IIT Kharagpur has completed 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 the past 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, said a statement from the institute.
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.”
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 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.
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.”
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. VK Tewari. The next phase of distribution is scheduled in May.