Oxbridge students unite to fund COVID relief in India

The group of students has already raised £20,000 for their cause

In response to the current COVID crisis facing India an alliance of societies from both Oxford and Cambridge University have joined together to raise funds for urgent relief. The Oxbridge Student Action for Covid Relief in India aims to raise £50,000 over the next week to donate to charities supplying the worst affected areas of India with essential aid.

Formed on the 1st of May, the group consists of The Cambridge University India Society, Cambridge’s South Asia Forum and Cambridge University’s Bharatiya Society in addition to Oxford’s India Society, Hindu Society and South Asian Society. India is currently experiencing the world’s fastest-growing COVID outbreak with the unrelenting battle leaving hospitals struggling to meet the demands of thousands of new patients daily.

The Cambridge Societies involved in the fundraiser (Image Credit: Cambridge University India Society, The Cambridge South Asia Forum, Cambridge University Bharatiya Society)

A Cambridge India Society spokesperson told the Tab: “what we need right now is to support everyone in unity, even donating a small amount can make a huge difference to someone’s life.” Donations from students at both Universities have already surpassed £20,000 at the time of publishing, with individual contributions ranging from £5 to £1,000.

Formed in response to India’s exacerbated COVID situation by Oxford students on the 28th of April, the project expanded to include Cambridge three days later. A representative for The Cambridge India Society said they felt pulled to action after watching the healthcare system “fail” and noted the “serious shortage of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, staffing and many other essential resources” as their primary concerns. All donations will go directly towards essential and emergency aid for those most at risk.

The first £10,000 raised will be split between The Raah Foundation, SEEDS, The Dehli Solidarity Group and Mercy Mission. These NGO groups were chosen for their respective work in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Dehli and Bengaluru – currently some of the worst affected areas in India. As the group raises more funds, they intend to increase the number of NGO groups they donate to and expand their area of impact.

Posters from the students’ campaign (Image Credit: Anvee Buhtani)

The money raised will provide essential relief such as oxygen canisters, ventilators, food and water aid and home medication. The Cambridge Bharatiya society is also trying to work directly to buy important resources such as oxygen concentrators to provide relief as quickly as possible to those in need.

When asked why they decided to join the fundraising group, Nishant Saxena told us that “being Indian not only requires us to celebrate the country’s successes, but to help it amidst times of crisis despite living abroad. We at Cambridge India Society believe that this fundraiser is essential and that we should all come together from across the country to donate money to those organisations working hard to help save and improve lives.”

A spokesperson for the alliance said they were thankful for “the amazing support” they have received in such a short space of time – at the time of publishing, they have already raised over £20,000. Though the fundraiser ends May 7th, donations will be open past that time to aid those desperately in need. 

You can find the link to donate here

Cover Image Credit: Anvee Buhtani

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