— Jasmeen Dugal

It happened so fast. Within days, rumours became fact and anxiety grew into fear. Life changed in ways none of us could have perceived. The devastating effects of the outbreak of Covid-19 was like the domino effect, LIVE. All industries ground to a halt. The news gutted everyone from designers and restaurateurs to daily wage workers, leaving them unmoored. When they're struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table, how would they manage hospital admission {and pay astronomical bills?} if they got infected with Covid-19 and how would they procure life-saving oxygen cylinders, medicines and injections which is in acute shortage primarily in Delhi? The healthcare infrastructure had almost crippled and hospitals began posting SOS pleas on Twitter to help save their critical patients on oxygen support as some had two hours oxygen supply, others had three hours… with no foreseeable help.


At this point, entrepreneur, civil rights activist and political analyst Tehseen Poonawalla and his wife Monicka Vadera Poonawalla stepped. The young power couple, who’ve dedicated their lives to doing good through deep involvement in a number of charities and causes, attempted to help each individual or hospital who tweeted for help — making calls to politicians or bureaucrats, hospital heads or city collector, bridging the chasm between the patient and the authorities or suppliers, transparently on Twitter, and following up each case until resolved. For individual pleas, they continue to deliver oxygen cylinders, allocate ICU beds, procure medicines and injections, arrange ECMO, feed patients' families, get plasma, arrange body bags, distribute masks to crematorium workers and others — through Poonawalla Foundation.


The foundation has two teams — one works on ground and the other is on the phone. The philanthropically-minded couple continue to do it all for a sea of humanity that owes them their lives. Tehseen, a strong individual with clarity of purpose, is the picture of modesty and grace when patients are vocal in their gratitude. He replies, ’We are one team;' 'I am duty bound to try and help'; 'No one must ever go hungry. We are all in this together.' Monicka feels the same, 'It's been tough… When I feel deflated or demotivated I count my blessings and pray to God to give me the motivation and strength to keep moving, keep helping and keep doing all I can.'


The most generous philanthropists in the nation, and also the most discreet and humble, the Poonawallas never seek praise or recognition for their financial and personal efforts — and they never ever post photographs of humanitarian efforts. They are here to make a difference… a difference that will impact social, economic and political change. Of late, Tehseen Poonawalla requested the Chief Justice of India to constitute a committee to preside over 'foreseen issue of utmost importance', to review the government's preparedness and policy formation to tackle a potential third wave of Covid-19.


I hope to see him in governance one day.

Tehseen Poonawalla Tehseen Poonawalla and his wife Monicka Vadera Poonawalla

Tehseen Poonawalla Just one of the thousands of Twitter gratitude posts



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