Finding the light, in these unprecedented times
Last week, Muslims around the world celebrated Eid to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. While the usual customs of prayers in the mosque and family feasts were absent this year, one essential custom remained – giving to charity or those less fortunate.
In this spirit of giving, Ding has also looked for ways to help those currently suffering during this global pandemic through our Access for Good initiative which aims to change billions of lives around the world. Under the initiative Ding donates one cent from every online top-up completed allowing us to give back to our customers communities.
This quarter we wanted to shine a light one two very worthy initiatives, which are tackling the ongoing fallout of the global pandemic – Careem Captains in the Middle East, and Kako’s Kids in Haiti.
Careem – supporting their Captains
Careem, the Middle East’s hugely successful ride-hailing company, like businesses all over the world has undoubtedly been impacted by the pandemic and the resulting lockdowns. Careem’s frontline workers, the drivers, who are known as ‘Captains’ have suffered the most. Captains are the heart of Careem, and the company values their service to customers and communities very highly – particularly in these unprecedented times. Early on in this crisis, Careem decided to act and show their Captains just how important they are to them.
“Even after lockdowns, things are not back to normal. People are not taking rides and earnings for our captains have taken a huge dip, so very quickly we wanted to see what we could do for our captains,” says Phani Jawahar Gutta, senior partnerships manager at Careem.
The company set up the Careem Captains fund, which has so far garnered more than Dh100,000 from customers and partners alike. The funding will be deployed to captains from June onwards to pay for their basic necessities including daily meals and care packages.
“If your earnings are reduced significantly, how will you survive and meet your monthly expenses? We are supporting them to cover the most basic expenses,” says Phani.
An overwhelming majority of the captains come from Pakistan and tend to be the main breadwinners for their families back home.
“It’s critical for them to send money back because all of their family is back home and even Dh500 is a lot in Pakistani Rupees,” says Phani.
Commenting on Careem’s initiative Muhannad Hassan, Ding’s General Manager for Asia and the Middle East said: ‘Captains sit at the heart of Careem’s business and supporting them at this time highlights how important they are to the company – it is a great initiative to allow these people to continue to support their families back home.’
He added: “We are seeing many of our partners around the world doing what they can to support their communities at this time and as a company we are keen to help where we can.”
Kako – putting Kids first
Like Careem, Kako’s Kids is trying to help their community where they can through this pandemic.
Founded in 2009 in Haiti, comedian Jacques Bourjolly, Jr., who is also as known as Kako, established a foundation to help children build a better future through sports and educational activities.
“The priority is education, and I use sports as a way to keep the kids’ attention and promote among them an awareness of the benefits of a good education,” says Kako.
To date, he has renovated and established eight sporting facilities with the goal of establishing 23 in total.
“It’s a good way of catching the kids early in order to help to steer them to become good citizens. We try to get them off the streets and give them a role model to look up to,” he says. “Often they are in close proximity to violence, but once they’re on a fielding playing, they have a coach, they are part of team, and they learn to listen to the other side.”
Since the pandemic however, these activities have been replaced with attempts to educate the children of Haiti on how to stay safe. In a country where access to running, potable water is limited, Kako has created handwashing stations in the neighbourhoods that need it the most.
“With our infrastructure, the way the country is set-up, we’re not ready or equiped for Covid-19,” he says. “We’re trying to get the word out to the kids to be aware of the situation and to take the necessary precautions and actions to keep them safe and well.”
Kako ensures there is enough water in the drums and soap and appoints a leader in the community to take care of the supply and demonstrate how to wash their hands properly. With donations to the foundation from companies, Kako’s Kids hopes to begin distributing masks to the most vulnerable, particularly mothers.