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Community Endeavour in action: IDP emerging leader arranges repatriation flights to India

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, it left millions of expat workers in the United Arab Emirates without work or a way home, including 2.5 million Indian expat workers. 

Ravi Chand, IELTS Operations Manager for the UAE and Qatar at IDP (pictured centre) decided that, with no regular flights operating, he needed to help people return home from the UAE to India. 


Mr Chand saw there was an urgent need for repatriation flights and decided to take charge in identifying a solution. Through engagement with various stakeholders, Ravi worked with not-for-profit communities in the UAE to raise AUD$100,000. He engaged and sought approval from airport authorities, the government and a flight operator to charter flights. 


The group charted 30 flights between the UAE and India, and more than 5,000 people were repatriated. They worked to prioritise people and subsidised tickets through the money raised. 


The project also helped to push other organisations to get involved and influenced the Indian government to increase flights. The outcome saw more than 300 flights arranged by similar groups and the Indian government. 


Ravi said that he learnt the value of community work, and how starting small can help. 


“Community work truly does create a chain reaction, once you start, others will join, he said. 


“It was remarkable to see more and more organisations mobilise their own resources to help the expat community to return home to their loved ones.” 


During his time with IDP, Ravi has become a highly respected leader amongst his colleagues. His talent and passions were recognised in FY19 as a recipient of the Maher El Bakry Emerging Leaders Award. 


For his work during COVID-19, Ravi has also been nominated for an IDP Community Endeavour award, recognising outstanding contributions to the development of local communities.  


You can read more about IDP’s Community Endeavour awards here.

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