India 2021: Corona Emergency Help

(Fotos: Bodhicitta Foundation)

In April 2021, we received the dramatic call for help from Nagpur in central India via Ayya Yeshe. Compassion in Action has been supporting the Bodhicitta Foundation founded by Ayya Yeshe there since 2020, which cares for the most oppressed members of the lowest castes from the slums in the form of education and nutrition programs.


The Corona pandemic was extremely severe there, and people were unable to protect themselves from infection due to their living conditions, nor could they afford the cost of adequate medical care for those infected. Ayya Yeshe writes very poignantly:


"In Delhi, so many people died that parking lots had to be converted into ghats for cremation, and the ashes of the bodies fell like snow. People were so poor after paying an average of $1700 to save the lives of their loved ones that they buried their deceased in shallow graves on the river bank, which later washed downstream and caused massive water pollution. People ran from hospital to hospital with their loved ones, but there were not enough beds, nor enough oxygen. People could only hold their loved ones as they suffocated and died."


During the worst periods of the pandemic, the most pressing problems were:

Day laborers were locked out or their normal jobs were cut for many months, which meant that many poor people were on the verge of starvation.

Many poor people needed medical help and hospital places to save their lives.

There was a lack of masks and disinfectants.

People needed an ambulance to get to the hospital.

People with covid needed oxygen.

People who had spent almost their entire life savings to save the life of a relative with covid could not afford cremation, which became a public health threat due to bodies not being buried or buried on riverbanks.

Based on these accounts, the MiA Board of Directors made a circular decision on May 10 to send an emergency grant of €5,000 to the Bodhicitta Foundation to provide medical supplies and food to the neediest in the slums of Nagpur and surrounding villages.


On October 18, we received the final report on the use of our emergency aid. According to this report, through our support

  • 20 people were provided with life-saving oxygen
  • Supported 330 families with the equivalent of two weeks of food.
  • 56 sick people were transported to the hospital
  • counseled 200 people with their grief and post-traumatic stress disorders
  • 5 women are protected from domestic violence whose husbands had broken their bones or threatened to kill them and their children.
  • 12 families helped to pay for the cremation of their deceased loved ones.

Ayya Yeshe concludes her report with the following thanks: "MiA's support has been absolutely crucial in one of the worst humanitarian crises to hit India in modern times. Through this initiative, we have directly helped an estimated 650 people and literally kept them from dying or starving to death from covid. We have continued to cement important trust and good relationships in the community to continue our good work building bridges, engaging supporters and volunteers, and alleviating human suffering.


Text: Simpert Würfl