Written By: Pearl Raichura and Isha Shah
The outbreak of COVID-19 led the United States’ unemployment rate to jump to a percentage even higher than the rate that followed the 2008 financial crisis. While many people remained unemployed, finding a new job persisted, causing the country to face a great deal of financial and emotional trouble. As this unfortunate situation continued to hurt Americans, two Swayamsevaks from Minnesota, Ajay Singh Ji and Ramprasad Ji, realized that they could assist the unemployed search for new jobs through a group chat that would offer possible training and opportunities for people searching for work. Calling their project “SEWA for Job Seekers,” the two created a WhatsApp group that would allow people to share and look for information regarding new jobs within the Minnesota area.
The development of SEWA for Job Seekers was simple. It was a WhatsApp group where people could add themselves to find out more information regarding job opportunities in the Minnesota area. When Ajay Ji and Ramprasad Ji added others to the group chat, it allowed others to collaborate to find jobs that fit their criteria. In addition to offering job openings, the WhatsApp group shared opportunities for training as well. Since Ajay Ji and Ramprasad Ji were also busy with their jobs. They designed SEWA for Job Seekers to be a self-sufficient means of aiding the unemployed. Whenever group members became aware of someone who wished to join the group, they could easily invite new people by sharing the link. With this experience, Ajay Ji learned many valuable skills, including communication, problem-solving, and persuasiveness. He mentioned that he would carry these lessons with him even beyond this project and apply them to his daily life. The idea for the project came roughly two months ago when Ajay Ji asked himself, “What can we do from home that will help people during the pandemic?” As he reflected on this question, he recognized the unemployment crisis that plagued the country. Resolved to improve the situation, Ajay Ji and his partner Ramprasad Ji created a group chat and reached out to a number of their contacts as well as SEWA International and the Hindu I.T. Professional
The U.S. for assistance with their project. Ajay Ji noted that it was difficult to convince certain people to join, and only a small number of people participated. Despite this initial rough start, the group started to grow as time passed; after the initial few weeks, the group burst with activity as the members gladly used the resources provided and shared the link of the WhatsApp chat to new people who might need it. SEWA for Job Seekers allowed many people to find themself a job during a time when jobs were scarce.
SEWA for Job Seekers was a sustainable and powerful tool established by Ajay Ji and Ramprasad Ji which provided work to many during a pandemic. It was designed to aid the unemployed population, find jobs suited to personal needs, and help rebuild the local economy.
Ajay Ji and Ramprasad Ji felt it was their duty to help the community and perform SEWA during troubling times, especially considering that they had secure jobs while many other people did not. While the WhatsApp group’s precise impact on the region cannot be measured due to the project’s autonomous nature, it was a helpful resource for citizens of the Minnesota area who were looking for jobs. The leaders of this project noticed that a domino effect occurred; once one person benefited from the WhatsApp group, they told their friends, who in turn benefitted and told others about it.
SEWA for Job Seekers is an innovative idea trying to solve one of the indirect crises created by the COVID-19 pandemic. With over 100 people in the WhatsApp group after 2 months of operation, SEWA for Job Seekers will remain for as long as it is needed by the local community. As it continues, Ajay Ji and Ramprasad Ji’s project will continue to improve lives and bring hope to the people in the area when needed.