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Sushmita Kallakunta, who works as a frontline worker in the UAE, is the daughter of Ananda Kumar Kallakkunta (left), a senior operator at Kimoha Entrepreneurs. They were among those who addressed the 4th cycle of the Taqdeer Award ceremony in Dubai on Monday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: When Indian worker Ananda Kumar Kallakunta landed in Dubai 25 years ago, he didn’t expect his two-year-old daughter would be a frontline hero in the UAE during COVID-19 pandemic.

The 58-year-old from Hyderabad worked in Dubai as a simple worker, away from his family and daughter. He said that his work in Dubai helped him to cover the education expenses for his daughter Susmitha, 27, who grew up and came to Dubai as a medical coder before COVID-19 struck.

Kallakunta’s hard work paid off as he became a senior operator in Kimoha Entrepreneurs in Dubai and years later, he was one of the 55,000 excellent workers who were honoured during the fourth edition of the Taqdeer Awards on Monday.

The award is the world’s first points-based award programme for recognising excellence in labour welfare practices and seeks to enhance the relationship between companies and workers.

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“I was one of the employees who was selected and given the chance to speak on behalf of my blue collar community in the UAE. Special thanks to the government of Dubai,” Kallakunta said in a speech at the Taqdeer Award ceremony held at the World Trade Centre in Dubai. “When I joined Kimoha, working in a foreign country was a completely new experience for me. Being away from my family wasn’t easy.”

He said that he was able to facilitate his daughter’s education thanks to the opportunity provided to him by the UAE. “My daughter has completed her nursing studies and is also working in the UAE as a frontliner,” he added.

Ananda Kumar Kallakunta with his daughter Susmitha. Image Credit: Supplied

Kallakunta said that he worked his way up the career ladder to become a senior machine operator in the company. “Success requires a lot of hard work and dedication, as well as support from your company. My gratitude to the UAE is endless,” he said.

Meanwhile, Susmitha said that her father was a source of inspiration for her and to the family. “Thanks to the leadership of the UAE for giving equal opportunities to all expats. UAE is a peaceful, civilised and multicultural nation. I’m grateful for the career development that helped my father to provide education for me and the chance to come and work here,” said Susmitha, who works with the Saudi German Hospital.

She said she recently got married and her husband too is working in the UAE. “It is great serving this great nation with loyalty. Even in such difficult times, Dubai has given good care residents like us by providing free vaccinations,” added Susmitha. “My family and I shall continue to serve this country.”