"We Care" by helping others move

On the morning of 26 March 2022, almost a hundred beneficiaries of the “Hapag-Lloyd Cares” initiative gathered in the auditorium of the community hall in Nashik, about 170 kilometers north-east of Mumbai – eagerly waiting to receive one of the many prosthetic limbs procured for them.

Arjun Shimti, a 45-year-old man with diabetes, lost his leg below the knee due to a minor toe injury. “I had to get my toe amputated by a medical student, and then I caught an infection that spread to the rest of my leg. I could not get treatment for it as there are not many doctors in my city of Malegaon, especially now due to the pandemic”, Shimti says. For almost two years he had to use a peg-leg fashioned out of two wooden planks held in place by gauze bandages, which he had to change frequently.

Many others had similar stories to tell. Like the 12-year-old Pushpa, who had her leg amputated a decade earlier after she had been bitten by a snake. Many of the attendees expressed their excitement and gratitude, emphasizing how life-changing a suitable prosthesis would be for them.

Just a few weeks earlier, on 11 March, another 99 amputees had already received their prostheses in a similar event organized by the Hapag-Lloyd Global Service Center (GSC) in Thiruvarur in southern India about 335 kilometers from Chennai. In total, thirty Hapag-Lloyd colleagues from the GSCs in Chennai and Mumbai volunteered to help the amputees obtain and put on the limbs, and to serve food and water at the events.

The process started about two months prior, when potential beneficiaries were identified and their measurements were taken to ensure a precise fit for a customized limb. In addition to their prostheses, the beneficiaries were also provided with a maintenance kit and a helpline number for further assistance. As of yet, Hapag-Lloyd has sponsored the manufacturing and distribution of 206 prosthetic limbs for 195 rural amputees in partnership with the Freedom Trust, a charitable organization in charge of an initiative for rural amputees called “Walk India”.

Both the local people and government were thankful towards Hapag-Lloyd and the employees that had supported the initiative and made a meaningful difference in their communities. The teams from the GSCs in turn appreciated this opportunity to help others regain some mobility: “We got to hear many moving stories at these events. Despite their suffering, these people displayed a lot of positivity”, says Satchidanand Sharma, Managing Director GSC, India. “After seeing amputees come in limping, on crutches or using wheel chairs, we watched them depart without any assistance. The whole experience was profoundly inspiring.”

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