By Hitan Mehta
British Asian Trust
OVER the past five weeks, I have been reading with growing sadness the numbers of deaths from the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities from the Covid-19 virus.
Even more upsetting has been the numbers of emails I have been receiving of funeral notices of Asians who have been passing away and I’m feeling very sad that I cannot go to pay tribute to some of these people in person.
Equally though, it has been heartening to see the British Asian community working on the front line in combatting this pandemic. Whether it is in the NHS or as key workers stacking shelves or providing transport on the Underground, so many have found ways of helping the UK – changing their businesses to serve the community by serving meals or providing supplies to hospitals and those in need up and down the country.
Over the next few weeks, we will be working to celebrate this vital contribution through a campaign to highlight our community heroes.
The same British Asian community is now looking to stand together with their friends and family in south Asia to ensure that families receive the food, medicine and critical essentials they urgently need to help them survive.
South Asia is home to 27 per cent of the world’s poorest people, with 750 million surviving on less than $2.50 (£2) per day. Now tens of millions of vulnerable families across the region are facing life or death situations because of Covid-19.
The lockdown in India has seen mass migration from the cities to villages. Pakistan’s healthcare system is creaking under the pressure. Bangladesh’s densely populated urban areas and refugee camps are a hotbed for the virus. Sri Lankans are facing yet another threat to their way of life.
In response to the needs in south Asia and the community desire to support the region, the British Asian Trust has launched an emergency appeal for south Asia. The Prince of Wales has given his support to the British Asian Trust’s Covid-19 Emergency Appeal for South Asia through a video message specially recorded at Birkhall in Scotland.
Prince Charles said: “Over 400 million daily workers have seen their livelihoods disappear with no form of income and no savings. They and their families now face a fight of survival. The British Asian Trust’s Covid emergency appeal will support those in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka who need it most. With your generosity the British Asian Trust will help those who have nowhere else to turn and offer hope to those who face the most desperate circumstances. With your help we can make a difference.”
The British Asian Trust was set up by Prince Charles to help ensure money was being effectively and efficiently used in south Asia. With more than 13 years’ experience of being a trusted partner between the British Asian community and supporting great projects in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the British Asian Trust is uniquely placed to ensure that donations have the maximum impact. With trusted partners on the ground, our support will be provided in the form of cash transfers, food packages, medical equipment including PPE, testing kits, hygiene products and helpline support.
By acting now, we can stop a crisis from becoming a catastrophe.
See www.britishasian trust.org for details.