threat.

Dalmia Cement
Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited, India’s leading cement company for over eight decades, has launched a digital engagement programme, ‘Dalmia Cares’ for its dealers and channel partners across the country. The programme offers cement dealers multiple ways to engage in social responsibility, wellness and family activities using digital and in-home/ near home activities.

Speaking about the launch, Ujjwal Batria, Chief Operating Officer, Dalmia Cement, said: “We have prided ourselves on being the first to market with various digital tools over the years. These tools help dealers make day to day business interactions easy, quick and cost-efficient. With the lockdown in force to overcome Covid19, we have launched several activities to keep morale up, help local communities and increase life satisfaction during this difficult time.”

Pramesh Arya, Executive Director- Marketing, Dalmia Cement, said: “Many of our dealers are community and business leaders, and have already undertaken a number of social activities in their local areas. With Dalmia Cares, we wanted to create a larger social movement, helping give shape to a more focused effort to help communities and families.”

The Dalmia Cares programme includes daily task-based activities, including showcasing hidden talents, fitness activities at home, culinary challenges, puzzles, feeding local communities, helping stray animals among others. Dealers completing these tasks earn reward points, which they can redeem against a range of exciting prizes, including gadgets and household appliances. Dealers were also encouraged to donate to the PM-CARES fund and other charitable organisations of their choice. These funds raised by Dalmia Cement dealers are in addition to the Rs 25 Crore and Rs 1.6 Crore donated by Dalmia Bharat Group, and its employees respectively.

Rotary Club of  Mumbai – Queen’s Necklace
Rotary Club of Mumbai Queen’s Necklace (The Club) has reached to over 1.6 lakh meals per day across Mumbai during the COVID-19 lockdown. The initiative named “Feed All In Need” aims to help the vulnerable population of the city such as migrants, daily wage earners and homeless people. The Club members have been working tirelessly to reach out for donations and have successfully raised INR Six Crore over a one-month period. Additionally, they have also managed to get “in-kind donations” of nearly INR 2.5 Crore.

“The Rotary Club of Mumbai Queen’s Necklace is extremely humbled by the massive support we have received from all our donors and volunteers to make the ‘Feed All In Need’ initiative such a success,” says Rtn. Sanjiv Mehta, Past President – Rotary Club Of Mumbai Queen’s Necklace. “Kudos to the committee members, who without any past relevant experience, have managed spices, veggies and grain sourcing, up to 11 kitchens planning, quality of the product, product mix location wise and coordination on the ground, seamlessly.”

The meals that have been arranged include dal khichdi, other rice items, pav bhaji and vada pav. What started off as an initiative to provide 1,000 meals per day has, today, remarkably grown to exceed 1.6 lakh distributions per day.

The Club has partnered with several organisations and HNIs who have supported the initiative under CSR or from personal trusts. Piramal Foundation has been a strong supporter by bringing on other huge organizations to support this initiative, such as Reliance Foundation, A.T.E. Chandra Foundation and HSBC. Reliance Foundation is the largest contributor and has sponsored all the groceries for the three Annamrita kitchens.

Annamrita Foundation – ISKCON has allotted capacity of 90,000 meals per day to the programme. Other kitchen partners include TajSats, Thackers, Popular Caterers, Tha’l Co, Blue Sea and Foodlink Banquets & Catering and others.

NGO partners with specific experience in calamity distribution, local MLAs, councillors, social workers and large-hearted volunteers have offered last-mile delivery capabilities. Delivering cooked meals to migrant camps, slum dwellers, street shanties and in-transit migrants is made possible by a team of over 200 volunteers. Some of the NGO partners include Giants International, YMCA, Art of Living, Chhoti Si Asha and NESH52.

Starting May 1, the Club also plans to distribute food grain kits, in addition to the cooked meals they provide. The aim is to distribute 30,000 kits to the marginalised communities such as ragpickers, transgenders, Dabbawallas and others. The kits will include essential food ingredients such as rice, wheat, tur dal, cooking oil, sugar, turmeric, chilli powder, salt and tea that amount to INR 1,000. Each kit feeds a family of 4 for 15 days.