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Indian Man Opens Rice ATM

Ramu Dosapati spent his entire life savings supporting those in need.

In 2020, the sudden imposition of lockdown left many migrant workers in the Hyderabad region of India stranded without means of support. Dosapati, who lives with his family there and earns his living as a corporate HR executive, made it his mission to ensure the area’s struggling workers didn't go without food and other essential items.

It all started in April last year when Dosapati went to his local store to pick up the ingredients for his son’s birthday dinner. While at the shop, he noticed a woman buying an enormous quantity of chicken - close to $2,500 dollars’ worth, in fact.

Intrigued, he couldn’t resist asking her why she was buying so much poultry. As it turned out, the woman, a security guard who works at a camp for migrant workers, was buying it as a special treat for residents there who’d run out of food. “When I asked her about her salary, she said it was R6,000. That made me think that if a lady with R6,000 salary can spend R2,000 on the needy, why can’t I do the same?” Dosapati told Business Insider India.

In the next few days, Dosapati got to work. He went with the security guard to the place where the migrant workers were and made a list of 192 people who needed rations and other necessary items. “There were people who wanted to go back to their hometowns by walking over 400-500 kms, I asked them to stay back and told them I would help them out,” he said.

Undaunted, Dosapati cashed in part of his retirement fund but quickly realised it would only help people for a few days. So, in an extraordinary display of kindness and generosity, he cashed in the rest of his retirement fund. In all, that amounted to roughly $60,000 / £44,000, and, working with a local merchant, opened the Rice ATM cum food pantry. But Dosapati wasn’t finished.

While he’d been working toward moving his family into a larger home and had already sold a parcel of ancestral land to secure funding, when Dosapati learned yet another new group of workers had arrived seeking aid, with the blessings of his family, he put those dreams on hold.

“That’s when my wife supported me and asked me to go ahead and carry on with the initiative,” he said.

Over time, as word spread, there has been an outpouring of support from other groups and people to help his initiative, which Dosapati vets before taking any help. It’s been over 250 days since Dosapati has been running this initiative, and for now there’s stopping him.

The man who has truly put the “human” in human resources says he hopes to keep resources flowing for those in need for a long time to come.


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