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Saluting the Unsung Covid-19 Warrior

For Prasun Ghatak, helping others during the pandemic has been a way to keep his late wife’s memories alive.

His is a story, a love story that not just amazes but also inspires many.

He has been, since the pandemic been trying to help the more unfortunate ones, many of whom lost jobs, livelihood, and any chances of leading a normal life given the totally crippling environment they were pushed into.

From losing jobs, hard-earned savings, to loved ones, the Covid-19 pandemic has been traumatic for many. However, there are several unsung heroes among us who are doing their best to help the less unfortunate ones.

Thirty-six-year-old Prasun Ghatak, whose life trajectory changed forever due to the pandemic, is one among them. He says, “If someone genuinely wants to help people, then no language barrier or any other challenge can deter him, as the universe sends the right help at the right time.”

Over the last few years, Prasun would often volunteer with a few NGOs but started getting involved in charity work along with his late wife, Soumi Saha, for the last two years.

Prasun, a project quality lead with the Adani Data Centre, Chennai, shares, “Soumi was a government schoolteacher. She would always go to great lengths to help students, hailing from the lower strata who would leave school midway due to financial constraints.

Seeing her relentlessly working towards her goals, moved me and I decided to be a part of her initiative. By late 2019, we had chalked out a full-fledged plan for the same, but Covid-19 slowed things down. However, the biggest setback was when she passed away due to Covid-19, just a few weeks before her birthday (September 23, 2020),” says Prasun.

At that time, Prasun was working in Hyderabad and decided to start afresh on Soumi’s birthday by distributing lunch packets to kids at the Kothaguda slum.

“The daily wage workers and domestic helps have been one of the worst-hit during the pandemic. I distributed around 45 lunch packets to children and to my surprise the packets got finished in a jiffy. I didn’t anticipate this when I went for a recce. But these are the small learnings that have helped me to plan better. That was my first initiative and it also paved way for my trust, Soumi’s Care,” shares Ghatak.

After the success of his first initiative, Prasun decided to continue the charity work in a more organized and structured way. “I started saving 1% of my monthly salary exclusively for Soumi’s Care. Since my first charity drive, we have successfully carried out plasma donation camps, and distribution of food, sanitizers, preventive masks, and clothes to underprivileged kids, orphanages, and old age homes, over the last one year.

Along with this, we have also worked towards the Mangrove reforestation initiative at Sundarbans (West Bengal) and each experience has been overwhelming. Whenever the funds are ready, we immediately start working on the next initiative,” shares Prasun, who joined Adani Data Centre, Chennai, in July 2021.

Just when Ghatak was adjusting to the new city, culture, and workplace, the city was battered by incessant rains and floods, in November 2021. Prasun’s charity trust helped the nearby villages severely affected by the floods where many families were shifted to temporary accommodations. “When things subsided a little, I contacted the local councilor, who helped me with a volunteer to assist me in distributing essential food items such as rice, pulses, sugar, and oil,” he shares.

The Adani Data Centre also undertook charity work at that time to help the residents of Muttukadu village situated near their site location. The team distributed five kg of rice packets to over 1,000 displaced families along with the assistance of Muttukadu panchayat.

Ghatak was recently felicitated with the ‘Real Superheroes Award, 2021’ by Star India for his contribution during the 2021 Chennai floods.

Often, we forget the contributions of a deceased, but Prasun realized that the only way to keep Soumi’s memories alive was to continue her legacy and inspire others. “Every new challenge helps me to push my boundaries,” he signs off.

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