HSBC India offers financial relief for Mumbai’s ‘Dabbawalas’

HSBC India on Thursday announced that it is pledging financial assistance to the tune of Rs 15 crore to support dabbawalas in Mumbai.

This support will be provided in association with United Way Mumbai and aimed at providing relief to dabbawalas who have been significantly impacted due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, said a company statement.

As part of the support and relief packages, each dabbawala will be provided ration and hygiene material supplies for three months. Financial protection in the form of life insurance cover will be provided through tie-ups with insurance providers.

Additionally, educational tabs and access to digital resources will be provided to school-aged children or grandchildren of dabbawalas whose education has been impacted due to a lack of smartphones at home to facilitate online learning. With schools likely to continue classes virtually for few more months, this support will be crucial in bridging the learning gap, said the statement.

Further, the dabbawalas will also be provided cycles, their primary mode of transport, to resume their services once the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

HSBC India interim CEO Hitendra Dave said: “The dabbawalas have defined the grit and spirit of the city of Mumbai. An integral part of the city’s workforce and community, they have been hit hard by the pandemic with loss of livelihood. Our support to the dabbawalas is in line with our endeavour of supporting the communities where we operate.”

Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust President Ulhas Muke said: “The Dabbawala service has never been shut in the past 130 years. But since March 2020, it has come to a total standstill. With no earnings over the past 14 months, dabbawalas are in financial crisis and it has been difficult for them to feed their families.”

He added that HSBC India’s initiative will help the families cope with these very difficult times.