These Tough Times Brought us Together and Made us Stronger

Industry Watch | July 1, 2021 | Guest Article

EEMA Prerana Saxena Theme Weavers International

The Covid19 pandemic has brought in a lot of distress in the country. The event management sector has been struggling to manage its existence and with the second wave, the hopes have hit rock bottom. This also laid a negative impact on the psychological front and led to negativity amongst people. But members of the EEMA North Zone joined hands to deliver help to everyone in pain and seeking help.

EEMA North Initiatives

As soon as the Covid19 second wave hit, we witnessed a lot of people who were failing to receive any medical resources. EEMA then came forward and resolved to help its members and their family members. The event community took charge and came to the forefront by providing help and assistance to the people with their genuine and planned efforts.

Looking at the scenario, EEMA, the apex body for events in the country, led to the formation of the 2nd Wave Covid Taskforce. This formed the backend support of the operations and comprised of zonal teams executing them at the forefront. Under this umbrella, teams took charge of certain initiatives and executed them with full potential.  They further reached out to the zonal VPs for giving momentum to the initiative. Amit Gupta from Story, took the lead during such an adverse situation and reached out to us and asked for setting up a zonal-level task force. This initiative involved everyone into action and the Zonal-North committee became active. Me along with Ruchin Kohli and Jagmohan Singh, formed a strong execution strategy and involved Vipul Pandhi, Venessa Williams, Vijay Arora, KJS Gurna, Poonam Lal and some more members who graciously came forward to help. This in turn became a strong team with more helping hands.

We identified that there were five areas where our members needed help which were: Oxygen, Beds, Home care, Online consultation, Home delivery and Medicines. The teams were divided and each person was allocated one specific area to manage. The idea was to start splitting the work between the front-end team and the back-end team. It was decided to take up clear tasks. The back-end team took up the responsibility to verify all the data needed and the front-end team took control of receiving calls and filtering them. Helpline numbers were thus set up and the initiative began with fervor. 

Dialoguing with the Government

This initiative taken up was in support of the Delhi Government in order to reach a wider network of people requiring immediate assistance. Special note of thanks to Rajeev Jain for connecting us with the Hon. Health Minister of Delhi, Sh. Satyendra Jain, who shared his consent for helping them manage the Sant Nirankari Covid Facility Burari and the Rakabganj Gurudwara Covid Facility, New Delhi. He was convinced and believed that we had expertise in managing huge event operations so he provided us this huge opportunity. Also involved in the project were Vijay Arora, Vipul Pandhi, and Ruchin Kohli who met with him and worked towards providing continuous help to the people in need. The facility in Burari comprised of 1000 beds with oxygen concentrators that were given to us to manage initially. Where as the Rakabganj facility was initiated with 250 oxygen beds.

We realised the need for more hands on deck for managing this big a facility. This gave us the opportunity to go back to the industry and bring back people from business who were now unemployed due to the lack of events taking place. Four industry experts were called upon to manage the Burari facility.

The Delhi Government was extremely elated with the level of management of our work and even facilitated us with a special certificate for our help. They all claimed that there was always an air of positivity around whenever they came by to visit the facilities.

I would like to thank the team at EEMA for taking over a major initiative and keeping the spirits high for all those who helped. I would like to express my gratitude to all the members of the North zone who agreed to reach out and come together to do their bit. I would like to thank Siddhartha Chaturvedi, Roshan Abbas, Deepak Pawar, and the other VPs who strongly stood by me and gave me unconditional support. 

We clearly understood we needed more hands. So, we approached educational universities like the Pearl Academy and Wedding Management Institute. They readily came forward and said the students would be happy to help in any area required. I would like to thank Manish and Varun Dua for personally looking into this initiative and setting up a very strong back-end data verification team. 

I would like to thank Vijay Arora and Ruchin Kohli for taking up the leadership in arranging hospital beds and Jagmohan Singh who took up the role of arranging medicines and verifying its availability leads. 

It was suggested by Vijay Arora, that if we promote online doctor consultation, this would help many asymptomatic cases on the first level.  I would like to thank Venessa Williams who aided in setting up online consultations and Vijay who pitched in by providing the team with a doctor. The doctor agreed to come on board and help us with offering online consultations at exclusive discounted rates to help out the patients in need. 

24 Hours Oxygen Support

For providing homecare and oxygen to those who needed it, a proper front-end and back-end team was set up. While the front-end helpline Covid warriors were taking calls with queries, Vandana Mohan’s team along with Pearl Academy students were verifying the back-end data. Atul Chhabra’s team also pitched in as and when required. I was awestruck to see how relentlessly the teams worked to make sure that the correct data reached the patients on time. 

Many times the team had to promptly react to distress calls that could result in fatal incidents if help didn’t reach on time. To keep the morale up in the adversity of the situation, I always maintained and told my team that even if four people are helped out of 10, we have done some good and are in the right direction. Despite the dearth of oxygen and hospital beds, we had to keep a positive outlook just to push ahead and help more. 

After three to four days of constant calls and arrangement of supplies, we realized that many vendors had stopped reciprocating to our calls from their end due to the dearth of supplies. It was Vipul Pandhi who bravely took up the duty to go to each vendor and verify the supply needs. Soon, we saw that we needed more hands. With Vipul’s suggestion, we allocated a few delivery boys who could verify the vendors and help us out in need. 

With so many activities taking place together, there was a need for a proper structure to be kept in place. A central database was created using Google Sheets and Google Docs with all the updated information in place and all frontline workers were duly notified. 

With this in place, we saw that there was a large demand for queries regarding the supply and availability of oxygen. Vipul Pandhi spoke to a few faculty members at Pearl Academy and a 24x7 helpline was set up at the Academy where updates were given every two hours that could benefit the people ahead. This was also broadcast on all social media platforms and to whoever needed verified information. What began as an initiative for the members at EEMA gradually led to a bigger picture where the help was extended to whoever needed it. 

To be aware of any help needed further out from Delhi, we contacted the team at Punjab and Jaipur who came forward. We would like to thank Amit Dhoka who set up helpline numbers along with Puneet Gupta, Anant Khandelwal, Amitesh Taluka, Deep Aggarwal, Rahul Gaur for local reach. Tejinder Singh along with Bharat Dhiman,Deepak Kumar,Vikramjit Singh,Binay Pal,Amit Sood,Bhanu Ahuja,Lalit Nayyar also came forward to set up helpline numbers in Punjab to help those in need.

We Care Helpline

We Care helpline led by Poonam Lal, was quite active during the second wave. Numerous calls in regards to hospital beds, medicines, Covid care at home, food and mental wellbeing were being addressed. The helpline answered nearly 500 calls in a span of one and a half months.

Blood Donation Drive in Jaipur

A successful blood donation drive was also organized, keeping in mind all respective protocols. We would like to thank Amit Dhokha and his team for smooth conduct pertaining to all necessary protocols.

CoviHeal – A Covid Facility in Gurugram

Ruchin Kohli, Joint Secretary, EEMA North, started an initiative called Coviheal where fundraisers are being conducted and efforts are continued to give as much support as needed. We recently held a fundraiser with a guest - Atul Khatri - where all the funds collected went to the noble cause. Our efforts will continue in supporting and assisting the ones in need. Varun Dua from WMI also conducted a fundraiser to support CoviHeal.

Vaccination Drive

Team EEMA also organized multiple vaccination drives across various cities, including Jaipur in Rajasthan, where it provided vaccination doses to everyone above the age of 18 years. 

Going forward, the team at EEMA will continue to give back and contribute each day and help in whichever way possible. Surely, Covid was a testing time, but it did show us the power of what an association can do with all its members together, to help humanity at large.

We would also like to thank the below set of people who came forward and extended a helping hand in serving the community.

  • Jatin Batra
  • Lalit Verma
  • Shashank Gupta
  • Ojas Saxena
  • Sanchi Kohli
  • Anil KC
  • Jaskiran Singh
  • Parkhi Sharma
  • Radhika Rawat
  • Kshitij Agarwal
  • Ayush Vats
  • Arshad Khan
  • Kamran Zahid
  • Avinash Jaggi
  • Meha Jayaswal
  • Sachit Arora
  • Srishti Chawla
  • Devika Gupta
  • Anjali Godara
  • Neha Dubey
  • Vanshika Aggarwal
  • Mona Marwah
  • Viraj Mohan
  • Vishal Sarin
  • Vaibhav Ahuja
  • Garima Kalia
  • Mandeep Singh
  • Payal Bali
  • Mandeep Malhotra
  • Tushar Malik
  • Tanishka Aggarwal
  • Shalini Pal
  • Himani Srivastava
  • Parul Goyal
  • Kunal Pahuja
  • Nikita Chawla
  • Apurva Malhotra
  • Chandar Prakash
  • Paras Khanna
  • Yash Arora
  • Sarthak Arora
  • Sainyam Gupta
  • Vidushi Khanna
  • Aarushee Gupta
  • Shivam Arora
  • Sriranga J
  • ShekharKumar Srivastav
  • Dayan Malik
  • Nimit Mehta
  • Amanveer Singh
  • Aditya Loomba
  • Ajit Gandhi
  • Nitin Anand
  • Swati Pandya
  • Richa Bhaduria
  • Gurjeev Singh Gulati
  • Nimit Mehta

 

[The author is Prerana Saxena, Founder and CEO, Theme Weavers International and Vice President (North), Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA).]

Prerana Saxena, Vice President (North), EEMA, pens a note of thanks to all involved in activities to support members, their families and the general public during the second Covid wave.

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