“Which factories in China can supply 10L oxygen concentrators? How can we pay my team in India whilst they are out of work? Can you join Zoom for the last rites of my mausi (maternal aunt)? Do you know anyone who can donate plasma with A+ blood group in Delhi? Which hospital has an available ICU bed in Dehradun?” #CovidSOS, #COVIDEmergency2021”
Since April 2021, Indians and volunteers have flooded Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, WeChat and other messaging and social media platforms with these urgent questions and hashtags. This is the result of the ongoing ferocious wave of COVID-19, which has resulted in at least 300,000 cases per day and thousands of deaths. Due to the lack of testing, poor infrastructure, and a fragmented public health strategy, estimates of infections and deaths greatly exceed publicly available data. The resulting hospitalization and need for medical oxygen have overwhelmed both the public and private healthcare infrastructure. This public health catastrophe dwarfs the current and past outbreaks in the U.S., Europe, and in Latin America and reflects the deadliest crisis in the history of India. To further complicate COVID relief, a cyclone has hit India and has led to further infrastructure and economic damage.
Today, the “new normal” in India does not include questions of, “when will we stop wearing masks” or “how will we restart face-to-face education?” Instead, many of our families, friends, and colleagues are facing the baffling realities of self-managed, intensive healthcare and performing last rites (virtually) for their family and community members. As one of our dear Indian community members, Dr. Rouble Rana, put it:
“Each day includes no less than five condolences messages, five requests for massive quantities of oxygen. The prayer emoji is abused at this point – because I’m pleading for resources from some whilst paying respects to others – in no less than 10 messages per day.”
India’s Fight is Our Fight: Calling friends, family, and colleagues around the world to support India
India’s COVID-19 catastrophe is not happening in a far-off place to far-off people. These are our friends, family, and colleagues. This crisis is happening in the world’s second largest population, third largest economy (by GDP), and a key Asia hub. From wellness and Ayurveda to entertainment and innovation, India touches all of us. Indian, expatriate, and Chinese communities alike are connected to India in meaningful ways. Indeed, we in Shanghai and others in Mainland of China have faced family separation, professional losses and strife, and the complexities of remote work and remote learning. However, these sacrifices pale in comparison to what our fellow humans are facing in India.
For these reasons and more, a group of Shanghai-based Indians and India supporters are collaborating in our shared fight against COVID-19 through a global campaign, A Breath for India. Through A Breath for India, we aim to: 1) Bring resources to India-based Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that are transparent and trustworthy, and 2) honor the resilience of India.
A Breath for India is kicking off with a dinner event in Shanghai on June 10th at the Grand Mercure Hotel, which will feature a raffle and a live auction with over 100 prizes, Indian live dinner stations and a buffet, Indian style bingo, performances, a DJ, and a dance floor. This India relief and awareness event is being made possible by incredibly generous sponsorships from our Shanghai community. Dozens of volunteers are preparing the prizes that over 100 businesses have sponsored for the massive raffle and live auction, Kebabs on the Grille is sponsoring the delicious Indian dinner (30% of dinner proceeds goes to India relief), and Nitin Dani’s Seeds of Change is supporting the facilitation of ticket and donation purchases.
In addition, this event is made possible by individual sponsorships from Amit and Manisha Bahirwani, Deena & Nilesh Parmar, and DJ Deep (Deepak Nautiyal). We invite all of you – old friends and new friends – to join us on June 10th to support India. We also invite anyone who cannot join on June 10th to purchase raffle tickets for the chance to participate in our raffle, which features at least 90 high-value food and beverage, wellness, travel, and lifestyle prizes.
June 10, 2021 @ 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Grand Mercure Hotel
369 Xianxia Road
Donate to 100% Transparent, 100% Trustworthy Non-Governmental Organizations
The best way to support India is to invite your friends, family, colleagues, and resource-rich businesses to support two transparent, trustworthy NGOs: Khalsa Aid and Mission Oxygen. The below organizations have international boards, transparent funding and spending mechanisms, and a longstanding track record of incredible community impact.
Khalsa Aid is an international NGO with the aim to provide humanitarian aid in disaster areas around the world and the Covid crisis in India is their current focus The organization is based upon the Sikh principle of “Recognize the whole human race as one.” They are currently supporting medical networks across India, comprising of established medical organizations, facilities, and NGOs who are working on the ground to assist COVID-19 patients. The first batch of 200 oxygen concentrators donated by Khalsa Aid has already landed in India, and more are on the way.
Mission Oxygen is helping hospitals save lives by procuring and donating oxygen concentrators, supplementing hospital infrastructure with oxygenation plants and other life-saving equipment. It is entirely funded by socially responsible citizens and distributed through a transparent, verifiable, and accountable channel. Mission Oxygen has already collected more than US$ 7 million, helped by 38,000 good Samaritans.
As we write this article, we are keenly aware that our fellow humans around the world are experiencing multiple horrific crises. COVID-19 has impacted hundreds of Brazilian children; Gazans are experiencing violence that they have not seen in years; and Colombians and the people of Myanmar are experiencing unprecedented social unrest. These women, children, and families are in our hearts. We look forward to supporting these and other communities facing hardship and uplifting one another in these unprecedented times.
On behalf of the Indian community in Shanghai and Indians worldwide, we thank the Shanghai Mamas team for bringing visibility to this global crisis, and we thank the Shanghai community for your commitment to join the global fight to support India.
With love and solidarity!
The Breath for India Organizing Team[Esha, Deepender, Hitesh, Girish, Nishtha, Priya, Robbie, Rouble, & Vini]