Published by The Vibes
Aiming to empower the downtrodden with dignity, Datuk (Dr) Vinod Sekhar hopes that his effort inspires successful businessmen and professionals to help their countrymen in need.
KUALA LUMPUR – For two brothers who had fallen into desperation when their lorry business disastrously crashed during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Year of the Tiger has come with not just good tidings but also a roar of hope.
Their plight, which was recently highlighted by The Vibes, stirred the attention of billionaire philanthropist Datuk (Dr) Vinod Sekhar who was moved by their struggle and felt compelled to use his resources to help lift them from their quandary.
As customer demand slumped due to the economic crisis, Dayalan and Ranjith Kumar Ganeson became saddled with debts, losing their home and whatever little their family had. They were eventually plagued by threats from ruthless loan sharks and the prospects of their vehicles being seized, even as their kin started shunning them.
At one point, they even contemplated taking their own lives, but the moral and emotional support from their immediate family gave them the courage to carry on.
“One of the sad complications brought about by the pandemic is when hardworking people who are growing and experiencing success find the carpet pulled from under their feet,” said Vinod after his meeting with the duo.
“And the support from agencies and programmes that they are expected to get to keep going never come. They are forced to resort to loan sharks and end up losing more.”
After reading about their plight, he contacted the editors at The Vibes. Upon receiving further details of their situation, Vinod, who is chairman of PETRA Group, resolved to give them an avenue to rebuild their business again.
He has put forward the funding required to pay off the unsustainable debts from unofficial moneylenders, while taking a 30% stake in their business. The share will be relinquished fully to the brothers once he recoups the amount within two years without interest.
This is not charity. This is about giving people the dignity they deserve and to provide support so that they can have a chance to succeed,” Vinod stressed, adding that the support he renders would also include guidance and advice on how to empower them in their business.
Very importantly, Vinod wants this to serve as an example of how successful individuals can make use of their experience and excess funds to help those who are both genuinely in need and have the potential, with a little help, to rise.
“I hope this inspires others to likewise step forward and contribute during trying times faced by our countrymen in any way they can,” he said.
Sustainable effort needed to end cycle of poverty
He also lauded fellow altruist Datuk Pardip Kumar Kukreja, who is chairman of Tara Foundation, an NGO that aims to ensure children of B40 families receive proper education, for stepping forward on his own accord to assist the brothers when no one else would. “Datuk Pardip is the kind of Malaysian we can all look up to and applaud.
“I hope it inspires others to do the same for the many who are in need. This is not about money but about giving time and having the patience to see it through.”
He added that the humanitarian effort is part of the Sekhar Economic Initiative that is to be launched soon under the Vinod Sekhar Foundation chaired by his wife Datin Dr Winy Sekhar.
Winy, who was present, emphasised the need for those who have the means to involve themselves in helping the indigent in this manner.
“Sustainable efforts such as this, which are driven to produce results, are important in ensuring the cycle of poverty, (and) the cycle of loss are brought to an end,” she said.
Meanwhile, Pardip thanked Vinod for his magnanimity in the case.
“He agreed to help after a short meeting and due diligence interview,” Pardip said. “He clearly feels the pain of the poor people who are unguided.
“We hope this gesture will inspire more wealthy people to come forward.”
Pardip stressed that the rich and successful can also mentor aspiring micro-enterprises.
“Let this be a self-help micro-enterprise initiative by the rich for the poor to make the poor also rich,” he said. – The Vibes, February 5, 2022