Queen’s students mobilize to raise funds for grassroots organizations in India

Death tolls in India have skyrocketed amidst second wave

Students aim to raise $50,000.
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As India faces devastation at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic, Queen’s students have mobilized to financially support those affected.

Harshavardhan Thyagarajan MSc ’23, Prerna Subramanian, PhD candidate in Cultural Studies, and Myron Menezes, MASc ’21, are among a group of students collaborating with the International Students Working Group (ISWG) to raise funds for grassroots organizations in India. 

With at least 26 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, and numbers growing hundreds of thousands by the day, India is being confronted with the worst of the pandemic.

In an interview with The Journal, Thyagarajan discussed the groups’ mobilization process and goals for the project. 

“We were just hoping to collect resources, amplify the call, and pass it on to places that needed them,” Thyagarajan said. 

Thyagarajan explained that donating to fundraisers, educating oneself, and keeping the conversation going are all ways students can mobilize themselves.  

“Look at local political actions that are happening. It’s always a matter of being a supporter of causes and meeting others who your politics align with,” Thyagarajan shared.

Initially, the group of students gathered support on Facebook and created a GoFundMe page to collect donations and provide resources for the recipients. 

Since May 1, the student organization has raised nearly $11,000 for Manisha Devi, Hemkunt Foundation for Corona Relief and Rehabilitation Support, and the Helping Hands Foundation

However, the work is far from complete as the group inches towards their fundraising goal of $50,000. 

“In this grim time, holding onto joy is tough,” Subramanian wrote on the organization’s Facebook page. “[Sometimes] impossible but important.” 

The group expanded their reach by connecting with others who were passionate about the cause and educating those around them. Soon, they gained significant momentum. 

“The broken system will not break us,” Subramanian’s message on Facebook continues. 

Subramanian told The Journal that the Indian government’s mishandling of the pandemic and the spread of misinformation resulted in a devastating second wave.

The group attached a document to the GoFundMe page directing others to aid communities with no safety net or government help to survive.

“In terms of future direction, we’re hoping to put a call out to existing donors and divert attention to the Palestinian cause,” Thyagarajan said. 

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