News Karnataka.com has reached a milestone by completing 25 episodes of ‘Amazing people’ series on July 23. The series has showcased more than 60 amazing people involved in various activities and having various talents, from across the globe.
This special episode featured three wonderful people who showed real humanity and are involved in the Project Smile through their Mercy Mission, Bengaluru. This body acts as a helping hand for the poor people during both the waves of the pandemic.
The programme was hosted by CA Valerian Dalmaida, Mentor, Spearhead Media Group with Rajesh Sequeira as the co-host. The three speakers in the discussion were Azmat Mohammed, programme manager in DXC Technolgies, Indian Team Powerlifter and volunteer on the field in the pandemic, Manvir Singh, Reseatvh & Development specialist in Nokia and volunteer on the field in the pandemic and Rahul George, Marketing and Communication professional based in Bengaluru.
Joining the mercy angels in their mission
During the first wave of the pandemic, I saw some videos of people dumping the dead bodies due to their stigma and fear of the disease and seeing that I had a calling and decided to join the Mercy Mission Angels. Through social media and my power lighting community, I called in for volunteers. We generated a pool of volunteers who started to work relentlessly from Day 1, handling 5 to 10 cases a day per ambulance. Day and night they have worked tirelessly.
Dedication of the Mercy Mission crew
The volunteers are not people who just come for few hours and then leave. The kind of crew we have here in Mercy Mission is really wonderful. They have bled with us and have been with us for every single case. No matter how tired they were, I have never heard a volunteer decline a case. What we saw on the grounds doesn’t let us stay back in the houses. We have lost people in front of us, holding our hands in the ambulances. What the ICU staff and the doctors go through in the hospitals, we have gone through that first hand.
22 NGOs are working together in Mercy Mission and Project Smile is one of them. All the services that we have, be it on the empowerment side, be it on the ration side, all the initiatives are predominately targeted towards the less fortunate. Initially it started off for like ration distribution. Then we realized there was a need for oxygen cylinders and we have about 1100 oxygen cylinders now. We also loaned ambulances for BHS hospital. Depending on the requirement of the pandemic, we as an NGO grew.
Support from big brands for Project Smile
With the onset of the Pandemic, many sponsors were looking for trusted partners with the eligibility to deliver and the ground reach. That is how Azim Premji Foundation (APPI) came in. Initially they gave us a certain amount of ration which was distributed. With the many sponsors that came in, Mercy mission had an organic growth. Once the sponsors are convinced that their money is bring put into actual use and that the vulnerable are being helped and being supported, they came back to us. In organization usually we have to teach people ethics and ethos but here people came in from various walks of life and just blended in perfectly.
I haven’t seen many media houses showcasing such initiatives that people are doing and I feel like what News Karnataka is doing is very wonderful.
Performing the last rites of a covid victim
A family had called us and asked to help cremate the body of their mother who passed away as they could not attend, being covid positive themselves. I did the final rites for her and like that I had become her son. I had never done something like this before and it was quite a challenge for me.
Good News and Positive news
Media should be the beacon of truth but it also sets a value system so it depends on how you report a news. If the media were to show a news in a negative light, just because they look down on that person, they are building an opinion. When you show something that builds a society, it becomes very critical. We live in an era of fake news and the question we often don’t ask is what is the agenda of fake news. News should challenge our core believes and challenge us to do better than before.
Voice of conscience to do something
I feel like I am a selfish person but at one point of time I felt like God was telling me to do something and after that I couldn’t turn back. There were times when I have prayed to God to not let someone I was carrying to pass away. So, I feel like God is my biggest encouragement and then I had a very good support from my wife and my father.
I am really glad that NK has this initiative where you try to bring out the best that is happening in your state.
Dignity in death
As a Human being, Dignity should be there regardless of the fact whether someone is dead or if someone is alive. The true sense of dignity is when someone is not watching and when someone is unaware of our act. But what went wrong last year during the pandemic was, on the field we saw that families were disowning their members. The strange thing is that we don’t know the deceased at all, we don’t even get to see their faces. I believe that we are serving the one true master which is God.
Volunteering with Project Smile
There are no criteria for joining as a volunteer. You can come as you are with whatever knowledge you have. I would say this is a learning experience and I got to learn how to install oxygen cylinders, to take care of patients, what all formalities are to be done while doing the last rites. All these things are part of the project you learn with project smile. As a person also you improve and your value system changes.
My expectation from News Karnataka is that you will show more good stories and initiatives from which people can draw inspiration from.