13 Ways to Help India Fight its Devastating Second Wave of COVID-19

second wave

The worsening second wave of COVID-19 in India has surmounted that of any other country, with a total of more than 17 million cases recorded since the pandemic first began. The figure comes with devastating accounts of the lack of oxygen supplies in hospitals, concentrated in the country’s capital, New Delhi.

Despite the Indian government deploying trains and the Air Force to transport supplies, this deadly surge is a “devastating reminder” of how rapidly and terrifyingly death tolls can rise due to lack of medical supplies, government disorganization, and hospitals under-equipped to handle such an influx of patients. According to BBC reports, the hospitals in Delhi have warned that they are at a “breaking point,” with most intensive care units at capacity.

With hospitals completely full and medical professionals struggling to help every patient, the knockdown effect created is the price of oxygen cylinders and essential medicines skyrocketing on the black market. People are confined to their beds at home, struggling to breathe, with family members feeling hopeless at the state of COVID-19 relief. People are experiencing an unprecedented wave of grief, loss of life, and despair, with many still trying to process the effects of the first wave of COVID-19 that hit last year.

Although the COVID-19 crisis is concentrated in major cities in India, for many of us, the situation feels much closer to home. We may have friends or family who are shielding, staying indoors or struggling to find hospital beds, and the inescapable fear of simply not knowing if and when medical supplies will be provided is very valid and very real. It is upsetting to watch this crisis unfold, whether it be on our TV screens, broadcast channels, social media, or through phone calls. However, there is genuine action we can take to help India fight the second wave, no matter where we are in the world.

Lobby social media influencers to spread more awareness – their platform is a great way to share resources and locate regional help. We must do as much as we can, even if it is as little as donating money to buy oxygen cylinders, to help the ongoing fight against COVID-19, because the Diaspora communities can be powerful in their ability to unite in times of crisis.

We’ve compiled a non-exhaustive list of resources you can use to spread the word about the crisis. There are links to donate to on-the-ground operations working in the most affected cities and mutual aid fundraisers to help COVID-19 aid programs in India.

1. India Philanthropy Alliance 

The IPA is a coalition of 13 non-profit, philanthropic and charitable organizations including Pratham USA, Indiaspora, Magic Bus USA, and CRY American, to name a few. Each one mobilizes people and funding in the United States (and elsewhere) for development and poverty-reduction programs in India. Together, they enhance collaboration among organizations working to advance the development agenda in India.

Browse the list of organizations here.

2. The American Indian Foundation 

The American Indian Foundation launched a COVID relief plan, which focuses on launched today a three-pronged COVID relief plan focused on securing oxygen concentrators, ventilators, PPE, and pulse oximeters, setting up portable hospitals, sourcing cold-storage equipment to decentralized vaccine administration, raising awareness about vaccinations and COVID-19 prevention tactics, and mitigating nutrition gaps due to COVID-19 for women and children.

Link to donate here.

3. Arogya World

Arogya World is a global health non-profit organization working to prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs). During the pandemic, Arogya has focused on advancing the dialogue on workplace health and providing resources and information relating to COVID-19 relief.

Link to donate here.

4. Project ECHO 

Project ECHO, a healthcare initiative with the aim to mobilize underserved communities by democratizing knowledge, launched their COVID-19 Healthcare Professionals Initiative, which will connect healthcare professionals with institutions in search of human resources to join their battle against the pandemic. You can join either as a healthcare professional looking to help or as a healthcare facility in need of assistance.

5. WISH Foundation 

WISH Foundation has been addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in India in partnership with LEHS, a government-compliant, non-profit organization, delivering direct services through their 700+ clinics across the states of Assam, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, and reaching approximately 140 million Indians. WISH also provides advisory services and technical support to these states. It is looking to raise $1 million to deal with this deadly second wave.

Link to donate here.

6. GiveIndia

GiveIndia is currently raising funds for healthcare workers, patients, and all those suffering from the second wave of the Covid-19 crisis in India. There are many trusted campaigns that you can support — including donating oxygen tanks, sanitary napkins, and food. It initially launched India COVID Response Fund-1 in April 2020 raising Rs. 220 crore from individuals, foundations and corporations. With the second deadly wave now upon the nation, it has launched ICRF-2 to support gaps in healthcare and other critical needs.

Link to donate here

7. Goonj 

Goonj, which previously partnered with Indiaspora for the ChaloGive COVID-19 campaign to address the migrant worker crisis during the first wave of the pandemic, is responding to the continued COVID-19 crisis by raising funds and donating urgently needed materials, such as food, clothes, medicine, and more.

Link to donate here.

8. Ketto.org 

Ketto is an Indian crowdfunding site currently focused on raising funds for oxygen supplies for Indian hospitals — it includes more than 4,000 fundraisers that have raised more than $19 million. Every bit counts — find one that speaks to you and share it with your family and friends.

Link to donate here

9. The Save Life Foundation 

The Save Life Foundation (SLF) is working with the Delhi government to distribute oxygen concentrators to facilities in need in India that are not being served by the first shipments of oxygen expected. The Bay Area Indian community is also supporting this effort, according to Congressman Ro Khanna.

Link to donate here

10. The Desai Foundation

The Desai Foundation empowers women and children in India through health, community development and educational programs. Led by Megha Desai, the foundation is urging the community to help it raise $250,000 to speed up its ongoing COVID relief efforts across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan. From making and distributing masks to procuring vaccinations and oxygen to creating a pipeline of work-from-home opportunities, the nonprofit is doing what it can to bring immediate attention and care to its 1,000+ local communities in India.

Link to donate here.

You can also order a Mother’s Day box from Brown Girl Magazine‘s newest LadkiPower x Masala my Life gift box in partnership with The Chai Mommas, from which we will donate 25% of the revenue to the Desai Foundation to help them fight against COVID-19 in India.

11. Khalsa Aid

Khalsa Aid is a popular U.K.-based international nonprofit humanitarian organization providing support to victims of natural and manmade disasters around the world. Their recent efforts have heavily focused on supporting farmers’ protests in India and are now providing medical oxygen in Delhi for free through a new hotline service they launched last week.

“We have decided to give free of cost oxygen concentrators for COVID-19 patients who are in home isolation in Delhi as patients are in dire need of oxygen in government and private hospitals,” said Amarpreet Singh, director, Khalsa Aid Project (Asia Chapter).

Link to donate here.

12. Hemkunt Foundation

The Hemkunt Foundation has recognized the need of the hour and started distributing Oxygen Cylinders to COVID-19 patients only for free. Support the cause so we can save more lives.

Link to donate here.

13. Mazdoor Kitchen

Mazdoor Kitchen is a citizen-run voluntary initiative, working to provide meals and subsistence to daily wage workers in North Delhi. Run by a dedicated team of volunteers comprising professors, students, artists and people from the community itself, it has been providing meals and ration kits to hundreds of people across North Delhi, ever since the beginning of the lockdown.

Link to donate here

Although the situation in India is heavy on our hearts, we must also take a moment to appreciate the incredible work of everyday citizens, healthcare professionals, charities, and grassroots organizations who have gone above and beyond in their tireless work to spread awareness and allocate resources to those who need it most. We have seen the power of social media at full play, with many of us in the diaspora communities sharing resources and information that may help the situation at home. Please donate, share, campaign, and do what you can to help.

By Ketki Mahabaleshwarkar

Ketki currently studies Classics and English Literature at King’s College London. She is the deputy editor-in-chief of Strand Magazine, KCL’s … Read more ›