Oxford and Cambridge unite against covid-19 in India

Dominic Morgan 3 May 2021
Image credit: Creative Commons

Societies from Oxford and Cambridge have launched a joint fundraiser towards COVID-19 relief in India, which is currently beset by a chaotic coronavirus situation. The Oxford India Society, Oxford Hindu Society, and Oxford South Asian Society’s original fundraiser reached its target of £10,000 less than 72 hours after launching, much faster than the expected timeline of 10 days.

Following their success, they teamed up with the Cambridge University India Society, Cambridge South Asian Forum, and the Cambridge University Bharatiya Society to collectively launch an even bigger fundraiser which is aiming to raise £50,000 in 10 days.

The Cambridge societies associated with the fundraiser had this to say:

“We are all devastated to see India being ravaged by the second wave of COVID-19. The aggressive second wave has led to an exponential rise in cases and deaths, resulting in a record high of over 208,000 reported deaths and 350,000 daily confirmed cases. The last seven days have been particularly distressing. The country is experiencing the world’s fastest growing COVID outbreak, with a cumulative total of more than 18.8 million infections. Lack of availability of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, ventilators, life-saving drugs, medical supplies and ambulances have crippled existing healthcare infrastructures. The COVID catastrophe has also displaced and threatened the livelihood of millions of migrant labourers and people living below the poverty line.’

After 3 hours of an in-person fundraiser students had raised £580 in cash and around £1000 through online donations.

The president of the Cambridge University India Society, Nishant Saxena, had the following to say on the issue: “Witnessing such difficult times in India is hurtful. Being Indian not only requires us to celebrate the country’s successes but to help amidst times of crisis despite living abroad. We at Cambridge India Society believe this fundraiser is essential and we should all come together from across the country to donate money to those bodies working hard to help India’s health system recover and save lives. Therefore, let’s be generous and thoughtful towards those who are not receiving adequate help to deal with Covid-19.”

President of another Cambridge society involved in the fundraiser, Trishant Simlai of The Cambridge South Asian Forum commented “It is hard to convey the intensity of trauma and chaos millions of Indians are being subjected to. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find hospital beds, ventilators, ambulances and medical supplies. The covid catastrophe has also displaced and threatened the livelihoods of many marginalised groups. We at the cambridge South Asia forum believe that it is imperative for societies at the two universities and beyond to come together and respond to the human tragedy occurring in India.”

Arastu Sharma, the president of the Cambridge University Bharatiya Society said “Smaller organisations and volunteers in the rural parts of India are struggling for resources as they see the state healthcare system collapse around them. We at the Cambridge University Bharatiya society can’t stress enough about the importance of this fundraiser that will help contribute to alleviate this issue.”

This inspiring union of Cantabrigians and Oxonians aiming to make the world a better place truly affirms the role of students fundraising for crises, and the positive influence that Oxbridge students can have in the world.