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    EXCLUSIVE: Oxford India, Hindu, and South Asian Societies Launch Fundraiser for COVID-19 Relief in India

    Matt Schaffel reports on a new fundraiser, set up by Oxford societies, in support of the ongoing situation in India with COVID-19.

    Three Oxford societies have launched a fundraiser in response to the worsening COVID-19 crisis in India. The Oxford India Society, Oxford Hindu Society, and Oxford South Asian Society are aiming to raise £10,000 over ten days to help local and national organisations in the country.

    The societies have issued a joint statement on their charity effort: “The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have made themselves felt in all areas of the world, but the situation in India is emblematic of this disruption. Caught between the threshold of its populated developing urban centres and its overburdened rural infrastructure, the pandemic has placed an unseen level of stress on India’s financial, medical and social framework.  Cases are rising at an unprecedented rate, with the daily number of new cases crossing 350,000, breaking records of single-tallies even during the first wave. In April, alone, India reported more than 5 million new cases, and more than 50,000 deaths, the majority of which were preventable.”

    “The lack of availability of oxygen cylinders, hospital beds and essential medicines for critically ill patients has overburdened India’s healthcare system. The state has been unable to handle the full capacity of the crisis, and individuals and local organisations (funded through mutual aid efforts) have stepped in. It is necessary for the international community, whether a part of the Indian diaspora or not, to come together and provide as much aid as possible to help the nation tackle this crisis.”

    “We strongly urge all members of the Oxford community to join us in supporting Indian charities who are seeking to alleviate and manage the burden on the healthcare system. Our aim is to raise £10,000 over the next ten days. At the conclusion of the fundraiser, we will be donating the money to local organisations and charities that are providing immediate on-the-ground relief in the worst hit parts of the country.”

    Anvee Bhutani, President of the Oxford India Society, said: “The situation in India is a humanitarian crisis and one that requires immediate direct aid to prevent mass loss of life. We in the UK are privileged with our access to a reliable and efficient nationalised healthcare system, but this unfortunately is far from the reality in other places around the world. We are calling on the Oxford community with the hope that we’ll be able to join in support and solidarity to provide aid to India during this difficult time.”

    Suyesha Dutta, President of the Oxford South Asian Society, added: “Having voluntarily immersed myself in the COVID relief effort virtually in Delhi, I’ve witnessed the catastrophe that has engulfed India. There is a critical shortage of hospital beds, ICUs, ventilators, oxygen, plasma, and medicines. It has often been the case that by the time I find a lead for a patient, they have passed on. This is an emergency with no end in sight.”

    Aditya Dabral, President of the Hindu Society said: “All of us at HUMSoc are deeply upset and worried by the reemerging COVID crisis in India. We hope that this fundraiser will go some way in alleviating the plight faced by so many, and encourage all members of the Oxford community to donate however much they can in the service of a crucial cause. It can and will make a meaningful difference.”

    You can donate to the fundraiser here.

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