Five heart-warming initiatives started by actor Sonu Sood - ‘the messiah of migrants’
Growing up in Moga, Punjab, actor Sonu Sood left to Mumbai with eyes full of dreams and heart full of desires. The engineer-turned actor and producer started off by acting in supportive roles in regional films, and went on to make it big in Bollywood by portraying several negative characters effortlessly.
And now, from a reel-life anti-hero, he has become a real-life superhero. Ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the actor has lent a helping hand to thousands of migrant and daily wage workers through his random acts of kindness.
Actor Sonu Sood has been extending help to thousands of migrant workers in India.
From providing meals to the underprivileged and offering transport facilities for stranded labourers to get back to their hometowns, to donating personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline healthcare personnel, he has done it all.
SocialStory brings to you some of his inspiring initiatives.
Accommodating health workers
When the government announced the nationwide lockdown in March this year, many medical staff members as well as doctors had to deal with the risk of contracting COVID-19, work for long hours, and also put up with occupational distress and social stigma. With a view to assist them and provide a place of stay, Sonu Sood opened the gates of his Juhu hotel in Mumbai.
“It's my honour to be able to do my bit for the doctors, nurses, and para medical staff of our country who have been working day and night to save the lives of millions. I am really happy to open the doors of my hotel to these real time heroes,” the actor had told PTI.
Feeding the hungry
The coronavirus pandemic led to the closure of most industries and businesses, which in turn resulted in widespread job losses and food insecurities. However, the most affected amidst the crisis were the people working in the informal sector. Without regular income, several contract and migrant workers were struggling to obtain even three-square meals a day.
That was when Sonu Sood launched Shakti Annadanam in the name of his late father, Shakti Sagar Sood, with the objective of feeding at least 45,000 people every day in Mumbai.
Transporting migrants back home
The lockdown forced scores of migrants to get back to their hometowns. Owing to the lack of timely transport facilities, many set out to cover long distances on foot. Some even attempted to walk over 1,000 kilometres in the hope of reaching a safe space.
Being a migrant himself, Sonu was able to empathise with their difficulties. So, he began by persuading a group of migrants in Karnataka who were about to start their journey on foot. He later coordinated with the Karnataka and Maharashtra state governments to arrange for buses for these migrants to go home and also got their medical clearances done.
Sonu Sood sending off migrant workers to their hometowns.
In the last three months, the actor has helped over 20,000 migrants reunite with their families. Be it Jharkhand, Assam, Bihar or Odisha, Sonu Sood helped people get home through buses, trains, and in some instances, even by organising air tickets. He also introduced a toll-free helpline number so that migrant workers could send in their requests.
Empowering people through employment
Recently, on his 47th birthday, Sonu Sood floated a free app and website called ‘Pravasi Rojgar’ to provide meaningful employment opportunities to migrant workers in India. The platform was built to connect job seekers with job providers. The initiative also aims to train the workers with requisite skills so as to increase their chances of bagging a good job. The actor has tied up with Learnet Skills, a joint venture between Schoolnet India and National Skill Development Corporation, to fulfil this.
The actor has laid out a mission to create three lakh jobs through this endeavour. A few of the prominent companies who are supporting him include Amazon, AEPC, CITI, Trident, Quess Corp, Sodexo, Urban Co, and.
Supporting farmers in distress
During the last week of July, the video of farmer K Nageswara Rao’s daughters ploughing an agricultural field went viral. The farmer, who belonged to the village of KV Palli in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, could neither afford oxen or a tractor.
As soon as Sonu Sood came across the video, he arranged for a tractor for the farmer. This generous gesture by the actor was appreciated by the Andhra Pradesh Opposition leader, Chandrababu Naidu, who later took up the responsibility of funding the education of both the daughters of Nageswara Rao.
Enabling students reach their motherland
Sonu Sood also turned into a saviour for a group of Indian students stuck in Kyrgyzstan. He organised for a charter flight for them from the capital city Bishkek to Varanasi. About 135 students safely landed in the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport on July 26, 2020.
In his tweet, the actor expressed his happiness saying, “Feeling so happy that the first flight from Kyrgyzstan to Varanasi took off today. All thanks to FlySpiceJet for making my mission successful.”
Equipping frontline workers
Frontline workers like police personnel and doctors have been working relentlessly for the welfare of the community during the trying times of COVID-19. And Sonu Sood was at the forefront by helping them in his own way.
The actor has reportedly given away 1,500 PPE kits to paramedics across Punjab, and also donated 25,000 face shields to police officers in Maharashtra.