Start-Up’s response to Crisis : Sajilo COVID Relief Fund


COVID-19 Pandemic has disrupted business operations – impacting business supply-chain, customer service, adoption of technology and safety protocols.The socio-economic impact of COVID-19 has been tremendous. A latest study commissioned by the UN Development Programme in Nepal and conducted by Institution for Integrated Development Studies showed that 3 in 5 employees in Nepal, lost their jobs due to COVID-19. To survive, businesses now have to formulate agile short-term plans to meet everyday challenges of uncertain market conditions.

A trade- off between health and economy has threatened the survival of several start-ups, SMEs and MSMEs, subsequently leaving many vulnerable to unemployment and job losses. To get a closer look into the matter spoke to Mr. Kawish Shrestha, Co-Founder of Sajilo Marmat Sewa (SMS) , Nepal’s first Online Service Marketplace that bridges the gap between the demand and supply for high quality home and office maintenance services by connecting customers to the blue collar professional technicians.

At its  core, SMS is a caring organization that  is deeply committed to  provide blue collar workers with fair pay and dignity of labor.  The economic and emotional stress of the Pandemic has been tremendous especially on Technicians or Sajilo Partners who depend on social interaction to deliver their service. The start-up has responded to this situation by undertaking COVID Safety Trainings and by establishing Sajilo COVID Relief Fund.

“The most important asset of an organization is it’s people. If you take care of your people your company grows.” – Kawish Shrestha, CO-founder Sajilo Maramat Sewa.

In the initial months of the lock-down,  opportunities to execute business operations for Sajilo Marmat Sewa was restricted. Without civil movement, it was impossible  to deliver their service, so the company had to adopt new protocols. They had to operate despite the lock-down. Kawish Shrestha, co-founder of SMS added, “Majority of us are working from home virtually which further adds the need of our service to the customers. Hence we approached for pass at the district office and started our operations to some extent in the second month of lock-down”

However, restarting the services was just the beginning. They now had to ensure that their customers as well as technicians felt safe in an unsafe environment. For which Sajilo Maramat Sewa conducted a “COVID Safety Training” for their 65 partner technicians in collaboration with Nepal Health Station. The major objective of the training program was to ensure safety of all the technicians during this pandemic. The session was  aimed at training the technicians or first-hand respondents to be able to provide ‘Safe low contact service’ to its customers.

Another important initiative taken by Sajilo Marmat Sewa is Sajilo Covid Relief Fund. Shrestha says, “Many freelancing technicians dependent on us for jobs and we felt really helpless in the first few weeks after the lock-down was announced. They are daily wage workers and with the nation in lock-down,  they were the ones suffering the most. Also, we cannot guarantee that this kind of situation will not take place in the future. So, to ensure that at least the basic needs of the technicians are fulfilled we came up with Sajilo COVID Relief Fund.

Sajilo Covid Relief Fund is an initiative taken by Sajilo Marmat Sewa, Franziska Dietel, MindGrowth and Idea Studio to ensure that the daily wage technicians and their families can survive the pandemic and other such unprecedented situations which disastrously affects people at the bottom of the pyramid. Through this fund, SMS aims to provide their technical partners with safety nets against the economic shocks. Sajio Maramat Sewa (SMS) has contributed 100, 000 NPR from company-side to the SMS Covid 19 Relief Fund. Additionally,  1,550 EUR has been donated to “SMS Covid Relief Fund.” This has helped them to provide the technicians with all the safety equipment and training. Furthermore, via this fund, the company plans to provide  interest free loans to their technicians which they can pay back in the form of their skills and labor.

Daily wage workers barely have any economic means to deal with family health  and economic emergencies. You can contribute to Sajilo COVID Relief fund  MAKE YOUR DONATION HERE