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Michigan State students raise thousands for COVID-19 relief in India

None of them had prior fundraising experience but in less than 48 hours, they reached their goal of $15,000.
Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 4:52 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Mid-Michigan is reaching halfway around the world to help a country ravaged by COVID-19. Cases in India have surged to 21 million and hospitals are being overrun.

For as much as Michigan and the United States as a whole are struggling with COVID-19, India is getting hit even harder.

Today alone India reported more than 412,000 new cases and nearly 4,000 deaths, both grim records. Now, a group of MSU graduate students who are from India are stepping up to help their home country.

“We were feeling pretty helpless to be here, and not know what to do to help people back home,” MSU graduate student Darshana Devarajan said.

Being away from your country during a time of crisis is hard, but to see loved ones suffering too, is even worse.

“A lot of our family members were COVID-19 positive,” MSU graduate student Manasi Mishra said.

“I was taking calls at 1:30 at night here, given the time difference. One of my family members was COVID-19 positive, so I’m trying to organize a hospital bed, trying to be as helpful as possible from here,” MSU graduate student Vanika Grover said.

None of them had prior fundraising experience but in just two days, they reached their goal of $15,000.

“We are working around the clock to promote it, and across departments and colleges and networks,” Mishra said. “I think that’s led to us achieving our first goal in less than 48 hours.”

They found other alumni groups, the Michigan State Indian Students organization, and took to social media to get the word out.

“The overwhelming support from the MSU community was something that really surprised us, but also it made us feel good about the cause that we were raising for,” Devarajan said.

They’ve expanded the fundraiser to five non-profit organizations that provide things like oxygen, grocery kits, and free ambulance rides.

“People are still struggling to access resources. It’s just very distressing to have that in the back of our minds as we hear of more people, more friends and family testing positive for COVID-19,” Mishra said.

As of Thursday, May 6, they are almost at $27,000. Their new goal is to raise $50,000 by May 15 and spread the word from beyond the greater Lansing area to the entire state of Michigan.

“The pandemic has shown us that the world is more connected than we think it is,” Devarajan said. “When the numbers keep going up, that’s what keeps us going, that what we’re doing is important and that we have the support of our community.”

To donate to the Go Fund Me, you can CLICK HERE.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

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