In 2020, during the nationwide lockdown, we were all witness to Sonu Sood*s relentless aid as he helped thousands of migrant workers return to their home towns. Two years on, the actor continues to lend a helping hand to the marginalised. Today, his Sood Foundation has expanded scope to help deserving students secure admission in colleges.
As part of the initiative last year, the actor tied up with seven to eight institutions in every state, with an emphasis on Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. "Students reach out to the foundation with their documents, after which the [selection] process begins. The experts we are associated with select candidates on the basis of their academic records. So far, we have tied up with CT University in Ludhiana, Guru Nanak University in Telangana, Budha University in Karnal, and many more," he shares.
The foundation*s role goes beyond being a medium between the student and the college. Sood*s team pores over the details to understand if an aspirant is the right fit for the institution, keeping various factors in mind. "In some cases, students living in north India are willing to travel to the south if they can get admission in their preferred course. Other times, they can*t afford boarding or hostel costs, so they prefer to study in their home state. We do our homework, find appropriate institutions, and meet their representatives so that they can guide the students." While some universities offer scholarships, The actor, on occasions, bears some students* expense by endorsing the institution. "So far, we have helped about 21,500 students across the fields of engineering, CA, BTech and many others," he beams.
While he is guiding the next generation to better opportunities, he is also upskilling the current generation, enabling them to find better jobs through his platform Pravasi Rojgar. "Through the platform, we try to get opportunities for job seekers. I have been in conversation with export houses and pharma companies in Delhi, Ghaziabad and Tirupur [to avail opportunities for aspirants]. I have also launched a company called Good Worker. Here, applicants are trained in various skills, from plumbing to electrical maintenance and coding. After they complete their training, we help them get jobs."
When Sood began relief work in May 2020, he didn*t know where this journey would take him. Today, he is content, knowing that he is doing his bit for society. "I pray to God to keep guiding me, and hope that more people join me in this mission to help fellow Indians. All I can say is that this is 100 times more satisfying than being a part of the biggest blockbuster."