I hope you are keeping safe and healthy. I write this edition of our newsletter with a heavy heart. You probably are following the news coming out of India. It is actually worse than what it appears on your screen. India is a largely rural country and a lot of people who are suffering and dying from COVID-19, are not even reported. At this point, practically everyone I know in my home country has the illness, had COVID multiple times, or has a family member who didn't survive it (including my father-in-law).
People are asking me - What happened? How did it get so bad? I say lack of infrastructure, complacency, and reopening too soon. Once people were told to get vaccinated (only 2% of the population has received the 2nd dose so far), and resume normal business, the virus mutated into many different strains and spread like wildfire. My friends and family in India tell me that hospital beds are at capacity, oxygen cylinders are selling in the black market for 10 times the cost, and pharmacies are shelling out fake medications. They have witnessed poor people arriving at the hospitals in rickshaws and passing away at the entrance. Last rites and funeral services for COVID related deaths are also not allowed.
I know this is a very grim picture, one you probably don't want to read about in a travel newsletter. But I want to offer you ways to help India, where we offer experiences to. Some of you have traveled with me to India, met my friends and grandma, volunteered at our women's shelter and orphanage. Maybe you joined one of our Go Eat Give Destination India dinners, purchased our colorful t-shirts, or donated to our causes. I think many of you readers have very positive perception of India and now its time for your help. Wherever you may be in the world, you can make a difference in someone's life in a few ways:
DONATE TOWARDS FOOD
The organisation feeds the homeless and those who have lost incomes. Operates in Mumbai, Maharashtra
Focusing their efforts on Nagpur in Maharashtra, Seva Kitchen feeds daily wage workers who have lost their incomes and cannot afford to feed themselves and their families.
DONATE TOWARDS OXYGEN
This project is providing hospitals and patients with oxygen and related supplies across India.
This project aims to provide oxygen concentrators, refill oxygen cylinders and help COVID centres and charitable hospitals with supplies of N95 masks, PPE kits, 3ply masks, bed sheets, hand sanitisers and other resources.
The organisation is centrally distributing oxygen on behalf of the entire Indian startup ecosystem
The organisation run by a small group of young entrepreneurs based in Delhi is helping hospitals across the country get immediate access to oxygen concentrators.
The organisation is helping with oxygen cylinders and supplies across Delhi NCR and Mumbai, via innovative initiatives such as drive-throughs for cylinders. They’re also looking for people who can volunteer on the ground.
The project is helping Indian artisans sustain a dignified livelihood during the pandemic.
Tackling a range of issues from livelihoods to health, Goonj works with those in rural India.
Help care for the caregivers! SAI is raising funds to supply PPE kits to rural healthcare workers.
A lack of access to sanitary products puts less privileged women and girls in India at risk of contracting cervical cancer, Hepatitis B and various infections of the reproductive and urinary tracts, to name a few. Help Give India protect them.
The organisation is helping daily wage workers in Mumbai and rural Maharashtra tide over this difficult time.
The fund is helping COVID care centres run by DFY and other partner hospitals DFY is working with for medical supplies.
As you resume work, travel or your social life, please be extremely careful. Airlines, cities and businesses have eased restrictions on social distancing. Atlanta airport was bustling this past weekend and my Delta flight had only 3 seats open. People are ready to take a vacation, meet their families, and hang out with friends. But the fact is, we have not reached heard immunity. Even if you are vaccinated, you can still get the virus and be in critical condition.