A devastating second wave of coronavirus has hit India, leaving millions affected and at least 262,000 dead, according to the latest statistics. With the country’s crisis seemingly worsening and hospitals continuing to report critical shortages of oxygen and beds, the entire population is struggling to access basic necessities, including food and medical supplies.
A new variant is said to have caused the spike in cases, leaving the country overwhelmed and highly vulnerable, with the situation particularly bad in New Dehli, India’s capital.
India’s harrowing situation is in stark contrast to England, where lockdown restrictions are being eased in line with the government’s roadmap, with socialising indoors, in groups of six, to be permitted from 17 May, along with international travel.
Simply looking at the disparity in numbers serves as an all-important reminder of how varied the global impact of the pandemic has been, and continues to be. With 37.7 per cent of the UK population fully vaccinated compared to just 2.8 per cent in India, it’s clear that more must be done.
India’s government has come under fire for its handling of the situation, and many people have turned to social media, calling on officials to provide help, with pictures and videos of people being turned away from hospitals owing to lack of medical supplies being widely shared.
As the county struggles with its surging cases, crypto billionaire and Ethereum co-founder Vitalk Buterin recently made one of the largest individual philanthropic contributions ever, donating $1bn worth of Ethereum and “meme coins” to India’s Covid-19 battle. Similarly, actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas has set up a relief fundraiser for the country, collaborating with the donation platform GiveIndia.
Large- and small-scale brands and businesses are similarly donating funds to help support the relief effort. From fashion and tech to food and drink, we’ve tracked down the companies doing good, so you too can help support those in need.
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AK Threads, Akthreads.com
Crafting clothing in London, AK Threads is a made-to-measure service supporting women from low-income backgrounds. In a statement on Instagram, the brand said it wished it could do more, but to provide some support it’s donating 50 per cent from all its handwoven masks and scrunchies back to its artisan partners in India to support them and their families.
This tech company needs no introduction, thanks to being everyone’s favourite brand when it comes to headphones, laptops and mobiles. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has now pledged to support India’s efforts to fight the ongoing coronavirus pandemic by making donations and aiding relief efforts on the ground. This follows the $15m (£10.6m) the brand already donated to the global Covid-19 response.
Biskut Bar, Biskutbar.com
Confectionery brand Biskut Bar creates organic Indian treats with a clear focus on sustainability, heritage and being mission-based. As such, to help you do your bit, it’s launched a Covid relief raffle on Crowdfunder, where you donate a sum of money so as to be entered into the prize draw. The prizes include everything from a signed copy of our favourite cookbook, Jikoni by Ravinder Bhogal, to a £100 gift card to spend on the wardrobe rental platform, By Rotation.
Henri London, Henri.london
Creating sustainable clothing using artisan fabrics, Henri London is all about bringing comfort to the everyday, with its pieces made in London and southern India. The independent brand has launched a raffle fundraiser to support the welfare of its makers and the communities they live in, with the aim of raising £1,000. The money will be split between two organisations – Shivangi, which runs the brand’s factory in Bangalore, and Kutch Karuna Abhiyan, an organisation providing aid in the region of Kutch. The winning raffle prize is a £500 Henri London voucher. Simply donate anything from £5 for one entry up to £100 for 20 entries to be in with a chance of winning – head to the brand’s JustGiving page to take part.
Producing sets for adults and kids, popular toy brand Lego has announced it will make a $1m (£709k) donation to Save the Children India, supporting families and children most at risk in Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and West Bengal. The money will go towards providing education to 20,000 children aged three to 14 whose schooling has been disrupted by the most recent surge in Covid-19 cases and will ensure food security for families. In addition, the brand is supporting the state government’s relief efforts in Maharashtra, where its Mumbai office is located.
Monica Vinader, Monicavinader.com
For the next three months, for every order placed, affordable jewellery brand Monica Vinader will sponsor a child a day from the Jagriti Foundation school in Jaipur to make sure they are fed and cared for during the Covid-19 crisis. What’s more, the brand has been awarded the Butterfly Mark by Positive Luxury to honour its commitment to sustainability, from its supply chain integrity to its philanthropic donations. So, if you’re looking to buy someone a special gift, make Monica Vinader your go-to. We particularly love these mini gem huggie earrings (£70, Monicavinader.com).
Ren London, Renlondon.co
Small, considered womenswear brand Ren London is a favourite for its sustainable linen and thoughtfully sourced materials. The brand, along with 13 others, including the previously mentioned Henri London, are taking part in a charity raffle to raise money for Khalsa Aid, an international NGO working to provide humanitarian aid in disaster areas and conflict zones. With a range of prizes up for grabs, simply head to the JustGiving page to take part.
Sunday Monday, Shopsundaymonday.com
Founded by Nisha Mirani and Brendan Kramer in 2017, Sunday Monday works directly with weavers and block printers in India to create accessories and home textiles that celebrate Indian craft traditions, colour and nature with minimal harm to the environment. The brand is donating 10 per cent of its sales to crisis relief organisations, and it’s also running a raffle on its Instagram for anyone who donates to a Covid India relief fund.
Fashion brand SZ produces small-batch ethical clothing in Jaipur, where all pieces are block printed by a team of artisans. In order to help, the brand is holding various sample sales on Instagram during May, with 100 per cent of profits being donated to Covid relief.
A conglomerate company that owns brands such as Cadbury and Oreo, Mondelez India has announced it’ll donate confectionery to India FoodBanking Network across 20 cities. It is also donating dry ration kits to support more than 8,600 families in communities around its factory locations. Details of its other philanthropic efforts, including its donations of masks and hand sanitisers, can be read on the company’s website.
If you’re looking for ways to lend your support, here’s how you can donate to people struggling with the Covid crisis in India