Going beyond the call of duty
S. Thomson is an unassuming young man, fondly referred to as “anna” (a local term for elder/senior, in Tamil Nadu) – by young and old alike. Thomson doesn’t mind it, because implicit in this reverence is the faith and trust that he symbolises for the local community in Nemam, near Chennai. The man has a Master’s degree in Social Work and has had long stints with NGOs, before choosing to work for HCCB. Since 2005, when he first started interacting with the local community, Thomson is now the first port of call for any assistance or counsel, that the local community needs.
His day job is like that of any of any other Community Manager of this great Company. On a good day, he is mobilising resources, creating programs, collaborating with village elders and negotiating with his boss, to fund a whole host of community development programs in the Nemam village of Tamil Nadu. On a bad day like the ones in December 2015 - when a cyclone ravaged the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu - he stands tall with the local government administration to save lives.
Flood Rescue & Relief Operations:
In 2015, when a cyclone wreaked havoc in Tamil Nadu – the worst since 1918 – Thomson risked his own life to provide food, security and shelter to the residents of Chennai city and several villages around it. When the area was submerged in water, and was not conducive to transportation, electricity supply, food supply or medical aid, Thomson personally carried food stocks, beverages and medical supplies to the affected community, saving several lives. He provided succour and hope when they needed it the most.
Chennai and its peripheral districts were ravaged by four rounds of floods that brought unimaginable destruction and devastation. More than 500 people were killed, over 1.8 million displaced and more than 57,000 homes damaged. Supply of all necessities including water, electricity, and mobile networks, were completely shut for a week.
It is at this time that Thomson, sprang into action. Without bothering about the severity of the situation, he worked day and night braving the heavy rainfall to provide help and support to the local community. He coordinated for the distribution of HCCB’s flood relief kits to 2100 families in the area. He also supported the local administration in guiding them on relief and rehab work.
Today, when things are more peaceful, Thomson spends his day organising women empowerment programs; provides skill training to women and children; running vermicomposting centers, and supervising all the community projects implemented by BIG India, in that area.
People like Thomson bring to life the values of HCCB. No wonder that people trust him with their lives and livelihoods.