Recognizing the opportunity to build back better

24 June 2021

The year 2020 took on a new dimension of experiences with the pandemic bringing impactful changes in the way of living, working and perceiving life. While even the fortunate ones were battling with their work, safeguarding their families and themselves, the intensity of Covid-19 showed no mercy on the vulnerable workers.

Shiv Kumar from Savda J.J. Colony, Delhi, was amongst many who had lost their jobs when the pandemic had hit the nation. Working as a security guard in a private school in Savda before the pandemic struck, 45-year old Shiv could have never imagined what uncertainty was awaiting him during this time of crisis.


He was barely earning Rs. 8000 per month, which was too little to manage his family consisting of his wife, three daughters and a son. With the imposition of nationwide lockdown, the world fell apart upon Shiv. With no savings or other source of income, he and his family were barely surviving, dependent totally on cooked food and dry rations that were distributed by GMR group in the community.

When the lockdown was relieved, Shiv hunted for the job again in a private company but failed to get any. During these turbulent times, GMR's CSR arm - GMR Varalakshmi Foundation (GMRVF), stepped in to support Shiv and help him restart his livelihood. The team came to know about his condition during a survey that was conducted to understand the effects of pandemic on the livelihoods of the community with whom GMRVF was working.

While discussing with the team, Shiv showed interest to sell vegetables that would help him in earning regular income and also manage his family needs. Under the SMILE project (Supporting, Marginalized, Individuals through Livelihoods & Empowerment) GMRVF supported him with a pushcart and an umbrella shed to start his work.

SMILE project was initiated to extend support towards the restoration of lost livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the COVID-19 pandemic is still continuing to threaten the human race, Shiv Kumar is living a secure life with the help of the Foundation's support. He is not only earning enough by selling fresh vegetables procured from Keshopur vegetable market, but is also able to fulfil his family requirements.