These are unprecedented times. Since early 2020 COVID-19 has affected nearly every facet of our lives. Since the start of the pandemic, countries have faced not only a public health crisis but a financial one too.
The mobility industry, in particular, was directly hit by the consequences of the lockdown initiated to contain the outbreak. Drivers across India were affected in their ability to provide for their families, without a primary source of income.
We had to step up to help them in their time of need. The ‘Drive the Driver’ fund launched by the Ola Foundation was one such initiative. The intention of the fund was to support drivers and their loved ones during these trying times regardless of whether or not they were part of the Ola community.
Together we are supporting the driver community by :
1. Providing financial support for drivers and their families during medical emergencies, COVID-19, or otherwise.
2. Distributing essentials like staples and groceries through our on-ground teams and our partners, Robinhood Army. We are also distributing hot cooked meals through our partner, Akshaya Patra.
Meet some of the people who have benefitted from the ‘Drive the Driver’ fund:
Nagavalli is an ambitious and determined auto driver in Bengaluru. She came to one of Ola’s distribution centres to collect one of our essential kits. In spite of trying circumstances, she expressed gratitude for the help she received.
My son was born during the lockdown. When the doctor told us that my wife would need a C-section to deliver the baby, I broke down because I didn’t have any savings. To make matters worse, all government hospitals turned us away and I had to admit my wife at an expensive private hospital. There was a moment when I thought I would not survive this because I didn’t know how I would pay for her procedure.
I remember how the members of the Ola Foundation team reassured me to go ahead with the surgery because they would make sure I would receive financial aid. I never thought anyone would help me and yet, literally in a matter of days, the funds we needed were transferred for the hospitalisation and surgery.
My father has struggled with poor health for a long time now. He has a medical condition and needs blood transfusions every three months. Due to the lockdown, things became even more difficult and we decided to consult with specialised doctors. We found out that my father has cancer in his large intestine. He needed a colectomy and we had to start chemotherapy right away. But, his condition worsened in the middle of lockdown and I had no money left.
I received a call from the Ola Foundation. I felt like the universe reached out to help me during this tough time. Even though the hospital could not provide
the complete bill as the treatment is still in progress, the team from Ola assured me that I would get the help I needed. After I sent across the requisite documentation, the foundation transferred ₨ 1 lakh.
I take pride in keeping my customers happy and they have also shown me kindness in return. This one time during Ramzan, I had a customer who had booked my services for an outstation trip. Since he knew I was fasting, he helped arrange for everything from Sehri to Iftar and even Namaaz. I will never forget that experience.
My life changed when the lockdown was announced due to COVID-19. I hadn’t been able to pay my rent for three months and I had to struggle even to ensure my family had enough to eat. In fact, I was left with all of ₨ 30, when Ola Foundation delivered a box of everyday essentials to my house.
I came to Mumbai around thirty years ago after I got married. I wanted to work hard and earn well to support my family. Eventually, I began driving an auto and my wife and I had four children together.
Even during my bad days, I have had hope because there have always been people willing to help. The lockdown due to COVID-19 left my family struggling for food. And then somehow, in the nick of time, we received a kit filled with everyday essentials from the Ola Foundation. It contained groceries that immediately helped me put food on the table for my family. At a time when even those who are supposed to support you, don’t help, I will never forget how Ola provided assistance to me and other auto drivers like me.