As the Covid-19 crisis intensifies in India, many organizations and individuals are stepping up to offer help in the situation. Philadelphia doctor Ruchika Talwar, a 28-year old resident at the University of Pennsylvania, has raised nearly $500,000 in just one week to send critical supplies directly to state-run hospitals in India. Feeling helpless in the face of the crisis, Talwar sent out a tweet and an email to 30 friends and family members with a fundraising goal in mind.
Her mother is a graduate of the Maulana Azad medical school in Delhi, so their goal was to send 50 oxygen concentrators, at a cost of $500 each, to their colleagues on the ground. Talwar says her phone was soon filled with thousands of messages of people eager to contribute. Even Penn Medicine, Talwar’s employer, initially pledged $50,000. “Inspired by Dr. Talwar’s efforts, in just six hours, the Penn community surpassed our $50,000 fundraising goal, enabling us to get to a $100,000 total donation to support her work and other groups providing aid to India in just the first day of our campaign.”
Now that her initial goal has been met, Talwar has been posting progress photos on her Instagram account so those who donated can see exactly where their money is going, when it’s going and how it’s making its way to the places that are in desperate need of them the most.
The nearly half a million they have raised has helped send oxygen concentrators, supplies and shipping arrangements directly to state-funded hospitals they’ve personally vetted. She plans to continue sending critical supplies to hospitals as long as the donations keep coming in.
Anurag Mairal, the director of global outreach programs at Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign at Stanford University, has also been raising awareness and helping raise donations on social media. Mairal has partnered up with Sewa International, a non-profit humanitarian effort he is a member of to help raise money for those hit hard by the pandemic in India.
Mairal, 51, said he has lost former neighbors and friends he grew up playing with back home in Chhattisgarh, a state in central India, to Covid-19. With his parents and sisters in India, Mairal said he’s even more committed to relief efforts in this second wave. The organization reached its 101,000-donor mark and raised over $7 million from its Help India Defeat COVID-19′ Facebook campaign. “I think it just shows that so many people care,” Mairal said. “We started with a modest monetary goal but quickly realized the needs on the ground were much worse.”
The country’s Covid-19 crisis has surpassed its peak, experiencing the world’s worst outbreak, with new cases staying well above 300,000 every day and continuously breaking the record for the highest single-day figure globally.