Appeal to support vulnerable families in Asia


South Asia is home to 27 per cent of the world’s poorest people, with 750 million surviv¬ing on less than $2.50 (£2) per day. Now tens of millions of vulnera¬ble families across the region are facing life or death situations be¬cause of Covid-19 (Photo: Yawar Nazir/Getty Images).
South Asia is home to 27 per cent of the world’s poorest people, with 750 million surviv¬ing on less than $2.50 (£2) per day. Now tens of millions of vulnera¬ble families across the region are facing life or death situations be¬cause of Covid-19 (Photo: Yawar Nazir/Getty Images).

By Hitan Mehta
Executive director
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.