IIMB Covid Warrior: Sharad Tibdewal, MPEFB 2010

There are several stories of people from the society doing their bit to fight the pandemic and health crisis due to the second wave of Covid-19. Sharad Tibdewal is one such name in the list of covid warriors, who has pledged to come forward in the drive to give back to society.

Through this interview, we would like to acknowledge his efforts in strengthening the community in the battle against Covid.

Please tell us something about yourself.

I stay in Mumbai with my family. I am a rainmaker, troubleshooter and entrepreneur. I had a corporate life for almost 2 decades before I started my own venture “HopInTown” in the lifestyle, hospitality, leisure & recreation vertical market. Professionally, I like designing new solutions to solve problems. Personally, I like traveling & exploring new things with family & friends and building relationships with people.

Can you please tell us about your company HopInTown?

HopInTown is a Lifestyle Hub to discover & book ONLINE, AT-HOME, LOCAL and TRAVEL Experiences, Activities & Trips all year-round. It is a platform for experiences, activities & trips that one CAN DO online, at-home, within the city, nearby city, within the country and outside the country, ACROSS MULTIPLE CATEGORIES like Celebration, Romance, Entertainment, Events, Dine & Wine, Sports, Adventure, Staycation, Getaway, Cruise, Vacation Rentals, Wildlife, Experiential Trips, Health, Fitness, Wellness, Yoga, Hobbies, Workshops etc, THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. [ [ www.hopintown.com ]

We are now moving towards a first-of-its-kind “subscription-based” lifestyle membership business model which provides unlimited access to an unrivaled package of exclusive LIFESTYLE benefits & privileges with preferential rates for ONLINE, AT-HOME, LOCAL and TRAVEL experiences, activities, trips and bespoke services.

Our vision is to enrich the lives of people with memorable moments & elevate their lifestyles with meaningful & immersive experiences. To create stories & make memories with loved ones. To collect moments, not things. To get inspired & do unusual things in life. To move away from the mundane & do magical things in life.

You have been very active with the covid relief work – Can you please tell us more about it.

Realizing the need to come forward and help people during the pandemic, our company started an initiative called “Helping Hands” to bring important services & useful information (using our partner network) to our customers, service partners, family, friends as well as unknown people who needed help in general. This was in the area of finding doctor(s) for teleconsultation, setting up ICU at home, identifying isolation and quarantine facilities, helping people to find jobs and livelihood, assisting companies to migrate to the work-from-home model and a lot of other initiatives.  

Can you please tell us about the various activities and tasks taken up by IIMBAA towards Covid relief?

As part of the COVID initiatives, IIMBAA has launched the “Donate A Vax” program aimed at early vaccination of 100,000 people from the under-privileged and under-served sections of the society. Such poor & needy people do not have access to CO-WIN app, may not have easy access to walk-in vaccination facilities, may not have govt ids, have a high level of vaccine hesitancy, cannot afford hospital expenses if infected etc. Hence it is paramount to vaccinate such poor & needy people on a war-footing basis.

We are bolstering the efforts of the central & state govt by helping them build the capacity & speed up the vaccine delivery for poor & needy people. We have tied up with a company called Vaccine On Wheels which provides IIMBAA with a dedicated team of doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and ambulances to administer the vaccine. We take “free” vaccines from the state municipality and using our dedicated team (via Vaccine on Wheels) we take that vaccine to the doorstep of the poor & needy to help them vaccinate at a faster pace. Donation collected from alumni, family, friends, corporates and people at large is used towards this dedicated team of healthcare professionals to administer the vaccine at the doorstep of such needy community.

We concluded a pilot project for 500+ people over 4 days in Pune covering sanitation workers, orphans, addicted people, disabled people, leprosy patients and old people. This was fully supported by the alumni from Pune Chapter. We will be starting our first project to vaccinate 15,000+ people in the Pune region from the 2nd week of July 2021. And thereafter similar vaccination projects in other cities across India.

What are the key differences in relief efforts between the two waves?

The first wave caught people by complete surprise because nobody had seen this kind of pandemic in their lives. The relief effort was directed towards understanding the dos & don’ts of the disease, social distancing, isolation, mental health, working from home, providing economic & financial relief, building healthcare infrastructure, etc.

The second wave was more virulent than the first one and unfortunately, we had not learned enough from the first wave. The relief effort was directed towards oxygen requirement, hospital beds, ventilators, life-saving medicines, plasma, ambulance, etc. The second wave was disastrous and more painful than the first wave.

Is there any ask of alums?

We would like to encourage our alumni within India and across the world to spread the message of the “Donate A Vax” program by IIMBAA within their personal & professional network. Every 1000 rupees donation will help us vaccinate 4-6 people from underprivileged and under-served sections of society. A vaccinated society is a strong society and we should do our bit to take the vaccine to their doorstep and help in the early vaccination of this needy community.

Please follow this link to contribute: Donate A Vax

Your message for the alumni community.

People who help are happier & healthier in life. Just go out and help people in whatever way you can. It will be the most satisfying experience in your lifetime. I say this from personal experience of helping thousands of people during the pandemic. 

A life lesson that the pandemic has taught you, that you would like to share?

Family matters more than we realized. Family may be the best medicine of all. Generations of people can live together and care for each other in a family. The world has changed forever but it has brought families closer to each other.