India Needs Our Help Now

COVID-19 cases have reached catastrophic levels — here’s what you can do to support aid efforts.

By Caitlin Kilgore
Candles and colorful flowers laid out for Diwali

It’s hard to describe the heartbreak and horror of the staggering second wave of coronavirus cases in India, but these images of mass cremations and grief-stricken loved ones come close. 

Just as many countries around the globe are getting a grip on the pandemic — with some returning to relative normalcy thanks to wide distribution of vaccines — India is experiencing the most dire COVID-19 outbreak yet, and experts warn that it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. 

On Monday, India reported 352,992 new COVID-19 cases — the most cases recorded in a single day anywhere in the world since the pandemic began. (The number is surely even higher since testing is limited.) What’s worse, according to The New York Times, “the reported figure will most likely rise to 500,000 cases a day by August, leaving as many as one million of India’s 1.4 billion people dead from COVID-19.”

Hospitals are beyond capacity, healthcare workers are exhausted and there are critical shortages of oxygen, ventilators, personal protective gear, COVID-19 tests and drug treatments (such as remdesivir). 

Beyond the humanitarian need to intervene, a real threat to our worldwide pandemic recovery exists: The more the virus spreads, the more chances it has to mutate and create vaccine-resisted variants. Dr. Anthony Fauci summed up both the ethical and medical need to respond: "We're all in this together. It's an interconnected world… we and other rich countries have to exert what I think is a moral responsibility to help the rest of the world get this under control," he said. “The quicker we get the rest of the world protected, the more secure our protection will be."

We're all in this together… we have a moral responsibility to help the rest of the world get this under control.

The devastation in India is due to many factors: an inadequate (and potentially corrupt) healthcare system, which is now on the verge of collapse; multi-generalational households that enable the virus to spread easily; poverty and vaccine apartheid. “On average, in high-income countries almost one in four people has received a vaccine. In low-income countries, it’s one in more than 500,” says Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, who has likened the pandemic to a global inferno: “If you hose only one part of it, the rest will keep burning.” 

Kerri Kelly of CTZNWELL echoed the reasons we should care in a recent newsletter: “India’s outbreak is an enormous tragedy for its own people, but it’s also a catastrophe for the rest of the world. Which brings us back to the lesson this virus has been trying to teach us all along — that we are only as healthy and safe as our neighbors.”

Here are ways you can make a direct impact:

Organizations to Support

Consider supporting organizations and local efforts working on the ground at the microlevel. This ensures your contribution will make an immediate difference.

Before making a donation, we recommend checking sites like Guidestar or Charity Navigator, which offer reports on nonprofits, to make sure your donations are being used mindfully. 

Local Efforts:

  • Milaap — An online crowdfunding platform for India that prioritizes transparency. Find individual campaigns to donate to here
  • Commit2Change — Providing food and other essential resources to impoverished girls and their surrounding communities.
  • Desai Foundation — Offers food packages, PPE, medical support (including costs of vaccines, hospital beds, therapeutics, oxygen) tp the 1,000 rural communities they serve in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
  • Enrich Lives Foundation — Helping to feed migrant workers and daily wage earners who have lost all their sources of income. Find their Ketto crowdfunding campaign here
  • Feeding from Far — Distributing ration kits to those struggling to feed themselves. Find their Ketto campaign here
  • FromU2Them — A Mumbai nonprofit fundraising on Ketto to provide food and medical supplies in Mumbai.
  • Help Now — Provides sanitized and safe ambulances with ventilators across Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune & Delhi. 
  • Khaana Chahiye — Working to provide access to food for the most vulnerable, including hospitals, orphanages, old-age homes, mental health institutions, prisons, LGBTQ+ support groups
  • Making the Difference — Provides healthcare equipment and supplies to public hospitals and nursing homes, as well as meals to home quarantine patients.
  • Mazdoor Kitchen — A citizen-run initiative working to provide meals to daily wage workers in New Delhi. 
  • Youth Feed India and Helping Hands Charitable Trust — Two organizations working to deliver ration kits which include food staples like rise and dal. A donation of $13 can help feed a family of four for fifteen days.

Additional Organizations:


These resources were compiled based on information from The New York Times, TIME Magazine, CTZNWELL and THE WELL team.

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