Ishaan Sachdeva felt scared and helpless as a particularly deadly variant of COVID-19 ripped through his home country. He knew he had to do something.
The more transmissible and severe B.1.617 variant first identified in India in October is causing widespread hospitalizations and deaths there. Last month Sachdeva’s grandmother passed away due to COVID-19 and a lack of medical infrastructure in India. His grandfather had passed away the previous September.
All the while Sachdeva has been feeling safe in Barrie, having come here three years ago to study at Georgian College, extending from the business administration advanced diploma to an honours bachelor business degree program.
The situation became even more frightening for Sachdeva after he contracted the virus in November.
“It’s hard for me,” he said. “I wasn’t there to help them. This is not just me, but all the international students who can’t go back.”
With his family in New Delhi having to deal head-on with the critical situation, Sachdeva said he was unable to share his own emotions and concerns with them. But what he decided he could do was support them and the people of India.
As president of the Georgian College Students' Association, Sachdeva knows there is a vast international community of 2,500 students from other countries studying at the college’s campuses in Barrie and surrounding communities. Students from India alone number in the hundreds.
So he turned to the student body’s executive committee and they put together a fundraiser to help India, which has endured so much in recent months with more than 21.8 million confirmed infections and nearly 240,000 deaths.
Recognizing the pandemic is having an impact on students, particularly those from other countries who are unable to travel and be with their families, the students have decided to spend the month of June raising money for India.
They’ve reached out to the Barrie Indian Association and the South Asian Association of Simcoe County and now they’re turning to the wider community in their efforts to raise money.
Their campaign is a partnership with the Canadian Red Cross Society to help support the financial needs of the health care system in India. Just a week into the campaign they have already raised more than $3,000.
The money raised will enable the Red Cross in India to support COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery activities in India.
For more information or to contribute to the campaign, click here.