Afflicted people gasping for breath, hospitals sending SOS calls for oxygen aid, the medical system crippled while meeting the needs of ever more patients than existing resources can provide for… that’s what the pandemic is leading to nationwide. In the face of this extreme crisis, Indians across the world have stepped up and rallied together to get resources and critical medical aid to their motherland.
The Indian diaspora in Switzerland has set about mobilizing its own resources in multiple ways. Namaste Switzerland highlights the attempts and humbly requests you to join in – in the attempt to make India strong again.
Fundraising for oxygen concentrators
Geneva-based Dr Neerajana Doda, together with Sunita Kour, Harsha Chourey, Peenal Ashar, Moushree Dey, Ruby Bakshi Khurdi, Piyush Shah, Rahin Noor, Bella Bhatia and Pooja Bogadi, started a fundraiser with the goal to send oxygen concentrators to India. Over the span of a week, the Switzerland wide team raised over CHF 50,000 and sent their first consignment of 13 oxygen concentrators to India. The second consignment of 9 units was sent as recently as May 5, and another of 11 units on May 7. Initially, the team had set a goal of CHF 10,000 – the donations flooded in and the target was reached within 24 hours.
“The smallest action speaks louder than words. Action is the need of the hour,” says Dr Neerajana Doda.
As the initiative rolled out, the team started getting requests from the Indian community in Switzerland to send oxygen concentrators to their friends and families back home in India. This led to the team providing a self-procurement manual and, in some cases, even providing the required logistics.
Says Dr Doda, “As a doctor myself, I reached out to my colleagues in the medical profession in India, and made sure that we were sending the shipments out to the right people. Our team members have been pooling in information about our sources back in India. We are trying to send the units to organisations that are well trusted. In addition, we are trying our best to send the units across the country; at the moment, there is a higher demand for oxygen aid in Delhi, but we are also sending units to states such as West Bengal, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, etc.”
Oxygen concentrators are the need of the hour in India. The medical device captures and filters the ambient air around you. Working on a continuous power supply, these devices draw in air and pass it through a molecular sieve to concentrate oxygen to therapeutic levels for the patients. A temporary solution to administer critical oxygen to those battling Covid-19, these oxygen concentrators can be reused and passed on to those who need it the most. The team hopes that the units are used as such and not misused (such as, by way of hoarding or reaching the black market).
The team has also received requests from the medical fraternity in India for masks and nasal cannulas. They will be sending 50 re-breathable masks. Part of the funds raised has been sent for oxygen tanks in Uttarakhand, where voluntary organisations are working on setting up hospitals with oxygen beds.
Dr Doda has a message for our readers, “I would like the Indian diaspora to understand that the doctors are doing their best and they should trust the Indian medical fraternity. Doctors are doing the best that they can, despite falling ill and losing their own loved ones. All frontline workers need your support and help.”
Know more about the fundraiser and contribute to it, if you would like to, at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-india-breathe-again
Humane Warriors – providing oxygen supply, community kitchens & food kits
‘Humane Warriors’ came into existence in Zurich during the 2020 lockdown in India that had forced several millions of people into poverty and hunger. The Zurich-based association is now a 50-member strong team, with volunteers from around the globe. The team has been working on fundraising and project execution for hunger relief during the Covid-19 crisis. They also help provide education and livelihood support to marginalized communities in India.
We have previously featured the team’s Fight Hunger campaign, which was initiated by Zurich-based Rhythima Shinde and Naveen Shamsudhin in 2020.
Now, with India’s mounting oxygen crisis, the team has made oxygen aid a priority. Says Malvika, a team member, “We have been allocating around 2/3 of the funds raised towards oxygen aid and 1/3 towards food – this allocation can change based on the need of the hour. We have a very open system for fundraising, and the fundraiser is updated with a transparency document that can be accessed by all.”
The team has partnered with NGOs and volunteers, such as Punjab-based ‘Chotti Si Asha’, with whom they started a micro-credit facility, and have also given out 10 loans worth INR 1.5 lakhs. These collaborations have been evolving over time. “Our goal is to create self-resilient communities,” says Malvika.
This April, the team took an informed decision to raise funds to provide oxygen to critically ill patients. Based on expert advice from doctors on the ground, they have plans to supply oxygen cylinders or oxygen concentrators to critical patients who have low SpO2 levels.
Know more and, if you’d like, contribute to the fundraiser here: https://wemakeit.com/projects/help-india-breathe.
(updated link: https://donorbox.org/help-india-breathe-humane-warriors)
Says Malvika, to our readers, “Every small bit makes a huge difference, it will all add up very quickly”.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation Switzerland’s COVID relief campaign: fighting hunger in the face of the crisis
The Akshaya Patra Foundation, in close coordination with the Indian State Governments and District Administration, has stepped in to provide relief through the COVID crisis by providing food to thousands of people across the country. The foundation has been leveraging its 55 kitchens across the country along with partners, volunteers, local authorities and mainly community support and affiliate charities. Since March 2020 – Akshaya Patra has served over 125 million meals across India to daily wage workers, migrant labourers, construction site workers, homeless mothers, children, needy people at old age homes and night shelters.
Adhering to safety and hygiene measures, Akshaya Patra continues this relief service by providing meals or packed grocery kits to marginalised and low-income segments of the society. As schools remain closed, mid-day meals are distributed as ‘Happiness Bags’ to families with children. These bags contain enough grocery to support a family of 4 for one month. The bags also contain hygiene kits, immunity-boosting foods for children, and sanitary napkins for the womenfolk in the house.
TAPF Switzerland chapter was founded in 2020 under the umbrella of the TAPF UK. The team is led by Baden-based Vauhini Telikapalli and 3 members in the executive team – Aruna Kapoor, Rajesh Chavan and Manasa Mukka. With the help of volunteers, TAPF has raised over CHF 10,000 for the COVID relief with the help of online concerts and cultural events.
Click the link here to help Akshaya Patra continue to feed the people in need: https://tapf.ch/covid-relief-india.
These organised efforts go to prove that a little can go a long way. We, at Namaste Switzerland, feel the need to herald these men and women responsible for direct impact in India. We urge you, our readers, to support these causes and help India with timely donations.
Together, we can make a difference!
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