chi covid

Children’s Hope India’s Covid-19 Relief Campaign has provided support in the form of cash grants, meals, remote learning opportunities, hygiene supplies, medical care and more. Its June 11 event, hosted by Indian American comedian Zarna Garg, raised $52,000. (photo provided)

On June 11, Children’s Hope India, a nonprofit organization dedicated to lifting children out of poverty in India and the U.S., released “CHI On-The-Ground Covid-19 Relief,” a new report detailing the organization’s efforts to meet the growing needs of vulnerable children and their families in the face of the pandemic.

The organization also announced that it held an online fundraiser May 16, entitled, “A Virtual Celebration of Hope,” in support of hunger prevention, medical support and educational opportunities. The virtual event, which brought together over 2,400 people, raised $52,000.

The event, hosted by Indian American comedian Zarna Garg, featured Bollywood celebrities Juhi Chawla and Kiara Advani, and Consul General of India in New York Sandeep Chakravorty as its chief guest.

Inspiring attendees to support CHI’s work, Chawla said: “If all of us helped some people every day, everyone would receive help, have hope and happiness in our lives.”

Advani added, “I pray that we can uplift people around us and look forward to a better tomorrow.”

Michelin star chef Vikas Khanna was honored with the ‘CHI Action Hero Award’ for feeding of millions of needy people during the lockdown in India. “CHI has always inspired me to do more, to add more and to give more,” said Khanna.

Indian American doctor Roopa Kohli-Seth of Mount Sinai Hospital received the ‘CHI Woman of Courage Award’ for her work on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York.

“We know that the impact of the outbreak is only just starting to surface, particularly among vulnerable populations, so we recognize that this is the right time to invest our resources in bringing emergency relief and meaningful learning opportunities to the community,” said Anuja Khemka, executive director of Children’s Hope India. “We were humbled on May 16 when an incredible community of dedicated donors came together to underwrite this growth and relief efforts around the world.”

The report, stated a press release, “reveals not only how vulnerable populations are grappling with the new realities created by the Covid-19 outbreak, but also unique solutions both NGOs and grassroots projects are designing to help fill gaps.”

With the outbreak and resulting closures, the organization’s work, it said, shifted: schools closed and children and their families found themselves with new, pressing needs such as how to feed a family of seven in the absence of a daily wage.

Children’s Hope India launched a comprehensive hunger prevention program, distributing food and grocery kits to families in and around their project sites that totaled almost 300,000 meals, in addition to thousands of hygiene products such as soaps, handwashing stations and sanitizers.

“The populations we work with – from day laborers to refugees, from urban dwellers to village residents –lost their meager earnings overnight, so we needed to act fast in distributing rice, lentils and essential food items to feed whole families,” said Dina Pahlajani, the organization’s president and cofounder. 

The organization also empowered refugee women by teaching them how to manufacture masks. About 2,000 masks were made and distributed to local hospitals and first responders. They also scaled their learning to other Children’s Hope India project sites where, with materials and machinery donated by the organization, students and their families have manufactured more than 11,000 masks and are pivoting to make scrubs and other PPE, many of which are being distributed nationally, including Mumbai, as per the press release.

In the New York City area, the organization’s youth and young professional volunteers coordinated critical donations to local families and first responders through partnerships with Island Harvest, Elmhurst Hospital and many other organizations, added the press release.

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