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Special Report No 2: Donations for India during the Corona Pandemic

With this article, I would like to keep you informed about the situation in India during the Corona Epidemic and keep you updated about our fundraiser project.

The Donation report No. 1, was a new appeal for more donations. This time reaching out to my entire Chalo! Travels community.

The second campaign was again very successful and we were able to collect another 2050 € in donations. Thus, a total of € 8860 (726213 rs) was donated from Germany, Switzerland and India. At this point a big thank you, also for your trust in me, to bring your donations as best as possible to the needy people in the form of food and meals. I have taken this great responsibility to heart!

What we were able to do with your support:

With your donations, we help the Indian wage worker families and migrant workers at different levels in the form of different Projects.

  1. Human Hope Foundation Shimla

Total amount: 21000 rs (2563 €)

Action: 85 families (about 500 people) are supported with basic foods, vegetables, milk and bananas for the children.

While the supply was initially a bit bumpy, we developed quickly a well-functioning system in cooperation with the shopkeepers and the volunteers.

Since yesterday we started the second round of distributing food parcels for the 2nd month. Each family receives 27 kg “dry” food rations (rice, lentils, oil, flour, sugar, salt, spices, tea, etc.)

In addition, individual packages are repeatedly sent to those in need who reach out to us by calling for help. Some of them just ask for 1-2 kg of rice.

India has been divided into three zones a week ago. Shimla is a green zone, without any reported Corona cases for the last 20 days. This means that more Shops are open and people can go to work. However, there is almost no work for our contract workers who work on construction sites. There is no building material from outside, nor are employers willing to invest due to uncertainties. Only 10 % of all workers find work, this is mostly limited to half a day.

Now our goal is to get these people to work as quickly as possible so that they can get out of their dependency.

2. Preparation and distribution of meals in Faridabad/Delhi to migrants

Total amount 20000 rs (2441 €)

Action: 200+ meals a day for stranded workers in Faridabad

Delhi is still a red zone, so people continue to be subject to all curfew restrictions as usual.

For another month until June 10, we can provide people, who are not allowed to return to their villages, with a daily meal.

Meals are mostly rice dishes with lentils or vegetables and distributed in a temple complex by a group of dedicated people.

3. Chetna supports families in Delhi and Kashmir

Total amount 250000 rs (3051.87 €)

Action: With the new donations, we have now increased our support for families in slums and poor residential areas in Delhi and have more than doubled the number of supported families from 240 to 493 (including almost 2000 children).

The support is in the form of ration packages with staples and soap, which lasts for approximately a week. We try to support the poorest families among them with weekly packages.

We have also received an urgent call for help from Kashmir and emergency packages for 40 families were provided form our side.

Chetna created these two videos:

Both Videos give you a good insight into what has been done so far.

Chetna’s report on our donations can be found in English here:

4. Action Shimla by Chalo! Travels

Total amount: 37300 rs ( 455 €)

Action: Food for 20 families in the poorest conditions for one month

The whole fundraising project resulted from an inner urge, to help people, who have not enough savings to even feed themselves during the Corona lockdown. Many of them live in my own neighborhood as well. Before the Curfew, I saw these families daily during the training on the bike. Even then, they lived in the simplest of circumstances and survived through the sale of recyclable garbage.

How much I wished to just take a few bags of rice and bring it to them during the lockdown a couple of weeks ago. But we weren’t allowed out.

But one week ago, the exit lock eased a little and while there were still some restrictions, David and I could at least go on our bikes to visit these families. We counted 20 families in need.

At first, I was somewhat concerned about how we could manage to care for these people. Here, we do not have large supermarkets, where we have everything in large quantities in one place.

All the more I was surprised that both, our Aunt Emma shop owner, as well as our vegetable seller immediately agreed to prepare 20 emergency packages each.

These packages contained:

Package 1 (20 x):

10 kg of rice

5 kg flour

2 l Oil

250 g Tea

1 kg Salt

1 x Coriander Powder

1 x Turmeric Powder

1 x Chili Powder

1 kg of sugar

2 kg red lentils

2 kg chickpeas

2 kg Yellow lenses

4 small chocolates

4 l milk

3 Body Soap

2 dish soap

Matches

Package 2 (20 x)

5 kg onions

1 kg tomatoes

250 g ginger

250 g garlic

5 kg of potatoes

1 kg white cabbage

1 kg cauliflower

1 kg of peas

1 kg Zucchini

6 Bananas

The Shopkeepers packed everything in big bags, so that we could easily load everything onto a van to distribute it.

It was an important experience to be able to meet people directly. At first, they were somewhat restrained, but then incredibly happy and grateful. I was also astonished at how they held together as a community and told us about further Families in need.

During my time volunteering, I have seen lots of poverty. But the living conditions of these people made me almost cry.

I was asked if people were uncomfortable accepting help. The answer is no. This need is no fault of their own and people long for work.

Finally, a word:

It is extremely difficult to decide where the donations should go to. Saying to one person in need yes, means to reject another one. Your donations are my responsibility and I have tried to do the best possible decisions and to act in the best possible way. One thing I can guarantee you: all donations went directly to hungry people in the form of food.

We simply have to hope, those other families are supported by other sources. Fortunately, I know of some big selfless supporters who are just as committed to their compatriots. I am writing this, so that we know that we are not alone here!

In the last few weeks, I have experienced an incredible sense of community and was overwhelmed by how much support came from you and what we were able to achieve together.

My partner Frog Sports Tours, with whom I organize the Multi-Active Trip in Rajasthan and Kerala, is now also launching a major fundraiser to support the people of India!

PS. Earlier, I just received self-sewn masks from a supported family in Shimla:)

Stay healthy!

Namaste from India

Sarah