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Vice-President Kamala Harris opened a special discussion hosted by the US State Department recently to take stock of the diaspora and wider efforts towards the , being led by non-profit organisations in the country such as Indiaspora.
“For years diaspora groups like Indiaspora and American India Foundation have built bridges between the United States and India,” said Harris, whose mother Shyamala Gopalan hailed from Tamil Nadu.
“Generations of my family come from India. My mother was born and raised in India and I have family members who live in India today. The welfare of India is critically important to the United States,” she said.
The ‘Bolstering US Covid Relief Efforts in India: Perspectives from the Diaspora’ session last week was moderated by the State Department’s South and Central Asia Senior Bureau Official, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Ervin Massinga.
Following Vice President Harris’ remarks, I Founder M.R. Rangaswami spoke about the diaspora and the wider American community’s unprecedented response to India’s Covid-19.
“One of our biggest focus areas for Indiaspora is philanthropy. When Covid-19 first hit, we started a campaign called ChaloGive. This has hit everyone on a personal basis. I’m treating this as a personal emergency as well as a call to action,” said Rangaswami, who lost his sister to Covid-19 a few months ago.
“We are grateful to the US government, to the diaspora, and to the greater American community for stepping up during this time,” he said.
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The ChaloGive for India campaign, officially launched earlier in May, facilitates giving by the global diaspora toward on-the-ground NGOs working in three areas of Covid-19 relief: the creation of urgently needed Covid care centres and makeshift hospitals through non-profit WISH Foundation; direct cash transfer to families who have lost a primary earning member through non-profit GiveIndia; and food relief and livelihood assistance for migrant workers and other underserved populations through EdelGive Foundation to non-profits Goonj and Jan Sahas.
Donors from anywhere in the world can either choose one area to donate to, or make a contribution that will be evenly split between all three areas. Donors in the US also receive a tax exemption.
Sanjeev Joshipura, Executive Director of Indiaspora, said: “The message from the Vice President about the strong and long-standing US-India partnership was a reaffirming one, and we are humbled by her acknowledgement of how has played a critical role.
“During a time when people are hurting, the message was clear that the United States, along with its Indian diaspora, will continue to stand with India.”