Sewa International, within eight weeks of starting its ‘Help India Defeat COVID-19’ campaign, has distributed over 5,708 oxygen concentrators and 177 ventilators to 566 hospitals and COVID-19 Care Centers across India, covering 26 of 28 Indian states.
Overcoming numerous challenges, starting from transporting odd sized pallets to its warehouse from the airport to supplying lifesaving equipment to hard-to-reach corners of India, volunteers from Sewa and its partner organizations successfully tackled a huge logistical challenge in the middle of a raging health crisis.
Braving the pandemic while many of their volunteers tested positive with the virus, the Sewa team arranged 60+ trucks for transporting the medical equipment, distributed medicine and food kits to 1,25,000+ households, and juggled priorities while working under constant pressure to pick the right hospitals and NGOs from among a long list.
Sewa International volunteers received equipment sent by the Sewa units from USA and other countries in their primary hub in New Delhi. They later transported them to 44 secondary hubs within India, and then to 410+ nearby locations by trucks and couriers.
Kumar Subham, Chief Operating Officer, Sewa International, India is coordinating the distribution. He said that over 11,000 volunteers are involved in the distribution: “Yes, the work has been demanding and the team has been working round the clock. But it is not tiring at all. It’s like working for our families. In this case it is the extended family, the whole of India, as we say, Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam (World is One Family), so none of us mind the hours we put in,” he said.
Sewa distributed equipment in seven phases and prioritized their delivery based on the severity of cases and population density. Uttar Pradesh, home to over 240 million people, got 485 concentrators. Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu received 460, 300, 276, 275, and 235 concentrators respectively and occupied the top six spots.
“In the last 50+ days, we doubled our partnerships in India to 240+ partners, and Indian Diaspora from 35+ countries have supported us. So much work was possible due to the collective strength of the diaspora and the non-profit ecosystem in India. Thanks to the spirit of Sewa rooted in the Indian ethos,” Shyam Parande, the Global Coordinator of Sewa International said.
“In Sewa, we say, Together We Server Better. All the work carried out by Sewa teams from the USA, India, and many other countries in the past two months amply reflect the essence of this statement. We are glad that we have been able to serve India in its direst hour of need,” said Arun Kankani, Sewa International’s President.