April Newsletter

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Vibha – A Ray of Light in the times of COVID-19

The last few weeks have tested our humanity, empathy, and patience in a rapidly declining environment as the globe faced the wrath of the COVID-19. The world missed solid data, leadership, hope, and a clear path towards humanity’s ability to return to normalcy. Our sincerest gratitude goes out to all the medical professionals globally who have risked their lives in clinics, hospitals, and ICUs to save the lives of others. Our humblest condolences to those that have lost loved ones, and even more to those who have had to mourn in isolation.WhatsApp Image 2020-04-30 at 2.07.47 PM

We at Vibha, from the start of this pandemic, have stayed focused on what we do best – provide Vibha – “a ray of light” in a seemingly dark environment. I am happy to say that the entire Vibha family has taken the required precautions to stay healthy. Our highest priority has been the health of every Vibha volunteer, staff member, and project partner. Insisting on exercising, meditation, and healthy sleeping and eating habits have resulted in a positive attitude to bolster us through these uncertain times. The Vibha YouTube channel has featured many members of the Vibha family who are professional fitness instructors, all selflessly providing exercise and yoga routines for the community at large.

As a “sangha”, the Vibha community through its on-the-ground project partners has been providing the necessary resources to day laborers directly impacted by the shut-downs in India caused by COVID-19. While there are government programs that our project partners are leveraging, there is a segment of society in India that just does not have the required credentials (Ration card, Aadhar Card, any form of government identification) to benefit from government assistance. It is this segment of day laborers that our project partners are working closely with to ensure they have the bare minimum resources to survive.

Given our singular focus on education for the underprivileged child, we are partnering with local US projects to bridge the digital divide by providing tablets so that no child is left behind while schools move online out here. Our local Youth chapters have conducted drives to collect and provide sanitary kits to help the homeless protect themselves from the virus. Thus, the “ray of light” continues to shine brightly during these dark times.

So, what role can you play with Vibha? First and foremost, our sincerest gratitude to all our patrons who have expressed their desire to step up and provide additional resources to help us increase our impact during COVID-19. Thank you for your faith and trust in Vibha. For the past two months, as well as for the foreseeable future, Vibha will not conduct any of its regular fundraiser events – The Dream Mile, Vibha Vibe, and more, across the country. However, we stay committed to funding all our current projects, especially through this pandemic. All our projects continue to incur their normal fixed costs such as rent, teacher payroll, and the like, even though children are quarantined at home. Vibha has stayed steadfast in its commitment to ensuring the livelihoods of its project staff in the field have not been impacted. In that realm, I urge you for your steadfast commitment to Vibha. We need the required resources to ensure business continuity for our project partners through these trying times. I hope you will play your role in being Vibha – “a ray of light” for those who need it most.

The world has been through pandemics before. Maybe, not in our lifetime, but it has happened. Humanity has always come out better on the other side of it. And I have full faith that together, we will come through this one as well. My faith in humanity, empathy, steadfastness, and generosity stays as high as ever. Together, we have been changing the world for the past 27 years, and COVID-19 will not stop us.

Stay positive, hopeful, and above all empathetic to all you meet during these times. Take care of your health as well as the health of your loved ones, and practice all CDC guidelines for hygiene and social distancing. Together, we will come out of this shining.

Stay strong!

Ron Victor

(Board Chair, Vibha)

Vibha’s Relief Initiative to Feed Children and Their Families

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  • Successfully raised funds to take care of 600 families with children for the month of April

  • Funded and supported distribution of 1200 ration kits, enough to last a family of 4 for one week, to 300 street and slum dweller families in urban-poor Mumbai and urban-poor Pune.

  • Funded and supported distribution of nutritional supplements, hygiene and cleaning supplies to 300 families migrant construction workers families with children in the financial district area of Hyderabad

  • Connected face-mask and hand-sanitizer distributors and donors to Door Step School, Mumbai so that they can distribute in densely populated slums that do have access to clean water

  • Informed our 25 NGO partners around India about the various NITI Ayog’s initiatives that were rolled out to NGOs helping the un-reached most needy families, like the uniform rate of INR 21 per kg for wheat and INR 22 per kg for the rice to all charitable organizations or nonprofits running relief operations for migrant laborers and other vulnerable groups.

  • Vibha Mumbai volunteers are in constant communication with various organizations and NGOs around Mumbai, like CORP India, Door Step School, Robinhood Army, Rotary clubs and local corporators to help coordinate relief efforts within Mumbai

  • Vibha Mumbai, Vibha Pune, and Vibha Hyderabad volunteers have stepped up to be dependable partners of the Vibha supported NGOs in their area.

  • Vibha Bangalore, by conducting online events, has engaged close to 100 children from their city, to build awareness about COVID-19 hygiene and social distancing protocols.

COVID-19 – A wake-up call to close Digital Divide in Education

Amidst COVID-19, Vibha volunteers step up to ensure the continuation of education for those without access to technology.

As schools decided to close down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and take a digital learning approach, students with access to technology and online resources transitioned into this new way of daily education.  As challenging as this has been for all students, schools, educators, and parents alike, the hardest hit were those schools that serve disadvantaged students and lack resources to implement a fully digital education plan.

One such school, International Community School (ICS), a Title I Public Charter school in Atlanta that serves mostly immigrant, refugee & economically disadvantaged students, had 50 students without access to technology and hence a gap in their ability to continue their learning. Vibha volunteers in collaboration with another local non-profit PowerMyLearning stepped up to deliver laptops to these 50 students. This initiative got three different organizations to collaborate on a safe plan to handle and deliver laptops in a timely fashion to allow for no lapse in the students’ ability to continue their learning.

Millions of such children have been left out without access to learning in the wake of COVID-19 school closings.  Among all the rescue efforts and stimulus packages, education of an already underserved population took a back seat. This is where non-profit organizations like us (Vibha) working in education space have had to work harder than usual to further our mission of education for the underserved children while also assisting with fulfilling other basic necessities for their families. Thank You for being by our side during this trying time. We need YOU more than ever and we cannot do this without YOU.

Vibha Virtual Events

  • Bhangra Challenge – Vibha in association with BollyX is organizing an online dance competition “ Bhangra Challenge”.  Click here to find out more
  • Vibha Dance For A Cause -FREE community Dance classes provided by Bolly J Crew. Find out more here
  • Yoga For A Cause – FREE community Yoga classes by Yogionsite. Click here to find out more
  • Connect and Create – In an effort to engage the local communities and kids. FREE activities. An initiative of Vibha Dallas. Full Playlist is available here 
  • Vibha Story Writing Competition 2020 -Vibha Bay Area youth is hosting a story competition to unleash your creativity. Find out more here
  • The Dream Voice – Sing for their smiles -brought to you by Vibha Atlanta – April 30th – May 25th. Find out more here

 

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