Recognizing our heroes
Our teams show their passion for their local communities every day, but no more so than when our communities were expressing real need during the Covid-19 pandemic. As we recognize World Humanitarian Day, we want to celebrate some of our own heroes, as we share stories of people who made an impact during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the past two years, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the lives of people all over the world, especially those in India where they faced an oxygen crisis for those who were critically ill. Across India, hospital beds and critical medical supplies ran out, contributing to more loss in an already devastating situation.
To help people in Bangalore during the Covid-19 pandemic, Nagaraj Bayanna, Software Engineer on our Blue Planet Enterprise team, purchased N95 face masks and warm blankets and distributed them among those who were suffering. “Normally, village people, especially elderly people who do not have children or are left alone, sleep without blankets, which is very dangerous especially during the winter season,” explains Nagaraj. “When I visited my hometown, I saw this and decided to provide blankets for them so that they could sleep more comfortably. When I gave them these blankets, I witnessed joy in their faces, which meant a lot to me.”
Just as Nagaraj felt this need to help those around him during a difficult and devastating time, fellow colleagues across the globe worked to provide relief for their friends in India. Josh Fournier, Manager of IT Strategy & Planning, located in Ottawa, Canada built a garden box to raise money to help those in India. For every hour that Josh spent building the garden box, he received $25 in giving dollars from our Ciena Cares volunteering and giving program to donate to the humanitarian effort in India. . Josh received an incredible response after sharing his efforts with our community. A simple garden box showed our people’s unity in helping our friends and colleagues in India as they were inspired by Josh’s efforts and donated to help the cause. Josh then gave the garden box away to another fellow employee who had been moved by his efforts. “Not only did we deliver a sizeable chunk of change to humanitarian effort in India to help our family, friends and colleagues, but we each got some personal gratification of being part of it,” said Josh.
Another employee, Ron Kline, Director of Portfolio Marketing, from the United States, created the Ciena Go Crazy Hair Challenge, daring his fellow colleagues to re-style their hair into a bold, new look to raise money for the Covid-19 crisis in India. Ron posted his new crazy do with ‘Before’ and ‘After’ photos on our internal employee website and challenged others to join him to gain their family and friends’ support.Along with Josh and Ron’s efforts, we encouraged all our employees globally to donate to non-profits and organizations supporting the Covid-19 response through our Ciena Cares program. We matched all our employees’ giving dollars at three times the original donation amount. Additionally, we were able to have oxygen concentrators available for all our employees and their family members, and donated PPE kits to the Municipal of Gurgaon along with our partner NASSCOM Foundation.
To help prioritize the health of our people, we provided resources to schedule a vaccination appointment and introduced a Pandemic Leave policy of 20 business days at full pay for our people to recover or to help care for a family member with Covid-19.
If an employee or family member tested positive for Covid-19, all home quarantine expenses were covered under our medical insurance plans. We also provided resources to check for the availability of hospital beds so they would know once one became available. In addition, we offered our people and their families cab support which provided transportation to get oxygen cylinders filled and medicines and groceries delivered to their homes.
Despite the difficult past couple years, our people in India and around the world have taken the time to reconnect and be active in their communities, helping underprivileged students, families, women and the homeless. They inspire us all to walk away from hard times with positivity and a desire to help make others’ lives better.