Dedication, not money, matters during calamities: Nita Ambani

Written by PTI | Guptkashi | Updated: Sep 27 2013, 21:23pm hrs
Nita-Mukesh AmbaniNita Ambani with husband Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, at an event.
Kickstarting relief work for over 25,000 people affected by floods in Uttarakhand, Reliance Foundation Chairperson Nita Ambani has said that it is the dedication and sincerity towards lending a helping hand that matters more than money during times of natural calamities.

"At this moment, I think more than finance (what is important) was the people's dedication and sincerity... I think what is more important is human aspect. Many of them just wanted to talk and we just provided them the listening because you cannot imagine the kind of trauma that has happened," said Nita Ambani, whose husband Mukesh Ambani heads one of the country's biggest corporate houses, Reliance Industries (RIL) group.

Herself an educationist and a philanthropist, Nita Ambani chairs Reliance Foundation, which is leading relief works including rebuilding schools in various natural calamity-affected areas of Uttarakhand.

Speaking to reporters after visiting a Government College here, she said: "As human beings, what we can do is extend help in whatever way possible."

In the state, the Foundation is currently focusing on livelihoods, education and healthcare for villagers and locals in Uttarakashi and Rudraprayag.

"For me the most important thing is to get children back to school. I believe primary and secondary education is the bedrock of any sustainable society... Education is our priority at this moment," she said.

Among others, the foundation has set up a mobile healthcare unit with another one getting ready.

When asked about inspiration for philanthropic activities, she said, "I just enjoy. I love what I do and don't want to change it for anything (else) in this world".

Reminiscing her younger days, Ambani said she came from a middle class family and those values still stay with her.

"My background is that I came from a middle class family and I think those values stay where ever you go," she said.

"When I was walking up, it was not difficult because we all had to walk to school, we did not have a choice when we were young," she said after making a steep climb to the Lawara school here.

Reliance Foundation plans to cover about 25,000 people (around 5,000 households) through its activities focused on providing livelihood for people in Uttarakhand.

The foundation would support construction of temporary shelters before the winter in 40 villages apart from helping in construction of community shelters in the coming months.

"On paper, there are some causes but when something like this happens, it does not matter. We just want to be there and help in whatever way we can," she said.

On the education front, the foundation would support rebuilding Government Inter Colleges at Lawara and Tainthi besides Takshshila public school at Agastmuni in Rudraprayag district.