Children’s Hope India (CHI), a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to lifting children from poverty to prosperity in India and the United States, released “CHI On-The-Ground COVID-19 Relief,” a new report detailing the organization’s efforts to meet the growing needs of vulnerable children and their families in the face of the global COVID-19 outbreak.
The organization held an online fundraiser, entitled “A Virtual Celebration of Hope” on May 16, 2020 in support of these efforts, raising $52,000.
“CHI On-The-Ground COVID-19 Relief” reveals not only how vulnerable populations are grappling with the new realities created by the COVID-19 outbreak, but also unique solutions both NGOs and grassroots projects are designing to help fill gaps, said the organization, in a press release.
With the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting closures, the organization’s work shifted: schools closed and children and their families found themselves with new, pressing needs such as how to feed a family of seven in the absence of a daily wage.
Children’s Hope India launched a comprehensive hunger prevention program, distributing food and grocery kits to families in and around their project sites that total almost 300,000 meals, in addition to thousands of hygiene products such as soaps, handwashing stations and sanitizers.
“The populations we work with–from day laborers to refugees, from urban dwellers to village residents–lost their meager earnings overnight, so we needed to act fast in distributing rice, lentils and essential food items to feed whole families,” said Dina Pahlajani, the organization’s president and cofounder.
At the same time, the communities impacted by Children’s Hope India have fallen victim to shortages of personal protection equipment (PPE) and black market pricing. The organization’s leadership recognized an opportunity early-on to empower refugee women by teaching them how to manufacture masks.
To date, these enterprising refugees have already distributed 2,000 masks to local hospitals and first responders. They also scaled their learning to other Children’s Hope India project sites where, with materials and machinery donated by the organization, students and their families have manufactured more than 11,000 masks and are pivoting to make scrubs and other PPE–many of which are being distributed nationally, including in Mumbai. In the New York City area, the organization’s youth and young professional volunteers have coordinated critical donations to local families and first responders through partnerships with Island Harvest, Elmhurst Hospital and many other organizations, the release said.
“A Virtual Celebration of Hope” brought together 2,443 people from around the globe for an hour filled with love, laughter and compassion in support of this important cause.
The event, hosted by comedian Zarna Garg, featured celebrities Juhi Chawla and Kiara Advani, and honored Consul General of India in New York Sandeep Chakravorty as its Chief Guest.
Juhi Chawla inspired attendees to support CHI’s work, saying “If all of us helped some people everyday, everyone would receive help, have hope and happiness in our lives.” Kiara Advani added, “I pray that we can uplift people around us and look forward to a better tomorrow.”
The virtual event paid tribute to Michelin star chef Vikas Khanna with the CHI Action Hero Award for his compassionate feeding of millions of needy people during the lockdown in India, who said, “CHI has always inspired me to do more, to add more and to give more.”
Dr. Roopa Kohli-Seth of Mount Sinai Hospital received the CHI Woman of Courage Award for her dedicated work on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York.
The event raised $52,000 in support of hunger prevention, medical support and educational opportunities in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Anuja Khemka, Children’s Hope India’s Executive Director said, “We know that the impact of the outbreak is only just starting to surface, particularly among vulnerable populations, so we recognize that this is the right time to invest our resources in bringing emergency relief and meaningful learning opportunities to the community. We were humbled on May 16th when an incredible community of dedicated donors came together to underwrite this growth and relief efforts around the world.”
Children’s Hope India was founded in 1992 when a group of professional women in New York gathered to make a difference in the lives of children. Now, as then, the mission of Children’s Hope India is to lift children from poverty to prosperity through education. This is accomplished with a whole child approach that seeks to ensure that each child is healthy, safe, supported, engaged and challenged with comprehensive programming including informal learning and vocational training, critical medical support, and nutrition.
Today, Children’s Hope India supports more than 20 projects and 300,000 children across India and the United States to improve children’s health and education prospects, and the communities they live in.