When the lockdown was announced, Shikha, a migrant labourer and single-mother living in Mumbai, was left overwhelmed. Suddenly without a job, she didn’t know what was happening. For her, the loss of even one day’s wage meant no food for her family, increased pressure of paying the rent, and the chances of being behind on her children’s school fees.
For Shikha and thousands of other migrant labourers in Mumbai, death due to COVID-19 was a distant possibility but death due to starvation a very real, very close reality.
Gratefully, India stepped in.
A compassionate member from the community started a crowdfunding campaign to ensure that every migrant labourer and their family had three nutritious meals a day. Ordinary people from all walks of life, be it a WFH professional or a college student with meagre pocket money, did extraordinary things- they pooled their monetary resources and enabled community kitchens to deliver lakhs of meals over many weeks to migrant labourers spread across the city. Collectively, they ensured that Shikha’s hope for a better future wasn’t crushed by pangs of hunger.
That’s not all. Thousands of donors have come together on crowdfunding platforms, for the most humane of causes amidst the COVID chaos.
For the thousands of essential workers across the country who are putting their lives at risk, there are thousands of donors on crowdfunding campaigns. If the doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, sanitation workers, or police personnel need PPE kits, the campaigners on the crowdfunding platform raise the amount to buy these life-saving suits. Be it funds for one kit or 10,000, the power of many kind and generous hearts coming together ensures that any campaign goal is reached; one more COVID battle is won.
What about a more concentrated effort? For Ankita, raising money for her COVID positive grandmother was a challenge given the fact that she had lost her job due to the lockdown. Her grandmother needed expensive treatment, and Ankita needed empathetic and generous folk to donate. So, she started a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for her grandmother’s fight against the COVID. In a classic example of ‘Little drops of water make a mighty ocean’, hundreds of donors came together with small amounts but big hearts to pay for the treatment. Ankita’s grandmother is well on her way to recovery, while Ankita’s belief in humanity is reinforced.
People’s collective conscience has helped thousands battle through an unprecedented crisis. It has also ensured that the blood, sweat and tears of small business owners don’t go in vain. For Sameer, the lockdown and social distancing norms meant that his small salon couldn’t function. His years of hard work could just vanish in the span of a month if he couldn’t pay the rent for his salon. Once again, a bunch of Samaritans came together and through a crowdfunding campaign ensured that Sameer had only the coronavirus to worry about and not his salon. A thankful Sameer now awaits the end of the lockdown so that he can attend to his customers again, with lovely classics from the 70s playing in the background!
These are not just stories of successful crowdfunding campaigns.
These are stories of how small contributions can come together on one platform, and help millions like Shikha, Sameer, or Ankita to survive something as profound as a pandemic.
While the government does its best to deal with this unprecedented challenge on a systemic level, it’s up to you, me, and millions like us to come forward, contribute and show how the human race can surmount the COVID challenge.
It’s time for constructive solidarity, and now we have a platform to express it.