OmanPride: Middle East-based Indian activist taking up cudgels for expatriates
September 12, 2017 | 7:52 PM
by Shruthi Nair
Sriniwas doesn’t consider his efforts to help people as a favour, but instead sees it as his duty.

If a person holding an important position cannot help others in need, then what’s the use of having it,” said T. R. Sriniwas an Indian activist based in the Middle East, who feels that it is his moral responsibility to help all the Indian expatriates in the region in the best possible way. “Because my job brought me to the Middle East, I thought why not help out the people living here. I started working on this and have met with a fair amount of success. Some of my success stories are from Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, where I have been rescuing housemaids, workers without salary, and others in dire need,” he said. “I also get cases of dead bodies (repatriation),” he added.

Sriniwas doesn’t consider his efforts to help people as a favour, but instead sees it as his duty. “I think it is the duty of every Indian to help a fellow Indian, who is in need here. I also ensure that in case of death, the mortal remains are sent back to the family on time,” he added.

Since 2014 Sriniwas has been actively involved in social work and has helped more than 150 people. “They get in touch with me on Twitter or Whatsapp, and send me their passport and visa copy. I check with the overseas employment to find out about the person. I also talk to the embassies and make sure that the follow-up is done,” he said. Initially Sriniwas didn’t want to be identified as a social worker but after having helped a person in Oman, the word spread and more and more people started seeking his help.

“There was a man from Kerala who was caught up with his employers and I extended my support in all possible ways to settle his issues. Later he passed on my contact details to the other Indian expats and that is how the news spread,” he explained.

The key to making sure that you actually help the distressed is by constant follow-ups. According to Sriniwas, you cannot just address an issue and then never look back at it. You need to constantly push it and review the progress of the situation.

“Constant follow-up with the authorities is essential, only then things can happen. The amount of hours I put in makes an impact,” he said. Women related issues is another problem that is close to Sriniwas’ heart. When I see any woman in trouble, it really hurts me and I try to figure it out with the embassy to help them,” he said. “Luckily, since I hold a position it makes it easier for me to be heard in the government and the ball starts rolling. The main aim is to always make a difference,” Sriniwas said.

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