Indian Americans Lead In COVID-19 Responses

These are difficult and extremely challenging times. The life across the world has changed for ever. The COVI-a9 pandemic has affected the lives of everyone as no other single factor has touched did, including wars, natural calamities and famine since the beginning of the human civilization.

People from every walk of walk of life have risen to the occasion: from children to adults, professionals and lay people, leaders of the world to ordinary citizens have done their part to combat and minimize the sufferings of the people impacted by the deadly pandemic.  

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Indian-Americans in this country are one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups with one of the highest household incomes of any community. The numerous initiatives by several groups from the Indian Diaspora show they are committed to providing sustained long-term relief during the pandemic and serve as a model and inspiration for individuals and communities across the globe.

They rallied through cultural, religious, and social service organizations, not just to support their own members, but to gather resources including masks, funds for buying protective equipment, food distribution to frontline workers and the needy, as well as help organizations in India during the pandemic. These include small and large groups in local communities and towns and cities, mandirs, gurdwaras, mosques, professional organizations like the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, AAPI, and numerous others. The relief efforts were undertaken across age-groups, involving the young and the old.

A 2020 Indian Diaspora in Action: Tracking the Indian American Response to COVID-19, a report detailing the philanthropic impact of the diaspora on COVID-19 relief., has chronicled the great contributions of Indian Americans in the past few months, since the pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of people’s lives. The report released July 30, 2020, tracks 58 out of the hundreds of organizations and actions taken in the Indian-American community to support COVID-19 relief efforts.

Prepared by Indiaspora, a nonprofit organization of global Indian diaspora leaders from various backgrounds and professions, the report has highlighted the tremendous outpouring of support for both the U.S. and India, which has been witnessed across the board from helping to provide meals to migrant workers in India, personal protective equipment to frontline healthcare workers, education through e-learning and healthcare, the organization said in a statement.

The report details the actions of 58 non-profit organizations re-purposing their efforts in response to the pandemic and illustrates the power of the Indian Diaspora community. “Never before have we witnessed such a united all-out community relief effort amongst the diaspora. One of the most unique aspects we witnessed was the efforts by the next generation of philanthropists through their incredible volunteer efforts,” said Gabrielle Trippe, Indiaspora Philanthropy Initiatives Manager.

Under the leadership of Dr. Suresh Reddy, past President of AAPI, AAPI became the first major organization to call for ‘universal masking’. AAPI provided free masks to thousands of health care workers. In addition to offering education through its multiple zoom sessions on various aspects of Covid and on ways to combat the pandemic, AAPI members honored more than 10,000 nurses in over 100 hospitals across more than 40 states by sponsoring lunches for them during the Nurses Week. AAPI has also stood against racial discrimination. “We are proud to say that for all our Doctors ‘all lives matter,’” Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalgadda, current President of AAPI said.

Another notable group that has been at the forefront of the response since the onset of the pandemic is the India Philanthropy Alliance (IPA). IPA is a coalition of twelve development and humanitarian organizations working together to mobilize resources and build alliances to benefit India. Charmain of India Philanthropy Alliance Deepak Raj stated, “It is an honor to  lead such a remarkable group of organizations coming together in a historic response to support those most in need during these incredibly challenging times.”

 “We feel it is our dharma, or duty, to help others during this time,” said Arun Kankani, President at Sewa International, USA, whose nonprofit has been providing on-the-ground relief, and also began a COVID-19 plasma registry to help physicians treat patients with respiratory failure from COVID-19. “When we saw so many affected, we didn’t feel like we had a choice in the matter.”

Indiaspora is proud to note that several of these organizations were founded by Indiaspora members. These organizations include: 360Plus, Arogya World, Achieving Women Equity Foundation, Freedom Employability Academy, Indian American Council’s Hunger Mitao, and WISH Foundation.

Rehan Mehmood, director of health services at the South Asian Council for Social Services, delivering a bag of food to a client in Queens, observing COVID-19 social distancing rules. A California-based non-profit organization says the philanthropic impact of the Indian diaspora on COVID-19 disaster relief displays of the power of this community.

“We feel it is our dharma, or duty, to help others during this time,” Arun Kankani, president at Sewa International, USA, is quoted saying in the Indiaspora press release. Sewa International USA,  not only provides on-the-ground relief, it also began a COVID-19 plasma registry to help physicians treat patients with respiratory failure from COVID-19. “When we saw so many affected, we didn’t feel like we had a choice in the matter.”

One of the groups that has been at the forefront of the response since the onset of the pandemic, Indiaspora said, is the India Philanthropy Alliance. The IPA is a coalition of twelve development and humanitarian organizations working together to mobilize resources and build alliances to benefit India.

“The tremendous outpouring of support for both the U.S. and India has been witnessed across the board from helping to provide meals to migrant workers in India, personal protective equipment to frontline healthcare workers, education through e-learning and healthcare,” says the press release, tracking the work done by 58 non-profit organizations which redirected their effort to pandemic relief and rehabilitation.

“Never before have we witnessed such a united all-out community relief effort amongst the diaspora. One of the most unique aspects we witnessed was the efforts by the next generation of philanthropists through their incredible volunteer efforts,” Indiaspora Philanthropy Initiatives Manager. Gabrielle Trippe, is quoted saying in the press release.

Indiaspora said several of the IPA participating organizations were  founded by Indiaspora members, among them, 360Plus, Arogya World, Achieving Women Equity Foundation, Freedom Employability Academy, Indian American Council’s Hunger Mitao, and WISH Foundation.
 
Indiaspora said it also recently completed a giving campaign to fight hunger, ChaloGive for COVID-19, targeted at food insecurity issues, and its fundraising campaign raised more than $1.18 million and provided more than 8 million meals through partner organizations Feeding America in the U.S. and Goonj in India.

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