Like the rest of the world, India has continued to combat the deadly COVID-19 virus for over a year. However, in April 2021, the nation was suddenly swept by a surge in COVID cases. New daily coronavirus cases have hit global records, surpassing 400,000 on May 1. Deaths have soared past 3,000 per day. Hospitals are turning away patients and running short of beds, oxygen, and COVID-19 medications. GAVI has titled the second wave of COVID-19 in India as an unfolding humanitarian crisis.
As a product of Indian immigrants, I fear for my family in India each day and the state of their health and their safety as the virus continues to evolve and devastate all in its path. In Indian culture, education is something that is highly valued and respected at all levels. Unfortunately, as a result of COVID-19, according to UNICEF, over 168 million children globally have been out of school for almost a full year.
Ensuring that all children and youth in India had access to quality, inclusive, and equitable education was already an issue that has only been exacerbated as a result of COVID-19, especially for women and girls. According to UNICEF, an estimated 6.1 million children out of school in 2014 reduced from 13.46 million in 2006. Out of 100 students, 29 percent of girls and boys drop out of school before completing the full cycle of elementary education, and often they are the most marginalized children. Around 50% of adolescents do not complete secondary education, with approximately 20 million children not attending pre-school. While these are improvements and much is left to be done, this is simply not enough and the data shows that the schooling rates are worse than ever due to this pandemic.
How can you and education advocates around the globe help India and its aspiring learners?
- Invest in education by giving: there are several organizations around the world that work each day to ensure that students in humanitarian and crisis-affected settings are supported and able to learn. A list of organizations to donate to include:
- The Global Campaign for Education – US
- The Akansha Foundation
- Oxfam India
- Others via GiveIndia
- Help frontline heroes: without a doubt, health workers have been heroes during this pandemic regardless of location in the world. Here are organizations providing direct COVID relief in India by distributing necessary medical supplies including oxygen tanks, masks, and psychological support for health care workers:
- Direct Relief
- Association for India’s Development
- The American India Foundation
- The Indian Red Cross Society
- Khalsa Aid
- SEWA International
- Urge your members of Congress to provide support to India in any way possible. To find your member of Congress, see here.
- Raise your voice on social media. A simple retweet or repost can make a difference and allow someone to learn about the dire situation in India. Follow GCE-US socials for more information and ways you can advocate for all children and youth in India and around the world.
LinkedIn: The Global Campaign for Education - US
Facebook: The Global Campaign for Education - US
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Together, let us ensure that the world is safe and healthy. In the wise words of Woodrow T. Wilson, “we cannot be separated or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end.” Please check in on your Indian friends and colleagues at this time and provide them the support and love that they need.
Learn more about: Education in Emergencies
Shruti Nallappa graduated with a degree in Global Affairs, a minor in Korean Studies, and dual concentrations in Global Governance and Human Security from George Mason University in December 2019. At the Global Campaign for Education - US (GCE-US), she is the Senior Fellow, where she assists with many of the organization's needs including social media presence, communications, engagement, public policy, and advocacy work. As a Senior Fellow, she hopes to gain knowledge about improving education at both an international and domestic level and the steps necessary in order to implement quality education policies. Shruti previously served as an intern for Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) in Washington, D.C. where she worked closely with the Legislative Director and Foreign Affairs staff. She has also studied at George Mason University Korea and the University of Oxford in England where she obtained a certificate in history, politics, and society. Shruti is now pursuing her graduate studies at The George Washington University where she will be obtaining an MA in International Affairs with a focus on the Africa region and humanitarian assistance.