[TechSparks 2020] My destiny was to help people, says actor and humanitarian Sonu Sood
It's often said that where one starts out in life and where one ends up are never the same.
So it has been with Bollywood actor Sonu Sood who feels that the real reason he moved to Mumbai to pursue a career in the movies was to ultimately work on a far-reaching, deeply impactful humanitarian cause.
When migrants started leaving cities in hoards to return to their homes during the nationwide lockdown in April, Sonu stepped in to provide buses to help with their transportation. The love he got from people whose lives he touched infected him with the social entrepreneurship bug.
"I have so many scripts at home, but my focus is on helping migrant workers. I'm always working - either to line up surgeries, or employment, or education for someone or the other in need - but it gives me immense satisfaction," he said, speaking at TechSparks 2020, YourStory's all-virtual flagship event.
"My friends often ask me 'your main aim is to become an actor, so why are you wasting time doing all this?', and I've realised that maybe I'm destined to do this," he added.
His journey to the place where he is at right now hasn't been easy, he says. It has been riddled with naysayers and doubters, but that has never stopped Sonu from doing what he felt was right. In fact, in a poignant and pertinent message to young entrepreneurs working for India today, he says self-doubt is natural.
"You will doubt yourself, you will doubt your abilities, and you will doubt your decisions and actions. But it's important to persevere and not lose sight of your dreams," he said.
The first time Sonu says he realised he wanted to do more in his life was when he was helping migrant workers board the bus. He asked them when they would return, to which they said 'once we get a job.'
That encounter gave him the idea to set up a job portal that could help blue and grey collar workers connect with employers on a single, user-friendly platform.
Pravasi Rojgar, Sonu's website, helps migrant workers find all sorts of jobs - from construction, mobile repairs, and tailoring, to household managers, auto repairs and healthcare providers.
"When we launched Pravasi Rojgar, we got interest from thousands of employers who had jobs to offer. Today, we've helped put 1.5 lakh people to work in companies and positions they desired," Sonu said.
His parting plea to everyone attending TechSparks 2020 was to help change the life of at least one person, in whatever capacity.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai