Students start fundraiser to help India become “Covid Safe”

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Provided by Wadwha and Bansal

Abhinav Wadhwa and Muskan Bansal, two sophomores running the India Covid Relief Fundraiser, pose on some steps for a picture.

Melanie Duronio, Features Editor

After living within a pandemic for over a year, there seems to finally be light at the end of the tunnel. With most Americans either fully vaccinated or waiting on their second shot, as well as mask restrictions loosening, there is a sense of relief as our everyday lives seem to be returning to normal. However, in other countries, this is not the case.

Just a few months prior, India became exposed to a deadly variant of COVID-19 and found itself underprepared. Due to the country’s dense population, the variant has spread rapidly and caused a spike in daily cases. Families living in poverty are especially vulnerable, as a lack of hygiene and resources give them a higher chance of contraction.

When learning of this, sophomores Abhinav Wadhwa and Muskan Bansal felt that they had to take a stand, and decided to raise money for various essentials like food rations, masks, hand sanitizer, shampoo and conditioner, and first aid to be sent to India. The goal of the pair’s fundraiser is to raise money for 200 “[email protected] kits”, which would provide these very necessities to vulnerable Indian citizens. Each kit is able to provide for an entire family.

Although both had already been thinking of creating a fundraiser of some kind, India’s current situation stood out to them the most. With relatives of theirs living in India, in close proximity to the variant, they are supporting a cause that is close to their heart.

“I’m Indian, and I know family members who are suffering from [the effects of the Covid-19 variant] right now,” Wadhwa said. “I watched [the deaths] just keep increasing to like 3,000 [people] per day, and I thought to myself, ‘I want to do a fundraiser anyways, and if I want to support such an important cause then why not contribute to this one?'”

Wadhwa and Bansal chose to work with Sewa International for their project, a non-profit organization that provides aid to communities in humanitarian crises. The group is in charge of producing the “[email protected] kits” the pair is gathering money for, and all of the funds they raise will be given to Sewa. From there, their donations will be put into making these kits, which will then be distributed throughout India by Sewa workers and volunteers.

Considering the severity of the situation for many in India, Bansal is glad that she is able to support the cause and help others however she can.

“It’s honestly heart-wrenching, just seeing what is happening,” Bansal said. “If you look online, you can find so many pictures of dead bodies on the ground and mass cremations. If there is any way that we can help to stop that, I want to be a part of it.”

To donate, students, parents, and faculty can use Wadhwa and Bansal’s list of donation methods, which includes Venmo, PayPal, and Zelle. Alternatively, those interested can also meet with them in-person to pay upfront. Each contributor will be given a complimentary sticker depicting the fundraiser’s slogan, ‘Living in a World, COVID Safe’.

A complimentary sticker provided by Abhinav Wadhwa and Muskan Bansal as a “thank you” to all of their donators.

With the school year drawing to a close, Bansal and Wadwha will be accepting donations until early July. They both urge those who are able to support the cause, as it is a dire situation.

“This isn’t some kind of ordinary fundraiser where we’re raising money for some party or club. This cause is urgent, it’s happening right now and [the variant] is spreading so fast,” Wadhwa said. “If the time is not now it’s never. So if you want to donate, do it.”