Published: 14th June 2021
Students' spirit in overcoming challenges is a resounding social message: GiveIndia's CEO on campaigns during COVID
We spoke to GiveIndia Founder and CEO Atul Satija to find out how these partnerships work, how they are raising funds and a lot more
While the pandemic wreaks havoc across the country, people are stepping up to help in every way possible. Numerous educational institutions, students, youth groups in India and abroad are coming together to fight the virus. To help them in this battle, GiveIndia, a not-for-profit organisation and an online crowdfunding platform is playing a major role. They are partnering with these institutions and groups to raise funds for life-saving supplies and COVID facilities. Atul Satija, Founder and CEO of GiveIndia, speaks to us about these initiatives and how students and educational institutions are an integral part in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic. Excerpts from the conversation:
Tell us about a few of the most impactful initiatives started by students, institutions along with GiveIndia to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the nation battles a relentless second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, students and alumni of educational institutions, both in India and abroad, have united to extend their support to save as many lives as possible across the country.
South Asian students representing 35 universities in the United States including Ivy League schools have come together in partnership with GiveIndia to provide vital medical and humanitarian resources to organisations that work tirelessly on-ground in COVID relief activities such as providing oxygen concentrators, oximeters and other critical medical supplies to the afflicted. These students from universities such as Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, Cornell, Wharton and Columbia, hope to raise more funds for the underserved regions and vulnerable populations in rural India as the virus spreads to the towns and villages of the country. The funds will also be directed towards bereaved families and disabled communities. So far the students have raised more than Rs 3 crore with the support of over 1,600 donors.
In India, the Alumni of Indian Institutes, which comprises alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology, doctors from AIIMS, Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), Delhi, and folks from the Indian Institutes of Management, has also started a fundraising campaign through GiveIndia. Their aim is to strengthen the current COVID healthcare infrastructure, establish support centres and hospitals, and intensify assistance in rural districts that are in distress. They have so far received more than Rs 1 crore from over 500 donors and hope to raise more to save over 4,000 lives in current hotspots.
The University of Michigan India Alumni Association (UMIAA) and its India Advisory Board have joined hands with GiveIndia to raise funds for bolstering the healthcare system. They are also focusing on areas such as education, livelihood and humanitarian assistance in states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and have raised more than Rs 20 lakh till date.
COVID relief work supported by IIM, IIT alumni, students | Pic: GiveIndia
How important is it for students and educational institutions to step up to play their part in helping our country bounce back at a time like this?
While the second wave of the COVID pandemic has left a trail of devastation in its wake, a glimmer of hope and recovery has manifested itself in the form of all the COVID aid that has been selflessly offered by people globally from diverse backgrounds. This has been instrumental in making up for the lack of basic healthcare infrastructure or life-saving equipment in many parts of the country. Students represent the future of our world, and educational institutions stand for the values that mould the perceptions of youth and society. Their spirit to overcome challenges that might seem insurmountable is a resounding social message that conveys the need for every individual to step up and play their part, and thus make a significant difference in their own way.
What exactly is GiveIndia's role in all of it?
One of GiveIndia’s primary roles is to offer a safe, easy and highly trustworthy crowdfunding platform to individuals and entities to host their fundraisers with minimal effort. We bridge the gap between individuals and organisations, dedicated to making a positive difference in society, and the generous donors who would like to contribute to various causes. GiveIndia has a network of over 2,000 partner NGOs across the country. We disburse the funds to our partners who have been authorised to supply medical equipment to hospitals and COVID care centres, and those focusing on other key areas such as food and nutrition, financial assistance and humanitarian aid. We track all disbursements and verify every process. In this way, we ensure that the money raised through our platform reaches those in need.
What sort of help have you managed to give people this last year?
We are helping provide COVID relief in all key areas of requirement such as critical life-saving resources such as oxygen cylinders, concentrators, Bipap machines, ventilators and ICU beds. Financial support for those who have lost the sole breadwinners of the family, and across vulnerable communities of differently abled individuals. Augmenting healthcare infrastructure at COVID care centres through medical equipment, and other essential supplies. Supplementing medical personnel and support staff in PHCs' and healthcare facilities with poor medical resources in urban and rural areas. Distributing cooked meals and ration kits to families fighting hunger. Other areas include education, livelihood and humanitarian support to those affected by the pandemic.
So what comes next?
As our COVID relief work continues, we are seeing many fundraisers being created on our platform to mitigate and tackle the far-reaching consequences of the pandemic. There are a few programs in the pipeline. Post the pandemic, we hope to continue to see a rise in fundraisers in support of various causes.