Skip to main content

COVID-19 Support in South Asia: Organizations and Citizen Initiatives

April 3, 2020

Numerous humanitarian organizations, NGOs, and citizen initiatives are working to support populations hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in South Asia, where social distancing and shelter-in-place measures pose particular challenges.

The South Asia Center compiled the list below based on community recommendations and media reports. Most of the organizations accept foreign donations. 

Please note: This is an evolving list of resources addressing a fluid situation. Always check with the organization directly for the most up-to-date information. These links are provided for your convenience and do not reflect any endorsement by the University of Washington with respect to the linked site or its provider.

Last updated May 5, 2020

Bangladesh

Adhunika Foundation and Sajida Foundation
http://www.adhunika.org/donate
https://www.sajidafoundation.org/response/coronavirus-covid-19/

Nonprofit charitable organizations raising funds to distribute emergency food and hygiene packages to laborers and vulnerable populations. Adhunika says:

The COVID-19 virus is a global pandemic that we fear will soon overwhelm health systems. In Bangladesh, the impact will be hardest on marginalized communities such as laborers, rickshaw pullers, street hawkers, women and children. 

Adhunika Foundation is partnering with SAJIDA Foundation in Bangladesh to mobilize emergency funds for essentials to the Amrao Manush Program.

Restless Beings
https://www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/RohingyaCoronavirus

UK-based organization that is raising money to help Rohingya communities with Covid packs. These packs include 4 face masks, 2 soaps, Paracetamol and Saline/Vitamin supplements. Restless Beings says:

JUST £3 provides a COVID-19 Support Pack for an entire family. It includes 4 face masks, 2 hand soaps, paracetamol, vitamins and saline. A one off support pack which could potentially save lives! Let’s help others as we help ourselves. Zakat and Sadaqah accepted.

Over 50 resources have been compiled in this citizen-run list: Master List for Donations: Response to COVID-19.

India

ActionAid: Support COVID-hit Families
https://www.actionaidindia.org/SupportCOVID-hitFamilies/

Humanitarian nonprofit organization distributing sanitation kits, ration kits, and cash transfers to affected families. ActionAid says:

ActionAid Association (AAA) is responding to the crisis and focusing on the vulnerabilities of the marginalized communities it serves. Distribution of dry rations to informal and migrant workers has started in two states, and with your support and in collaboration with the concerned Government departments, AAA is exploring ways to expand distribution of support materials to 15 states.

In February 2020, AAA had advised colleagues in the organization and with allies to take all possible precautions to not become transmitters of the disease and to spread awareness amongst communities we work with. While following shutdown protocols, AAA has set up a core emergency response team to respond to the challenges faced by informal workers in urban areas and landless agricultural labour and small farmers in rural areas.

GiveIndia: #IndiaFightsCoronavirus
https://indiafightscorona.giveindia.org/

Giving platform accepting donations to vetted NGOs to supply hygiene kits, meals, and more. GiveIndia says:

We at GiveIndia are deeply concerned about the plight of the underprivileged and have been listening to all our partner nonprofits working in the frontline, trying to respond to the needs of disadvantaged communities at this unprecedented time.

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused devastation across the globe. Besides the toll on human life, with countries shutting their borders and quarantines, economies have taken a huge hit. The tragedy has just begun to unfold in India and the job losses are mounting, especially among the daily wage workers. Experts say the effect on this group will be catastrophic.

We have launched these missions as an emergency response to help the disadvantaged and support families at this time of real crisis – to provide protection against the virus and a safety net for the economic toll.

Jan Sahas Social Development Society
https://jansahasindia.org/

Humanitarian nonprofit organization raising funds to support migrant communities. Jan Sahas says:

While every section of society is affected by the current crisis, it has terribly impacted the unorganized sector where most of the employment is contractual. In India, this means a loss of livelihood and source of income of 400 million contractual and daily wage workers. Most of these people are seasonal migrants who are now forced to return to their hometowns, due to lack of financial support. Major migration corridors are linked to the cities which are currently most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jan Sahas has been closely working with migrant workers and vulnerable communities for over a decade. At present we have connected with more than 66000 migrant families of Bundelkhand to Delhi (NCR) migration corridor and we understand the needs of these communities. Currently, we are providing information through Majdoor Helpline Number 18002000211 and generating data of people who need help or emergency support.


A citizens’ initiative to provide humanitarian relief to the city’s working classes. Note: the link above directs to donation instructions hosted on the
Kafila blog. The organizers say:

In the wake of the health and subsistence crisis triggered by the rapid spread of Covid-19 in India, the Citizen Collective for Humanitarian Relief, in association with the Centre for Education & Communication, is organizing emergency distribution of food among the working-class families of Delhi NCR. As part of this initiative we have set up a Mazdoor Dhaba (workers’ kitchen) in Delhi University.

Our aim is to provide two cooked meals a day to those families who have lost all source of livelihood following the complete nation-wide lockdown ordered on 25th March. The cost for one family’s meal (5 persons) is about Rs. 250, and as of today we are able to reach 500 people every day. We need your help and financial support to sustain and expand this effort.

Milaap: #IndiaFightsCoronavirus
https://milaap.org/communities/covid-19

Crowdfunding platform accepting donations for citizen initiatives to mitigate the economic crisis faced by vulnerable families. Milaap says:

It’s important to remember that not all can remain in quarantine without their lives being completely upturned. The financial impact, especially on families that survive on daily income – laborers, domestic helps, taxi drivers, restaurant waiters, beauticians/hairdressers have been far reaching. On the other hand, there are many people in our society: doctors, nurses, conservancy workers (garbage/waste segregators), delivery staff, field volunteers working tirelessly to ensure our societal needs are met: often at the risk of personal safety.

This crowdfunding initiative by Milaap is to highlight citizen initiatives carried out to mitigate the economic crisis faced by vulnerable families as well as support those who are in the frontlines with the monetary resources they deserve.

Sangraha – Mask of Need: COVID Initiative (Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh)
https://www.sangraha.org.in/covid-initiative?fbclid=IwAR38PlG-wTdKiAXcKmsAJbccPdMMDfclKo1g5jcoEkAlymsbj4nHLKNaomk

The Sangraha – Mask of Need: Covid Initiative is an endeavor to support and sustain Artisans, custodians of heritage craft. They are embroidering masks during the pandemic. This will also support them meet their basic monthly supplies during the times when they don’t have work.

More initiatives in India are available in this Google Document: NGOs for Covid Relief for India’s Poorest

Nepal

Care
https://www.care.org/country/nepal

International humanitarian nonprofit organization working in Nepal since 1978. Care says:

20,000 of the poorest households in the poorest countries need lifesaving hygiene items right now. CARE’s Emergency Surge Fund is distributing soap, water, and more, and is installing 10,000 handwashing stations to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19 and other deadly diseases.

Medic Mobile
https://medicmobile.org/blog/covid-19-and-medic-mobiles-response

Nonprofit organization partnering with the Government of Nepal to improve health in hard-to-reach communities.

Our efforts have been grounded in our prior experience during major outbreaks and fast-evolving crises, including earthquakes in Nepal and Haiti. They are also grounded in a few undeniable truths. First, we know Covid will disproportionately affect the poor and vulnerable, and may in fact deepen prevailing inequalities. Second, the global community will need to adopt a systems strengthening approach to Covid-19 response, not only to support with immediate needs but also to preserve the gains made to-date in community health and to create more robust, resilient and prepared health systems going forward. Third, response efforts that build on existing platforms, infrastructure and relationships wherever possible with minimal disruption will have greater success and sustainability in the long run. 

Possible and Nyaya Health Nepal
https://possiblehealth.org/blog/reducing-the-impact-of-covid-19-here-is-how-you-can-help/
https://www.nyayahealthnepal.org/nhncovid19appeal

Nonprofit organization and Nepal-based implementation partner supporting healthcare for underserved communities. Possible says:

Possible is working with Nyaya Health Nepal to support a dedicated team of Nepali doctors, nurses, and health workers to respond to the outbreak in line with the Government of Nepal and World Health Organization guidance. They have planned clinical work flows to maintain quality services and timely referral for all patients, established isolation rooms, reinforced infection control protocols, and updated electronic systems to capture COVID-19 surveillance data.  

Pakistan

Alkhidmat Foundation
https://alkhidmat.org/coronavirus-emergency-appeal/

Humanitarian nonprofit organization distributing rations and sanitation kits. Alkhidmat says:

In collaboration with its local and global partners, Alkhidmat Foundation Pakistan has already started taking crucial steps to ensure that the most vulnerable segment of society is also kept safe. These measures include establishment of isolation centers, emergency medical care, provision of precautionary goods and awareness campaigns. However, still millions of underprivileged people remain short of supplies and face a higher risk of infections.

Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières 
http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article52604

Worker solidarity movement distributing rations to vulnerable factory workers in Pakistan. ESSF says:

It is clear that we are about to experience a massive social crisis far beyond anything experienced thus far. Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement is announcing an emergency #LabourReliefCampaign to help vulnerable workers.

 

Elaj Trust
https://www.gofundme.com/f/pakistanvscorona-ration-drive?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&fbclid=IwAR1q56MUSiRSv_ikIju3wU6alY90fiJI3WJMGzj0wjq7EcpxcaHlZ0kJ-e8

This is an appeal from the Elaj Trust team and Aik Awam, led by Jibran Nasir, to support our Food Drive during the Corona lockdown in Karachi. Help us provide monthly ration packs to families currently struggling to make ends meet due to the lockdown. The lockdown has been put into effect in order to protect us. We  need to look out for each other during these unfortunate times. 

If you would like to donate directly (not through GoFundMe), contact our Graduate Student Assistant at jshouse@uw.edu.

Saylani Welfare International Trust
https://www.saylaniwelfare.com

Humanitarian nonprofit organization distributing meals. Saylani says:

Saylani Welfare International Trust was built on the fundamentals of breaking the cycle of poverty, alleviating the financial troubles of the poor, giving people a chance to live a dignified life and spreading happiness.

Shaheed Syed Ali Raza Abidi Memorial Foundation (SSARA)
https://www.facebook.com/SSARAMEMORIALFOUNDATION/

Humanitarian nonprofit organization distributing meals in Karachi and Lahore. Sabiha Akhlaq of SSARA recently told the BBC:

“We are delivering 200 freshly cooked meals a day, and raashan [ration] grocery packets as well. On 25 March, we delivered 125 raashan packets to members of the transgender community,” Akhlaq said. “They are the most vulnerable and at-risk segment of society. It was so heartbreaking to see their profound gratitude and sheer surprise that somebody had thought of them. They, too, have lost their means of earning.”

Sri Lanka

Care
https://www.care.org/country/sri-lanka

International humanitarian nonprofit organization working in Sri Lanka since 1950. Care says:

20,000 of the poorest households in the poorest countries need lifesaving hygiene items right now. CARE’s Emergency Surge Fund is distributing soap, water, and more, and is installing 10,000 handwashing stations to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19 and other deadly diseases.

Mari de Silva – Citizen Initiative
https://twitter.com/Mari_deSilva/status/1244985936519233538

Citizen initiative collecting donations to support Sri Lanka’s vulnerable communities. Mari de Silva says:

Daily wage earners, families living and working on plantations, migrant workers, sex workers, trans people, people living with disabilities….This relief will go towards the purchase of dry ration packs for families, and also towards monetary relief for those who are unable to find work during this time.