This group of volunteers is making sure that calamity-affected people get their lives back to normal as soon as possible. Providing woolens and essential supplies to the victims and rehabilitating them to better locations, these responsible samaritans are bringing positive changes in the lives of those affected by disasters.
“It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
These words ring true for Pranveer Singh Rathore. Pranveer, an Indian working in Korea, was shaken up by the Uttarakhand floods last year when he lost some close relatives to the wrath of mother nature. Since then, he decided to help the victims of natural calamities and became an integral part of Care Vectors.
After the fury of the floods ebbed, Pranveer took charge of fund raising. Why?
“An old woman up in the mountains in the chilly winters is desperate for rags or whatever she can get to cover her kids and herself. I couldn’t live with this thought. And to give you an idea of the scale of the disaster, there were at least a thousand such houses in Uttarakhand at that time. Flood rescue was done, relief reached, but the rebuilding of basics moved at snail’s pace. I wanted to reach out. So I talked to a few friends here in Korea and we started the collection drive,” Pranveer says.
Nature apparently was ready with another challenge. The floods in Kashmir earlier this year, and the carnage that ensued, were in some sense even more devastating than Uttarkhand. This time, Pranveer, along with a group of volunteers, formed Heal Kashmir to provide humanitarian aid.
Heal Kashmir is a volunteer-led initiative whose aim is to provide woolens to people who are devoid of homes and adequate shelter; to protect them from harsh winters. Heal Kashmir – Korea team , started a Project Warmth initiative to collect warm clothes from people in Korea , primarily Indian expats. When asked how he manages to keep up his motivation to face calamities year after year, this is what Pranveer had to say:
“J&K as we all know has the harshest of winters. People had lost everything in the floods, how would they get past this winter? This was my motivation to start a similar drive like the last year. It’s not about keeping the motivation year after year, its more about responding to the calls of desperate need.”
For this initiative, Pranveer called some of his friends and was pleasantly surprised with their response.
“Among the first to respond were people who made this their own campaign and owned it. They wanted to be volunteers and help as much as they could. I feel blessed to be able to call them friends. Super awesome guys – without them #ProjectWarmth would not have been what it is.”
Pranveer believes the real heroes of Project Warmth are the people who have contributed their 200 percent . Kuldeep Kasana , part of Heal Kashmir – Korea told us how the team divided the entire logistics work starting from picking clothes from donors’ homes to dropping them at the designated warehouse in sub modules.
Rashmi Gupta, an expat who has been living in Korea for the last 17 years was among the first who came forward. She spoke to Country Head, Air India who assured assistance to Heal Kashmir – Korea team for transporting the relief goods.
She was instrumental in organizing this wonder collection drive in Seoul.
Gouri Bhagwat collected clothes from her locality and handed it over to Pranveer. She told that she was able to spread awareness about Project Warmth through the post which her son, Sameer, wrote on a blog that explained about the project and the rationale behind it. And the response she got was phenomenal.
“My phone started buzzing with people asking for an appointment and for donating clothes. One of the ladies even donated cash towards the postage of the share of package. Furthermore, my apartment complex’s maintenance office not only offered their board room to store the collected clothes, but also actively participated in collecting and storing clothes while I was at work. While arranging the clothes to deliver, I noticed that many people had donated brand new clothes, which was something I had not anticipated. With the prompt, overwhelming response I could feel the warmth in the Korean community’s heart, assuring us that we are not alone,” Bhagwat exclaimed.
Similar sentiment was echoed by Naveen, “When Pranveer called and asked me how much can you collect from your area? I said may be two or three boxes. But now we have collected around 12-14 boxes and the response from the public was completely unexpected. Even the person (Indian expat), who just came to Korea a few days (10-12 d ays) back, also donated for this initiative. Koreans also came forward and donated for this project which is truly heart-warming.”
Pranveer plans to work closely with Heal Kashmir and Care Vectors and support their rehabilitation programs.
Watch this video of ProjectWarmth. You will be amazed to hear a Korean offer support and solidarity with the J&K flood victims in flawless Hindi!