Find out how purpose-driven organisations are increasingly blurring the lines between social issues and business. They are operating with social responsibility and making a positive contribution to society.
The young mother broke into a smile for the first time in weeks.
It wasn’t easy for Hemavathy to nurse a four-month-old baby. Not when her husband, a taxi driver and daily wage labourer, couldn’t earn amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Savings ran dry quickly, and life came to a standstill. But today was different.
With volunteers from Plan India in collaboration with Barclays India distributing food supplies in her neighbourhood, Hemavathy and many others, hardest hit by the crisis, breathed a sigh of relief.
Instances like these prove how purpose-driven organisations are increasingly blurring the lines between social issues and business. Essentially, they are operating with social responsibility and making a positive contribution to society.
LENDING A HELPING HAND
Barclays in India partnered with leading Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to step up its community efforts amid the crisis.
Barclays’ global £100m COVID-19 Community Aid Package was established to deliver support where it is needed the most. Through donations and matching colleague donations or fundraising efforts, the British universal bank contributed to a variety of emergency support efforts.
“Keeping our ears to the ground in terms of what is needed the most by communities, we endeavour to make a tangible impact on people’s lives. We are proud to work alongside incredibly inspiring organisations to support the individuals and families whose lives have been disrupted," says Ram Gopal, CEO of Barclays Bank Plc, India.
ENABLING ACCESS TO NUTRITIOUS FOOD
Much like Hemavathy’s family, nine-year-old Ritika Bhoya’s family was struggling to make ends meet. Ritika’s father, a daily wage worker in Dadra and Nagar Haveli, lost his only source of income. It was difficult for them to have even one square meal a day.
Hundreds of miles away, Saraswati Madan, a 20-year-old, high-risk pregnant woman from Amravati, Maharashtra, was facing a similar predicament. Housebound for months, her husband and father-in-law – both labourers at the local vegetable market – could not earn their wages. Malnourished and impoverished, Saraswati was worried about delivering an underweight baby.
Thanks to food relief kits provided by Barclays’ COVID-19 Community Aid Package partners, however, Ritika, Saraswati and hundreds of other families are in a better place today. With mid-day meals to school children, ready meals at migrant camps and dry grocery supplies provided to underprivileged communities, thousands of families can now eat healthy, nutritious food. Applauding their charity partners’ efforts in this regard, Praveen Kumar, Co-CEO, Barclays Global Service Centre, exclaims, "Through our charity partners, we have been able to extend a helping hand at the right time and support families across the country. We’re proud of our combined efforts in ensuring that the relief packages reach those in need."
TAKING CARE OF HEALTH AND HYGIENE
In addition to providing food, creating awareness on COVID-19 was another area of focus. Magic Bus India Foundation, one of Barclays’ COVID-19 Community Aid Package partners, engaged with hard-to-reach communities and supported them through workshops on recognising symptoms and seeking timely medical care.
Swati, a waste picker from Pune and a beneficiary of the efforts, says, "I was distraught when I could not go to work. I had to support my mother. Now, with PPE kits, food supplies and other essentials provided to me, I can feed my family and get back to work."
PROVIDING INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE SUPPORT
An inspiring tale of inclusion is that of Monika, a transwoman from Bihar who lives in Bawana J.J. colony in Delhi. She lives with her mother in a small rented house.
Monika used to earn up to Rs. 20,000 a month by dancing at weddings and other events. But things took a turn for the worse amid the lockdown. That’s when Plan India intervened and provided monthly ration and hygiene kits to Monika and her family.
Moved by the support, Monika says, "The fact that someone thought about our needs made us feel like we are a part of mainstream society. The acceptance and help gave us the emotional strength we needed to cope with the situation." Her friends around the country echo the sentiment.
GROWING STRONGER TOGETHER
Barclays’ efforts were supported wholeheartedly by its employees as they contributed to the cause. Recognising their earnest passion for the larger purpose, Barclays matched the funds they donated or raised.
“Over the last few months, our colleagues have dedicated their time, energy and resources to help those in need. We’re grateful for their commitment to accelerating our response efforts. We truly believe that as a community, this experience has made us stronger together," adds Uma R Krishnan, Co-CEO of Barclays Global Service Centre.
STEPPING UP EFFORTS FOR SOCIETAL GOOD
Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has been a defining humanitarian crisis of our times. Besides its unparalleled human toll, the pandemic’s impact on the socioeconomic fabric of society is a challenge that governments, businesses, NGOs, charities and other stakeholders must collectively address.
Barclays, built on its long-standing commitment towards communities, joined forces with charitable organisations. Together, they could amplify their collective efforts to extend a helping hand to those in need. They also contributed generously to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) set up by the Government of India, to provide relief to the people severely impacted by the
(*names of beneficiaries changed to protect their identities)
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