Published: 02nd March 2021
How B'luru's Freedom Foundation started an online fundraiser to help HIV positive children survive during the pandemic
Headquartered in Bengaluru, Freedom Foundation has specialised facilities in 48 physical sites at various locations in four states
The Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has been an extremely difficult time for each one of us but more so for the Freedom Foundation and its facilities in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. They have been in a fix with a severe fund crunch which could have led almost 68 children to lose their home, healthcare and basic amenities like food. These children have been shunned by society for being HIV positive but welcomed at the foundation with open arms. And these orphaned children were among the most adversely affected in this pandemic.
However, GiveIndia, an online donation platform, helped Freedom Foundation to set up an online fundraiser on their platform, which has already raised over Rs 22 lakh out of the total target of Rs 30 lakh needed for their care. "GiveIndia set up the entire crowdfunding platform. They have a huge reach in terms of a donor base and immediately there was traction. Their platform also allows people from all over the world to donate. This campaign has been helping us to generate resources that can sustain the organisation in the near future," says Dr Ashok Rau, CEO of Freedom Foundation.
Speaking about how they began the campaign, Dr Rau adds, "Just before the pandemic, for quite some time we haven't had any dedicated donors or sponsors. When the pandemic hit, within a month or two, our donors, mostly small companies, stopped funds completely as they themselves were in a crisis, had lost jobs or halted operations. In May last year, we found ourselves in an extremely precarious situation. That's when I thought that we cannot run with this kind of uncertainty and came up with the idea of setting up a campaign. GiveIndia had earlier worked with us and it had been successful, thus we had complete faith in them."
Dr Ashok Rau
"HIV patients are immunocompromised and at a time when the world is fighting a pandemic, they are at an even higher risk. We at GiveIndia felt the need and urgency to support the impactful work that Dr Ashok Rau has been doing for decades at this crucial time. He had faced a severe crunch in the flow of funds unable to provide the care and nourishment for the abandoned orphans with HIV he supports. Our work has been to amplify the tremendous efforts of Dr Rau and Freedom Foundation of breaking the stigma around HIV and providing a better future to these innocent kids," adds Priyanka Prakash, Director, Head of Online Giving, Marketing and Partnerships at GiveIndia.
Headquartered in Bengaluru, Freedom Foundation has specialised facilities in 48 physical sites at various locations in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Goa that care for HIV positive children. The foundation was set up in 1992 when it began as a centre to help people deal with addiction, gradually in 1996, they opened their first daycare centre in Hennur for abandoned HIV positive individuals.
Overseeing the functioning of the foundation for almost two decades now, Dr Rau shares how stigma and discrimination have been major obstacles in obtaining better care and facilities for these children and individuals. "Infants, young children were abandoned on the sidewalks, at the entrance of churches, temples, earlier when we first set up Freedom Foundation. That scenario has of course changed in the past decade or so. We don't see this much nowadays, the mortality rates of people living with AIDS has decreased, there is slightly more acceptance in families. However, externally, there is still an adverse response from society at large," he concludes.
You can contribute to the online fundraiser here: https://fundraisers.giveindia.