Launched on Independence Day 2020, Sunfeast India Run As One, India’s largest citizen-led movement aimed at Indians and Indophiles all over the world, enters its last mile achieving significant success. With Social Impact as its core pillar, since its launch, the initiative has raised a whopping INR 1.18 crores in support of families impacted by the ongoing pandemic and continues to gain momentum.
This is a first-of-its-kind digitally supported active participatory event, to encourage purposeful fundraising from within India and across the world. The initiative is aimed at providing support to vulnerable sections of society who have been distressed and have lost their livelihoods due to the pandemic. With no geographic or physical barriers, people across the world can participate in this movement. Walk, Run, Jog; or cover kilometres on a wheelchair; every registration will support livelihood opportunities of a person. Participants can register at a nominal fee starting at Rs. 99 upwards, basis their choice to contribute and further pledge to walk, run or jog for the cause.
With community, social impact and wellness at the heart of the movement, it has gathered steam, propelled by names such as Olympic Gold Medallist Abhinav Bindra, Padma Shri Indian Gymnast Dipa Karmakar, Padma Shri Vijay Amritraj, and Olympian Marathoner Nitendra Singh Rawat. India Cricketers Amit Mishra, Shikha Pandey and Paralympic swimming sensation Niranjan Mukundan too have joined in, along with silver screen stars Puneeth Rajkumar, Tara Sutaria, Aadar Jain, Armaan Jain, Athiya Shetty, Kajal Agarwal, Rahul Bose and Milind Soman. Total fundraised so far 29,09,462 and pledged distance is 6,63,656 Km.
Vivek Singh, Co-Founder Procam International and Ashok Kumar, ER President Give India spoke exclusively to MediaNews4u on this initiative.
Can you tell us about this initiative by Procam?
The ongoing pandemic has hit us hard in many ways. Apart from the immediate impact on health, the consequential hindrance to economic activities has put over 140 million informal workers’ livelihoods at stake. We want them to know that they are not alone. We all as citizens and patriots hear their plight and have come forward to lend them a hand.
This was the pure and simple thought behind the inception of India’s largest citizen-led movement in support of livelihoods – Sunfeast India Run as One. Community, Social Impact & Wellness are at the heart of this initiative. I think this is the simplest opportunity for every Indian and Indophile across the world, to get involved!
A participant can register at a nominal fee of Rs 99, Rs 499 and Rs 999 respectively and anybody from around the world has a chance to join the cause until 30th September. As a token of our gratitude, we will also reward the participants which include a specially designed e-certificate of recognition, autographed by youth icon Tiger Shroff and marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge, participation e-bib, customized medals and even a unique commemorative bib. With every registration, one directly impacts a person’s life. The proceeds will be disbursed via GiveIndia directly to 100+ NGOs working in rehabilitation of the economically impacted families.
With WFH becoming the new normal, what has been the response for this initiative?
Everything changed almost overnight with the call for a complete lockdown in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Life was thrown out of gear and social distancing became the new norm. However, the beauty of this movement is that you can be safe, follow all guidelines and yet be an enabler for change. In a fortnight, we have witnessed people coming together, even if they are physically apart to stand for the cause of Livelihoods.
Be it the running community, homemakers, students, business leaders, corporates such as Infosys, HUL, Flipkart, ITC; celebrities like Tiger Shroff, Rahul Bose, Puneeth RajKumar; sporting icons like Abhinav Bindra, Eliud Kipchoge, Dipa Karmakar among many others, the support has been overwhelming. In just over a fortnight, the movement has managed has 14,000 + registrations and has already raised Rs 40+ lakhs in support of Livelihoods. And we are sure all the bigwigs will continue to inspire and motivate many more to join Sunfeast India Run As One.
Our vision has been backed by the faith and commitment of our title sponsors Sunfeast, powered by GiveIndia and the FIT India movement. The ownership showcased by brands such as FAST&UP, PhonePe, PUMA, Republic TV, Exchange4media, Fever FM & Radio One, have all helped in amplifying this movement and ensuring that it reaches the masses.
How did Sunfeast become part of this virtual event?
We have had a highly successful working relationship with ITC in the past. Moreover, philanthropy and making people happy is at the core of ITC’s philosophy. Hence this platform was a perfect extension of their philosophy, of bringing positivity as a community that is driven to make the world a better place. We are immensely grateful to Sunfeast for partnering with us to bring this vision to life.
How will you go about identifying and helping the people who have lost their livelihoods?
The Sunfeast India Run As One is powered by India’s largest and most trusted giving platform, GiveIndia. Through GiveIndia’s COVID missions, their NGO partners have been working tirelessly to support these communities and have raised over Rs 200 crore for the people who have lost their livelihoods. They have carefully identified 100+ NGOs working at the last mile in the rehabilitation of the economically impacted families across the country.
The journey of Procam International.
Since inception in 1988, Procam has been a catalyst for positive change, in the sporting paradigm of our country. With astute planning and exemplary execution, we have conceptualized and promoted over 100 international events, across disciplines of Powerboat Racing, Cricket, Football, Tennis, Distance Running, Squash, WWE and Horse Racing. All these events have elicited participation of the highest calibre of athletes, as well as huge public interest and attendance.
In 2004, we launched the Mumbai Marathon, which started a running revolution in the country. We soon launched three more global running events – Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, Tata Consultancy Services World 10K and Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, each leader in their respective distances. Termed as the Procam Slam, these events helped to re-define, the health, fitness, and charity paradigm of our country.
Today, there are over 1700 road races in India and an active running community of over 2 million runners. For our Athletic Federation, our events are a springboard for Indian long and middle-distance runners. Many of whom have brought laurels for India on the world stage. India has now an entire ecosystem around the sport estimated at 400 million USD annually. More importantly, our four events have together helped raise Rs 450 + crores in charity, benefitting over 700 NGOs. Procam’ distance running events are the largest fund-raising sporting platform in the country. Since it is not possible to organize marathons due to the current health crisis, Procam International devised a virtual running initiative, and with the right support and partners, the initiative has taken the shape of a social movement, for the betterment of society.
What are the other activities you have been associated with during this crisis and what is the way forward in the New Normal?
We are currently working towards the execution of our big running properties – Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, Tata Consultancy Services World 10K, Tata Steel Kolkata 25K and Tata Mumbai Marathon, which are slated for conduction in the next few months. We are working on the SOP’s for the events and including a hybrid model – a combination of an on-ground plus a virtual participatory event. Runner’s safety and experience will always be at the forefront of any execution that we plan.
Will we see more such digital events in the near future?
We have many learnings from our ongoing Sunfeast India Run as One initiative. However, the heartening aspect for all to see, is that the movement has touched a chord in the hearts of millions and is clearly the need of our times. Thus, God willing, we shall be back next year, bigger and better.
Ashok Kumar, ER President Give India
What will be the role of Give India in this initiative?
The coronavirus pandemic has been deemed as “the worst global crisis since World War II” by the International Labour Organisation. According to one of ILO’s reports, about 400 million people working in the informal economy in India are at risk of falling deeper into poverty due to the pandemic. It is also expected to wipe out 195 million full-time jobs in the second quarter of this year. To help people in such dire times, Procam International, along with Sunfeast and GiveIndia has organised a virtual movement called ‘Sunfeast India Run as One.’ The social impact pillar will benefit micro-entrepreneurs, farmers, migrant workers, LGBTQIA+ communities, differently-abled, tribal communities, athletes, sportspersons and much more. An amount of Rs. 7,000 can help a family suffering income loss due to the COVID-19 crisis sustain for a month. It can also act as seed money to support skills training, operational setup, and guidance to regenerate livelihoods.
What will be your strategy in identifying and providing livelihoods?
GiveIndia works with various NGO’s like Udayan care, Shramik Bharti, Protsahan etc to help the needy across the country. We recommend programs that help people in extreme need or are in urgent need of funds. With our NGO partners, we run multiple programs to collect funds and give access to IT and Vocational training to the people in need. Also, farmers can take help from the establishment of grain banks.
What are the other initiatives Give India has undertaken during this COVID Crisis?
The Coronavirus pandemic has caused devastation across the globe. Besides the tragic toll on human life, with countries shutting their borders and quarantines, economies have taken a huge hit. The tragedy has just begun to unfold in India and the job losses are mounting, especially among the daily wage workers. Experts say the effect on this group will be catastrophic. GiveIndia has launched several campaigns to help the needy. Some of the campaigns are listed below-
Save Families from COVID-19
These unemployed individuals have been duly verified by GiveIndia. The whole world is suffering – and is trying to cope with huge losses. But those without any job security or savings are the most vulnerable. GiveIndia launched a fund-raising campaign with the aim to directly support casual labour families by providing a minimum wage in cash till the virus abates and they are in employment again.
Support the care of abandoned new-born children
In the past few months, as the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded, the situation has exacerbated the issue of abandoned children in India – of which there are 29.6 million, according to a UNICEF report. GiveIndia for its NGO partner Snehalaya has raised over INR 73 lakh so far from more than 2,395 fundraisers across the country to help abandoned babies and pregnant women who have been fighting for a chance at a healthy life.
Crowdfund for medical emergencies
Healthcare in India has several challenges which include inadequate access, shortage of skilled medical professionals and an increasing chronic disease population. India’s public healthcare system remains inadequate and inequitable and the arrival of COVID-19 has tragically highlighted the situation. In such situations, the role of crowdfunding online for medical emergencies has become vital. GiveIndia started a campaign to help people requiring funds for treatment being carried out in a hospital.
Safe India’s children from abuse
All across India, over 1 crore children live on the streets. Nearly 1.2 lakh children amongst them are found on railway platforms each year. Every five minutes a child arrives alone at a railway station, usually escaping the abuse of some sort. They look to make money in any way they can, often scavenge for scraps of food and sleep huddled together in groups for safety. These children must face violence, exploitation, trafficking, and abuse. GiveIndia ran a fund-raising campaign for Railway Children India to provide these vulnerable children with the most basic care and protection until they are reunited with their families or referred to long-term care homes.