As many of you might be aware, last month India became the new global epicentre of the pandemic. Given its 1.38 billion-strong population, it is experiencing a health and humanitarian catastrophe of unimaginable magnitude. Hospitals are full, beds and ambulances unavailable, doctors and nurses burned out. There is a massive shortage of oxygen and life-saving drugs. People are gasping for breath, dying on the streets, in cars and rickshaws. Crematoriums are operating beyond their capacity, gravediggers working round the clock—in the country that happens to be the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.
In late February, COVID-19 was ranked as the 24th cause of death in India. After mid April it rose to the second position, behind only ischemic heart disease. As the WHO asserts, this second wave of the coronavirus in the country (the first peaked in September 2020) is the result of a “perfect storm” of conditions. Triumphalism, complacency on the part of the public, failures of the government, ill-timed religious gatherings and political rallies—all of these have certainly had a role to play.
But perhaps the most distressing factor is the aggressiveness of the new variant itself, which has been linked to increased transmissability and an ability to evade the immune system. Even those who have followed all the rules and regulations are being rendered helpless in this surge. It is not just the elderly who are suffering but 35-year-old fathers of toddlers who are on ventilators, 20-day-old infants who are hovering between life and death. Due to the nature of this illness, many are unable to comfort and attend to loved ones during their last moments.
The contagion has spread from big cities to small towns to rural areas. Grief and fear are everywhere. The official statistics of confirmed cases and deaths from the infection are far, far away from reality. In many regions, people with symptoms cannot even get tested, and hospitals—if they do have some space at all—will only consider you if the report is positive.
It is heartening to see that so many have been moved by the harrowing visuals and urgent appeals. Aid is pouring in from nations both developed and developing, big corporations and powerful members of the diaspora. Within the country, the most ordinary of citizens are exhibiting extraordinary heroism. More and more needs to be done. In a crisis like this, there can never be “too much” help.
As somebody with a growing media platform and audience, I believe I should do my little part. Tens of thousands of you from all over the world open this site every month for education or fun—students, academics, influential figures in the cultural sector, well-established businessmen and businesswomen from a range of industries. It gives me immense joy as I track you from Los Angeles to Paris, from Moscow to Hong Kong. I would be very happy if some of you took a moment and contributed in whichever way you could to relief efforts aimed at addressing this emergency. I have put together a short list of reputed charitable initiatives that are providing support to those in need.
This post shall remain pinned on top as I continue to publish regular art-related content.
- GiveIndia – India’s largest and most trusted donation platform with 1.5M+ donors and 150+ corporate partners supporting 2,000+ nonprofits impacting 10M+ lives. COVID-related priorities include boosting of oxygen supply, food for struggling families, cash support to relatives of the deceased, the provision of sanitary napkins, etc.
- ACT – A social change movement for the startup ecosystem in India. COVID-related priorities include fixing the acute shortage of oxygen supply, improving telemedicine and home quarantine, bolstering medical manpower and helping to scale up vaccination rates.
Donation link: actgrants.in/donate
- CARE India – Non-profit with a 70-year presence in India. During FY 2019-20, CARE India directly reached out to 50.4 million people directly through 53 projects across 19 states, covering more than 90 districts. COVID-related priorities include the procurement of PPE kits and critical medical equipment and setting up of temporary COVID hospitals and care centres.
- UNICEF India – UN body dedicated to the health and safety of children. COVID-related priorities include the procurement of essential life-saving equipment like oxygen concentrators, RT-PCR testing machines and oxygen generation plants.
Donation link: help.unicef.org/in/covid-critical-supplies
- Oxfam India – Global movement that is focussed on ending discrimination and creating a free and just society in India. COVID-related priorities include distribution of PPE kits and installation of medical equipment at government institutions (hospitals/health centres), engaging with policymakers over vaccine costs, reaching out to stranded workers, imparting skilll-based, livelihood training for women, etc.
Donation link: www.oxfamindia.org/coronavirus
- Akshaya Patra Foundation – Established in 2000, this NGO aims at fighting malnutrition in disadvantaged communities. COVID-related priorities include the provision of cooked meals and grocery kits to daily wage workers, migrant labourers, construction site workers, those in old age homes and night shelters.
Donation link: www.akshayapatra.org/covid-relief-services
Additionally, several fundraisers could be found on the following crowdfunding platforms:
Donation link: milaap.org/communities/covid-19
Donation link: covid19.ketto.org
Donation link: www.donatekart.com/allcampaigns
Thank you and much love,