An NRI couple based in California, US, raised over ₹37 lakh to procure over 200 oxygen concentrators that would be supplied to various hospitals in Delhi.
The couple, Rohit and Kanika Mediratta, who has been living in Palo Alto, California, for the past eight years, felt helpless when they saw the severe oxygen crisis in India, especially in Delhi, where doctors were sending frequent alerts about the depleting oxygen stock.
They came to know through Rohit's brother, a neurosurgeon at a hospital in New Delhi, that doctor had stopped routine checkups and conducted only lifesaving surgery to conserve the oxygen.
"We felt helpless and started looking around to see what we could do sitting so far from India," Kanika told The New Indian Express.
The two decided to raise funds through a GoFundMe campaign and managed to raise over ₹37 lakh. Rohit, the Senior Director of Engineering at Nokia Inc, felt that this was bigger than their little family and wanted to help even one person through their campaign and began their initiative 24 hours later. Kanika said they identified a supplier for oxygen concentrators by calling 20 different manufacturers, distributors and suppliers before they got a lead. They were introduced to Piyush Tewari, the founder of SaveLifeFoundation, through Kanika's father's contacts. The foundation then became their partner.
Kanika said that although they struggled to get donations initially, several people from the Indian diaspora in Singapore, UK, Switzerland, and India came forward and donated later. Her cousin Monica Khosla helped them set up their website covidreliefindia.com for updates, and an engineer who created a Bot app for the oxygen concentrator supply in the California Bay area helped them restructure their GoFundMe campaign. Their campaign gained traction when Congressman Ro Khanna tweeted about the initiative.
The duo, in collaboration with SaveLifeFoundation, was able to procure 224 oxygen concentrators, of which 140 have been delivered and are operational in Burari Hospital, Delhi. The couple admitted that managing their professional work and the initiative hasn't been easy because of the different time zones. However, they also noted that their efforts were nothing as compared to the frontline workers in India.