UAE: Dubai-based businessman announces Dh7.5m Covid-19 fund for Kerala

Dubai - Indian businessman Ravi Pillai said part of the fund will be handed over to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

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By Saman Haziq

Published: Fri 11 Jun 2021, 5:54 PM

Last updated: Fri 11 Jun 2021, 7:06 PM

A non-resident Indian businessman has announced a Dh7.5 million Covid-19 assistance fund for offering monetary assistance to Keralites facing severe financial crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic, including those living in the UAE.

Billionaire Ravi Pillai, who is the chairman and managing director of Dubai based RP Group, a global conglomerate consisting of construction, hospitality, health care and wellness, education, shopping malls, trading, travels and IT companies, said that the group’s charity arm RP Foundation will disburse the amount through Norka Roots.

Speaking at a virtual press conference from Bahrain, Pillai said: “Many Malayalis, including those of the expatriate community, have fallen victim to the pandemic. Usually, the death of the breadwinner pushes his or her family into penury but in certain incidents, hapless children are orphaned. Many affected have approached me directly or through the foundation and so I have decided to set apart Dh7.5 million for offering financial help to such families.”

The group established the charitable RP Foundation and a large share of the group’s earnings are disbursed every year for the betterment of humanity. Since the beginning of the pandemic, RP Foundation has been actively taking part in the Covid relief work across various countries, Pillai said.

“We have been giving financial support including travel fare to many families stranded in different parts of the world. Apart from that, as a joint initiative with the Government of Kerala, we have set up a Covid treatment facility with 250 beds at Sankaramangalam School, Chavara. I understand that this is a period of profound crisis when one is expected to take care of the needy and the underprivileged. Hence, to me, easing their pain is of utmost importance and I believe that is my foremost duty as a fellow human being,” Pillai said.

Pillai added that part of the fund will be handed over to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. “Out of the Dh7.5 million, around Dh2.5 million will be handed over to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to be administered through Norka Roots. The rest of the Dh7.5 million will be used by the foundation to offer financial assistance to families facing severe financial crisis due to Covid; those finding it difficult to cover medical expenses; families unable to meet marriage expenses of their daughters; and financially strained widows.

“We aim to reach out to the maximum number of people who find it difficult to meet their financial needs, during this period of crisis,” said Ravi Pillai.

The RP Foundation was set up to coordinate the philanthropic activities of Ravi Pillai and to date, he has spent Dh.42.7 million on charitable activities. “Building houses to the homeless, offering scholarships to the bright students from a deprived background, covering marriage expenses of women from underprivileged families and offering them job are some of the activities the

Foundation, which is active in India and abroad, has taken up,” he said.

While guidelines for how can expatriates avail of this fund are yet to be announced by Norka, Malayalis in India can apply with a certificate from their minister, member of the legislative assembly, member of parliament or district collector at the following address: RP Foundation, P.B. No. 23, Head Post Office, Kollam – 01, Kerala, India. Alternatively, could email:

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