With You, We Are, As You Were: Year-long Relief Campaign by Alumni for Pandemic Affected Temporary Workers

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  • IIT Kharagpur Foundation USA launched the fundraising campaign from alumni in USA, India and rest of the world in April 2020 and it is ongoing
  • IIT Kharagpur has been organizing regular camps for the distribution of relief materials funded by the alumni benefitting over a half a lakh people
  • Temporary workers (including laundry cleaners, domestic helps, temporary hostel workers, rickshaw pullers etc.) and other economically affected poor people who are dependent on the IIT Kharagpur campus for their livelihood were provided relief materials

IIT Kharagpur has reached the milestone of the first anniversary of the relief campaign which the Institute of Eminence has been running for people from the lowest rungs of the society who were economically affected due to COVID-19. Over this one year, the Institute and its alumni through the IIT Kharagpur Foundation USA have supported more than half a lakh people residing in villages around the campus and were dependent on the campus for their livelihood.

Considering the employment quandary faced by various temporary workers in April 2020, the Institute and the Foundation launched the first-of-its-kind public outreach campaign by a higher educational institution. The campaign was inspired by distinguished alumnus and philanthropist Dr. Vinod Gupta who made significant contributions towards the campaign along with Foundation President Ranbir (Ron) Gupta, Arjun Malhotra, R N Mukhija, Rakesh Gupta along with close to fifteen hundred alumni from across the globe playing the good samaritan for the affected people.

Talking about the campaign Ron Gupta said, “We felt particularly concerned about the non-salaried people living around the IIT Kharagpur campus. At the IIT Kharagpur Foundation USA, we raised about five hundred thousand dollars to help more than ten thousand workers with food supplies and even cash in some instances so that they could survive the pandemic. We truly appreciate the leadership at IIT Kharagpur. We Kgpians are what we are due to IIT Kharagpur and these workers like ward boys, rickshaw pullers played a very important role during our education.”

During the year-long course of this initiative, many alumni had shared heartwarming stories about the temporary workers; everyone seemed to have a memory of a time that they were helped out by the workers and these stories were never a struggle to remember.  They could recall them like they happened yesterday.

A statement shared by the IIT Kharagpur Foundation USA mentions, “Even alumni who may not have been normally involved in the past were keen to help out how they could. A real sense of community could be observed. Everyone coming together to help the greater good, those that had helped them during their formative years and their time at IIT Kharagpur.”

While IIT Kharagpur Foundation USA managed the fundraising campaign to support about 10500 needy workers and their families, IIT Kharagpur led the humongous logistics to distribute relief materials. The relief recipients included daily wagers, ward boys in halls, dhobi, small tea shops, rickshaw pullers, domestic help, construction workers, etc. The Institute also supported the sellers of perishable items who suffered losses after a fire incident last summer.

“Our self-interests are best served when we serve them in the spirit of pluralism. As we talk of these people being dependent on the campus, the campus also depends on them, they are part of our fraternity. It is vital for us to support every member of our fraternity in whatsoever way we can. It only makes our lives better in the long run. I am thankful to my fellow Kgpians whose altruism has made this initiative possible along with the relentless service of every emergency worker at IIT Kharagpur,” said Director Prof. V K Tewari.

The next phase of distribution is scheduled in May. Considering the increasing spread of the pandemic, the affected community earnestly looks forward to the support provided under the IIT Kharagpur COVID-19 Alumni Relief Campaign while the Institute and the Foundation continue to reach out to the alumni worldwide.

About IIT Kharagpur Foundation USA:

The IITKGP Foundation, USA is tax-exempt [Under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) in the United State of America] non-governmental organization set up by the alumni of IIT Kharagpur in the USA in 2002 to oversee alumni related matters such as fundraising, networking, outreach etc. The Foundation raises funds for various activities at IIT Kharagpur each year as well as helps promote the news, achievements and activities of the Institute. The Foundation has a reach of close 25000 alumni and is instrumental in engaging these alumni through various campaigns and newsletter. IITKGP Foundation, USA is headed by Ranbir (Ron) Gupta at present. For more information please visit: https://www.iitkgpfoundation.org

For more information contact: Erin L. Moran, Executive Director, IIT Kharagpur Foundation USA, Email: emoran@iitkgpfoundation.org

Press Contactmedia@iitkgp.ac.in

Follow us on social media: Facebook / Twitter: @IITKgp    Instagram: @iit.kgp

Authored by: Erin Moran, IITKGP Foundation USA, Sanjeev Kumar, Office of Alumni Affairs, Shreyoshi Ghosh, Executive Officer, IIT Kharagpur

Photo courtesy: Arnab Moitra

By Poulami Mondal

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