All about India...
India, we want to help (in our own little way)
This week there's no NFT's, nothing on IPO's, & definitely nothing on all the tech bros moving to Miami. We're only going to be covering one subject today and that's the COVID-19 crisis in India because frankly, our weekly articles are normally all things Gen-Z; that's stuff in tech, consumer, etc. but to us, and to one of the largest Gen-Z populations in the world, none of that stuff matters rn. India is seeing record daily rises in coronavirus infections - over 400,000 new cases were reported on Saturday. While the country is preparing to start a new COVID vaccination drive, death rates are high, hospitals in many cities have run out of beds and medication supplies are low. Many have turned to the black market, and prices of essential medicines, oxygen cylinders, etc. have skyrocketed to prices which most of the population can’t afford. The people of India need every available ounce of helpful attention that they can get and that's going to be the entire focus of this week's edition.
Vedika Mandapati, a COVID-19 Response Warrior in Delhi
When thinking about a crisis our mind jumps to those affected, infrastructure, logistics, governments & supply chains (and rightly so) but one commonly overlooked group is the volunteers. Right now, there are thousands of individuals who are fighting on a daily basis, out of their own goodwill, to support those that are suffering in this crisis. I know Vedika through a mutual friend and thought she was more than worthy of recognition. We are honored to give her a platform to tell us about her experience of how things really are in India and what she has been doing in support of her community. Who was Vedika before she spent all her hours supporting the people of India? Just a high school student. Community-based work has always been important to me, but I’ve never felt such a sense of urgency. Have you been able to think about the impact you've had, what do you think it has been? When you're working in such dynamic conditions, it can be hard to analyze your collective impact. The stories that stick with me are that of the mother who safely delivered a baby boy thanks to our help, the teenager that received a life-saving dose of steroids, the grandparent that found a hospital bed. Individual successes lift up our team and help us keep going. What exactly is it that you do now on a day-to-day basis? With skyrocketing cases and a shortage in most essential supplies, people have turned to social media to source key resources. That's where teens4teens come in: we verify the availability, price, and location of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, medications, plasma, etc by getting in touch with suppliers. We're an important part of updating the flow of information in a scenario where resources are depleted within minutes. On a more personal level, we work with patients who request our help for specific circumstances as well. Tell us a little bit about the NGO you're working with and where exactly you carry out most of your work? teens4teens is a primarily mental health-based organization run by and for teenagers, as the name suggests. Initially formed as a platform to help teenagers relate to each other, the organization quickly pivoted beyond its traditional mandate when the second wave hit. Now, we’re a group of student volunteers based largely in the Delhi-NCR region, able to help citizens across the country. How can people best help you and the NGO you work with? Especially for those of us outside of India. Amplify our work as much as possible. If you have a substantial following in India, share our posts on Twitter (@teens4teens2) and Instagram (@teens4teens.in). The more people that see this information (and the sooner they see it) the more lives we can help. If you're aware of a resource that has worked successfully, don't hesitate to DM us the lead either! Your support can be crucial. Why do you think you do what you do? I think the collective feeling of the team is that we can't afford to sit back and watch people die by the thousands. Our work keeps us safe from the virus, mobilizes our privilege for good, and has a large positive impact. Put simply, we can help and so we do. We can't thank Vedika enough for taking the time to speak with ReShape Co. and wish her every success in her efforts to support the COVID-19 response efforts, as well as in her future.
Social Media for Social Good!
Sharing, posting, liking, and hashtagging have been instrumental for communities in crisis all over the world and India is no different. In fact, at a time where hospital beds are scarce and access to oxygen is near impossible, people have incredibly used their platform to help people in need access life-saving healthcare. A friend of mine living in Delhi posted something on her story yesterday asking for any leads for oxygen and just seeing how urgent the appeal was, it hit very close to home. Speaking to her, I learned about an influencer who was one of the first of many to share stories to try and help people. Her Instagram handle is @kushakapila and she has been sharing ‘Covid leads’ on her stories and highlights. With over 1.7million followers she has used her platform to make such a lasting impact and her followers have followed suit. It’s inspiring and humbling to see people pull together and use their voice and platform to do good and ultimately save lives. Another way people have rallied together through the use of social media is to offer free meals and deliveries to covid affected families. One such hero is @arushipandey95 who is offering free meals with the help of her mum and sister and a group of other volunteer homes for families in Gurgaon. These inspiring stories and acts of kindness are not in short supply and it’s been inspiring to see. So, if you are to take anything away take this… it’s now more important than ever to use hashtags like #covidkindness #covidindia #covidleads and keep sharing those stories!
A few of the community heroes you didn't hear about on the news...
People across the country have been stepping up and playing their part to help others. Deshna Krupa and her mother Ahalya are great examples of community heroes from Chennai. Deshna witnessed firsthand how difficult home life is for someone with COVID is after multiple family members tested positive earlier this year. When things started to take a turn for the worse in India she knew she had to do whatever she could to help. Being a second-year college student she thought she’d put her 2 months off to good use. It all started in April when Deshna posted on Twitter that she can cook/run errands for those quarantining nearby, but has now opened up the service to the whole of Chennai! She cooks the food along with her mum, and while the duo aren’t charging for the food, other generous members in the community have reached out and are willing to sponsor meals for others. It’s great to see a community coming together to help others.
Here’s another example; Meet Javed Khan, a Bhopal-based Rickshaw driver. Desperate to help people during this tough time, Javed has converted his rickshaw into a makeshift ambulance. People need a vehicle to get to the hospital so why not his? He’s transported multiple people in his rickshaw which is equipped with an oxygen cylinder and has a comfortable place to sit.
Despite rickshaw driving being his sole income, he hasn’t been charging patients and he’s been doing this even while fasting for Ramadan! His selfless dedication to help the community is a great example of Indian citizens' quick thinking and it makes him the perfect community hero.
Some More Community Heroes...🧑🤝
Some crematorium workers in India have been working around the clockand haven't had a break from performing last rites.
Among others, Rana Ayyub and Faye D'Souza are examples of journalists who have gone above and beyond. Rana has started a relief campaign to distribute rations to people from low-income groups and Faye has been providing social media updates helping to draw the line between real and fake news.
Indian communities all around the world are rallying together in an impressive effort to raise money for COVID relief in India. Neasden Temple in London is taking part in a 48-hour static ‘Cycle to Save Lives’ relay to Dehli along with the temples in Chigwell and Leicester. They're raising funds for vital @BAPS relief work in India.
Honorable mentions from Bollywood include Sonu Sood, Akshay Kumar,Sushmita Sen & Ajay Devgan, using their influence and finances to support with oxygen supplies for hospitals, donations to charities & posting various helplines for people to easily access on their social media platforms. Please reach out if you know of more individuals in the space doing impactful work!
For those of you looking for ways to help, we've created a document with some credible pages for you to donate. The document is hyperlinked. Below are a few that we wanted to highlight
Hemkunt Foundation - 12+ ongoing projects
Ketto - One of India's most trusted crowdfunding platforms facilitating fundraising for COVID-19 related causes with a 0% platform fee.
Khalsa Aid - Slough based NGO providing free oxygen machines to COVID patients in India