When the pandemic raged, we found ourselves frantically washing our hands and avoiding contact; it was then that a 43-year-old good soul became the saviour of the helpless. Hyderabad based; Ramu Dosapati, an HR executive, created a year-round rice ATM, ATM for milk, meals and medicines for out-of-work individuals who found themselves thrown under the bus by the pandemic.
Getting inspired by Lakshmamma, a migrant worker who used up her meagre earnings to feed the poor, Ramu started his altruistic journey and never looked back. “Mine is not a big or a great story”, remarked a benign Ramu during this interview with Storiyaan. Read further to discover the selflessness of this man who is driving the change we wish to encounter.
Questions and answers
Could you tell a bit about what caught your attention to come up with the idea of rice ATM?
The Rice ATM idea struck me last year, in the lockdown. I realised many people are going without food and necessities and people who are not as financially stable as I am, are trying to help. So, as an economically privileged person, it became my moral responsibility to serve the needy.
You have done your MBA in human resource management. How far has doing an MBA helped you to strategize your business?
My MBA in Human Resource Management prepared my people-management skills and employees are the most important part of any business. It assisted me in hiring efficient candidates and I could also guide them in managing their time productively.
Would you say that you consider the lockdown as a boon that provided you with the opportunity to come ahead and help multiple people?
Yes, definitely as it was long overdue. The marginalised were hit hardest by the unprecedented pandemic and I consider myself fortunate to have served them in these taxing times.
You meet many people while helping them out with distributing food. Has there been any moment that left you overwhelmed?
I remember two incidents starkly. When we went to a place after receiving a call for help, I noticed that everyone including a pregnant woman was starved, exhausted and barefoot; it was a heart-wrenching sight to witness. Another incident happened during floods when we managed to save a mother and her child who were crying for help after overcoming the dangers of the floods.
You have mentioned your accident in 2005, which changed you as a human being. Could you describe what happened and how it has changed you?
I was riding without a helmet as it was a short distance but soon the vehicle crashed on the wrong side, I fell and broke my face with multiple fractures. It was a minor accident but it made me value my life for my family and understand the importance of safety measures.
At times while managing home along with charity, you might have difficult situations. How do you inspire yourself to keep working for others and prioritize their needs before yours?
Coming from an agricultural background, I feel hard work and work-life balance is inherent in me. I have taken my family to my hometown for vacations so that they can experience and enjoy the simple living and also remember their roots.
You have spent almost 40 lakh rupees to help the needy and the migrant people and that’s commendable. How have you managed to raise the fund and what problems did you initially encounter?
We never raised funds as it started as a small initiative to help the migrants. Since then we have helped teachers, pujaris or small businesses. It has been challenging as we have used our savings, my provident fund and proceeds from the selling of our land in Nalagonda but we also receive aid from the very people we help as they want to contribute in whatever way they can.
Along with everything, you have also worked as a motivator guiding the teachers, the educated unemployed and helping the migrants to get some work. What is the most satisfying aspect of guiding and assisting the individual to reach their goals?
I used my HR skills to recognise job opportunities for everyone. We launched ‘Project Presha’ through which we identified talents and subsequently assisted the people with equipment to hone their skills. This has empowered everyone and helped them live independently.
Do you have any advice for people interested in helping the needy once again during this lockdown but do not have enough finance?
What has been the driving force behind your strength during times when you need encouragement?
Recognition from celebrities and the government has always been a great motivation to continue my work. I have the blessings and constant support of everyone we have helped, they will stand by me and my family if we ever need any help. This has always boosted my confidence and positive spirit.
What is a message that you want to pass on to our readers who are reading the feature?
My message will be that everyone should come forward and aid others in whatever way possible. We should give back to society and help our fellow countrymen to sustain themselves in such days of hopelessness and despair.
1. Your happy place: My parents’ place in my home town.
2. Life is incomplete without: My wife who is my support.
3. Your role model: My Father
4. Your mantra in life: Give it back to society
5. Helping others to you is: like pleasure and honour.
6. One hobby that no one knows about: Writing and my wish to publish my work in future.