Covid-19: Indian expat who lost eight relatives in 22 days backs aid campaign
Juhi Khan's Future Philanthropist group is working with the Dar Al Ber Society to provide medical support for families and healthcare facilities
A Dubai resident who lost eight relatives in less than a month to Covid-19 in India has launched an initiative with a local charity to help patients in her home country.
Juhi Khan said she had “no tears left” when family members, including her father-in-law, died over a 22-day period during the recent surge in coronavirus cases in India.
She has now launched the We Are With You, India campaign in association with UAE charitable organisation the Dar Al Ber Society, so people overseas can make donations.
The money will be spent on medicines, oxygen cylinders and hospital beds, as well as providing support to patients recovering from Covid-19 and those grieving the death of a loved one.
This is my way of healing – to give back. Maybe others who lost family and friends to Covid-19 will want to contribute and heal too
Funds collected will also be used to purchase protective suits and organise ambulance services for hospitals in Indian towns and remote districts.
“People can contribute from anywhere in the world,” Ms Khan, founder of community group Future Philanthropist, told The National.
“We are hoping they will come forward to give back to India. People are suffering mentally and emotionally and we want to help in a big way.”
Ms Khan, 48, who has been involved in charity work in the UAE for years, had begun work on a programme to provide medical aid to India even before her relatives fell victim to the pandemic.
But that tragedy provided extra motivation.
“When you suffer such personal loss, the wound is very deep. I can feel their pain in India.
"The deaths in my family made the urge more intense to go forward with the initiative I was planning,” she said.
“This is my way of healing – to give back. Maybe others who lost family and friends to Covid-19 will want to contribute and heal too.
“People who have lost their loved ones know how important this support is to India," Ms Khan said.
“We were unable to fly back to help because of flight restrictions and I’m trying to fill that gap.”
Flights from India to the UAE have been suspended from April 25 to prevent the spread of a variant first recorded there.
India reported 100,636 new cases on Monday, the lowest number in more than two months.
There were 2,427 deaths on Monday, taking the overall number of fatalities to 349,186.
Several states in India have been under lockdown for more than a month, with Maharashtra and Delhi recently gradually easing stay-home orders.
Ms Khan checks on her family back home to find out how they are coping.
“To lose eight people in three weeks is not easy. We are in constant touch but we have to accept the reality that our loved ones are gone,” she said.
“There is an Urdu proverb that if you lose support, then you become a support for someone else. That is what we are trying to do. We have to find some positivity.”
Ms Khan is working with local governments and community groups to identify where aid is needed most.
The Dar Al Ber society has set up a separate online link and will monitor the allocation of donations.
Mohammad Al Muhairi, executive director of Dar Al Ber, said the programme reflected the shared history between the two nations.
He said the “humanitarian campaign aimed to ensure that those affected by the pandemic received appropriate treatment".
"It also aims to support measures to curb the spread of the pandemic in India, to ensure the health and well-being of the Indian people."
Ms Khan will also work with UAE-Indian hospital group Aster DM Foundation.
Dr Azad Moopen, founder of Aster Healthcare, said the group was happy to work together to provide medical support.
Ms Khan will work with volunteer teams to make sure the assistance reaches people who need it the most, and organise medical camps and ambulance services.
To take part in the campaign, email the group at: email@example.com
Contributions can be made directly by the Dar Al Ber Society's donation link: https://daralber.ae/india/index.html
UAE residents can contribute by sending a text message by du and Etisalat with the word "India" to the numbers: 6026 for Dh200 ($54), 6027 for Dh100, 2252 for Dh50, 6025 for Dh20 and 2289 for Dh10.
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Updated: June 8, 2021 09:01 PM