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Thank You, Donors For Helping Rebuild Lives Of Migrant Workers: Over Rs. 15 Crore Raised And Still Counting

Thank You, Donors For Helping Rebuild Lives Of Migrant Workers: Over Rs. 15 Crore Raised And Still Counting

The Coronavirus induced lockdown has impacted the lives and livelihoods of people across sectors but migrant communities who usually live hand to mouth have been impacted the worst. Around 40 million migrant daily-waged workers have been hit hard by COVID-19 induced economic distress, lockdowns, travel bans and social distancing requirements. Though Unlock 1, easing of lockdown has begun, migrants who have gone back home enduring unprecedented ordeals face the risk of hunger, indebtedness and prolonged unemployment. Migrants and their families require both immediate relief and long term support so as to rebuild their lives.

In an attempt to rebuild lives of migrant communities, the American India Foundation (AIF) in partnership with NDTV has initiated Rebuilding Lives, an action-oriented campaign. As part of the campaign, a two-hour special telethon was organised to raise funds to help migrants.

The money raised through the campaign will be used for emergency relief that is addressing the immediate needs of migrants through food, hygiene essentials/unconditional money transfers; providing skills to migrants so that they gain livelihood; public health; education especially for young girls and adolescents.

Experts and celebrities from different parts of the world joined the telethon and showed their support to the campaign. Gary Norcross, Chairman, President and CEO of Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) donated Rs. 75 lakh and said,

More than a third of our population of more than 55,000 employees are based in India. And as we look at the global pandemic of COVID-19, it's really our duty at FIS, we feel, to give back to the communities that we operate in and service our great company every day. So, we are just thrilled to be a part of this great initiative and really making a difference in India.

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Further talking about what motivated FIS to come forward with a generous donation, Mr Norcross said,

At FIS, we drive the critical infrastructure of financial services so we are very focused on the way the world pays, banks and invests. We want to be able to get people back to work. We want to be able to get the economies back open and moving and so it's been very important for us. The focus is not only on our people internally but the communities in which we worked in, which is why today I'm very proud to be a part of this fund raising.

While signing off, Mr Norcross urged the viewers to step up, donate for the cause and make a difference in the communities all throughout India.

Lata Krishnan, co-founder and co-chair, American India Foundation also participated in the live telethon and contributed Rs. 37.5 lakh. Talking about what motivated her to support the cause of rebuilding the lives of migrant communities, Ms Krishnan said,

The migrants of which there are many millions in India are some of the most deprived communities in India. They live a hard life. Their lives are uncertain and usually getting out of this plight is practically impossible. So, we just feel it very strongly that we need to educate their children, empower their livelihoods so that they too can prosper and get to a better place for their children. Isn't that we all want, a better world for our children? We too are migrants of sorts; we chose to move for better prospects for our family but we had the education and could make those choices. We need to rehabilitate these important lives who are often forgotten by our society.

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Ms Krishnan also saluted all the individuals and co-operations who have gone out of their way to help migrants in these trying times and requested the viewers to lend a helping hand. She said,

I think that we as a community need to rise and support the underprivileged. This both is responsibility and our privilege. And just because we are living abroad doesn't mean that we are not here for you. We are here for you and we are trying to do our best to help, support these rehabilitation efforts.

Manu Shah, CEO, MS International talked about the need to educate and train workers, especially in rural areas and small towns. Stressing on the need for education, Mr Shah said,

India's per capita income cannot increase unless the central and local governments, industries and skill organisations work together to improve education and training for blue-collared work. We believe that over 500 million people can be uplifted, meaningful changes can be made, and other countries can be given competition if India can become both a blue-collared and white-collared powerhouse in the world.

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Supporting AIF and NDTV in its initiative to support migrants, Mr Shah also donated Rs. 2.25 crore and encouraged everyone to come forward and do their part of giving.

Anand Ramamoorthy, Managing Director, Micron India, participated in the #RebuildingLives telethon and talked about serving the nation and its people during a pandemic. Mr Ramamoorthy touched upon the work done by Micron that was focused on addressing almost all aspects of this pandemic. Elaborating on the same, Mr Ramamoorthy said,

India was a significant beneficiary in the strategic site of Micron. Significant beneficiaries have been working tirelessly for the last couple of months, especially in the areas of food, healthcare, education and skilling. We feel very obligated to help the migrant challenges that have come up more recently. A lot of IT infrastructures that we are all so proud of, has been built by these faceless, nameless migrant labourers. Now, it's the time for us as a community as responsible multinationals to walk the talk and do whatever we can.

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Mr Ramamoorthy broke open his bank account and donated over Rs. 90 lakh (93,75,000) for migrants affected by the COVID-19 on behalf of Micron and Micron India. Further talking about the donation made by Micron, Mr Ramamoorthy elaborated on the use of the funds in short-term, mid-term and long- term and said,

Short-term issues are really focused on hunger, there is also a transport option that is to be provided to people shuttling between their native towns and the areas of work. We are also going to be working with the American India Foundation to focus on long-term scaling; making sure that people can find an affordable place and start working again. And, someday I hope this is all over and this is a distant memory. We can all feel very happy and satisfied that we all came together as communities, as neighbours, as collaborators and were able to address what has been a global pandemic of the highest order.

Vivek and Vandana Sharma, Boston based philanthropists joined the #RebuildingLives campaign and pledged to support 10,000 girls. Talking about the reason behind focusing on girls, Ms Sharma said,

They are the future of our country. We have a 13-year-old daughter and I can see and feel the needs of these girls who are living with limited resources. These are formative years of development and through these integrated programs we want to see them doing well in education, health, hygiene and skill development so they can become strong individuals and stronger citizens of India with all the opportunities to become independent girls and young ladies.

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Mr Sharma talked about the sacrifices made by migrant communities – leaving their homes, families and villages, so as to earn a living for themselves. He also stressed on the contribution of migrants to the growth of the society and requested the people to give back to these migrants. He said,

These are challenging times, challenging for everyone we understand that. But at the same time, we all can contribute to those who really need desperate help and every single penny counts at this time. So, please help.

Harit Talwar Co-Chair, American India Foundation and his wife Reena Talwar also joined the telethon and talked about why India and the well being of people matter to them as someone who is so well established in the USA. Ms Talwar said,

We cannot ignore the fact that India has got such deep-rooted structural poverty. There is so much inequality in India and I think what AIF is doing is amazing work. What we are doing is not just trying to put a band-aid on their problems but we are trying to uplift the communities with education and health reforms.

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Talwar's pledged to match the next donation of Rs. 37.5 lakh and help the campaign in making a larger impact. Mr Talwar also hoped for better days to come and said, 

We shall use this as an opportunity for reflection and opportunity for galvanizing ourselves, an opportunity for further accelerating the sustainable change that we want to bring about in our societies. This will happen by each one of us taking the responsibility of doing something ourselves.

At #RebuidlingLives telethon, one of the biggest donations for migrants came from BlackRock, an investment management company. Pravin Goel, Managing Director and Country Head, BlackRock joined the telethon and donated Rs. 3.75 crore. Talking about the donation and urging people to step up for the noble deed, Mr Goel said,

The need of the hour is to quickly shift our thinking from cause orientation to response orientation and have a huge bias towards positive responsible action. I also want to urge everyone in the audience today to come forward and pay forward if you can and thank everyone who already has. Like they say, success comes in cans not in can'ts.

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Earlier in March, the company had donated a hefty amount for COVID-19 relief efforts globally; focused on providing food to people in need and supporting frontline health workers; rebuilding the lost livelihood that this pandemic has brought about.

Along with this, people from all walks of life chipped in and backed the campaign. Someone has rightly said, every penny counts and hence a big thank you to all those who have made a difference.

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Adopt a Silai School

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Do you want to be a part of the huge change that Usha Silai School is bringing about in the lives of millions of rural women? With just a simple click of a button, you can now contribute towards the opening of an Usha Silai School or support various other aspects of the school.

About the Initiative

About the Initiative

Kushalta Ke Kadam, an initiative by NDTV and USHA, aims at empowering women from rural India and encourages them to become entrepreneurs by taking up sewing and training others in their respective communities. Since 2011 Usha Silai Campaign has trained more than 3.95 lakh rural women within five years, with 17,000 Silai schools, spanning over 9272 Indian villages in India.

 

Kushalta Ke Kadam in Season 4 has returned with new goals and vision. The new season will witness the establishment of the new cluster in Kashmir, apart from the existing four clusters setup last year. The women from volatile Kashmir will work with well-known fashion designer Rohit Bal and get an unique opportunity to learn from him and make clothes for him. The work done by the Silai School women will be presented at Lakme Fashion week 2019.

 

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In Pics

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching
Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Rebari girls grow up learning traditional embroidery, which along with their new found sewing skills developed at Usha Silai Schools, is helping them earn a living.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School has empowered many rural women to support their family and send their children to school.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

The Usha Silai School, established in a small nondescript village that goes by the name of Kottai, is helping empower people from varied communities.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

The all-inclusive Usha Silai School Programme covers the entire nation from hamlets tucked between hills to villages cast by the sea.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Vegetables farmers from the Mizoram hills earn very little given the topography of the area. Usha Silai Schools have played an important part in this region by skilling women to financially contribute towards their households.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School learner Lucy has trained seven other women in her community, helping them to become financially independent.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Women like Kaviben from the nomadic Rebari community are finally laying down their roots as they begin to gain financial independence and thereby stability through Usha Silai School.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School, located in the Gujarat's Bhuj village, is enabling rural women to earn as much as Rs. 2,500-4,000 each month.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School, in association with a Gujarat based NGO called Kala Raksha, is trying to bring about a Silai revolution in Bhuj.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Besides training other women from their community, many Usha Silai School learners have become entrepreneurs in their own right.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

With sewing becoming easily accessible and lucrative, the silai schools are also helping revive traditional motifs and designs.

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