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  • Writer's pictureAakansha Mahajan

Help Kerala: it's time to show that we care!

You feel alive to the degree that you feel you can help others.” – John Travolta

Rain, rain and lots and lots of rain.

We all are aware of the natural disaster which happened in Kerala, God’s own country.

Dozens of people were missing, hundreds were dead and more than a million displaced in the worst flooding to hit Kerala, the southern Indian state of India..!!

Continuous rains over the past few weeks caused destruction in Kerala leaving so many dead and thousands of locals and tourists stranded without shelter, access clean water and medical facilities.

The state has been through a lot during the flood times but now the rains have stopped. Does that give them a sigh of relief? Not really.

Should these people be forgotten now? Is the problem resolved?

On asking people to come together and support, I have seen a lot of reluctance in providing the support which our own people need now in this difficult time. Not that people are not ready to help, there are many people who are doing whatever they can (or may be more than they can) but there are still many out there who have questions. Questions like: what can we do about it? Why should we do charity? Who are they to us? How do we help? What will we get out of it? And what not.

For those who do not know much about the current situation- the water level in flood-hit Kerala has started to recede but rebuilding the state will take many years. In real sense- many many years!

After all, the calamity, the worst Kerala has seen in a century, has displaced over a million people who are currently staying at relief camps.

As the rain ease, the focus is going to be on aiding those whose houses and livelihood were destroyed, a scale of rebuilding which will require billions and trillions of rupees.

Do we still need to ask- why should we help? Period.

Helping others without expecting anything in return is what true self-worth is all about.” – Gavin Bird

For those of us who are safe at our places and are living a life with our loved ones, we should be grateful that we are not a part of such an aching disaster.

Our little contribution will not affect us at all, but you never know, how much is it going to help those who are in need.

It is rightly said by Anne Frank- “No one has ever become poor by giving.

So, without much ado, without thinking about who those people are, whether they are related to us or not, let us come together and take a small step to give life to many people who need us, badly. They are our people and let us be generous enough to show that we are there for them.

Since, after a few conversations with my relatives and near ones, I realized that many of us do not know how to help even though we really wish to, I have tried to collate a list of ways through which the help can be provided to Kerala people. You may choose whichever option is convenient to you.

Disclaimer: While many of the below mentioned are doing a commendable work, every initiative may not be authentic. Hence, I advise you all to verify things on your part before making any contribution.

1. For monetary contributions: Chief minister’s distress relief fund-

Contributions related to money can be transferred directly to Kerala government bank’s account with the State bank of India.

Account holder name: Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund

Bank: State bank of India

Account number: 67319948232

IFSC: SBIN0070028

Branch: City Branch, Trivandrum

UPI: keralacmdrf@sbi

You can make your donation as per your convenience: cards, UPI, mobile wallets (like mobikwik, my airtel app etc), internet banking, cheques, demand drafts or real-time mobile payments interface.

Just choose and you are good to help!

And it does not end here-

There are online donation channels as well created by Kerala government which accepts Mastercard, VISA, Rupay and other international cards, besides net banking.

Apart from this, you can also transfer money via mobile-payments platform Paytm. Paytm has added a new icon ‘donate’ on the home screen of its app and website and the money can be transferred through that. The company also claims that Paytm will make equal donation as that of each user from its side.

And yes- good news- contributions to the relief fund are exempt from taxation under India’s income tax act.

2. For those who believe in donating supplies over money, e-commerce is a great way:

Online retailers such as BigBasket and are great platforms for providing supplies to the Kerala people. These portals will allow you to choose items for donation, pay for them and place the order. The e-tailors will do the rest and that too free of cost.

The grocery shopping app BigBasket has tied up with Goonj whereas Amazon India has tied up with many other relief organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, World Vision, Oxfam India and Goonj. The website allows donations from even those people who are not residing in India.

The portals also assist you in understanding and deciding what you can donate (the desperately needed items by the victims) as they have made a list of products such as soap, batteries, sanitary napkins and water purifiers.

And yes- BigBasket is also offering a 20% discount on next orders for shoppers who donate for the Kerala floods- an initiative and support from their end, how are you supporting?

3. Relief groups:

If you want to directly connect and donate to the relief organizations in Kerala, it can also be done through the following relief groups-

a. Goonj accepts donations to its bank and through its Ketto fundraising drive.

b. Oxfam India accepts donations through its fundraising campaign on crowdfunding platform Ketto.

c. Milaan has launched a campaign for the Kerala floods.

d. Habitat for Humanity Rapid Response and Indo-Global Social Service Society, too, are running fundraising drives.

e. HelpAge India, a non-profit for disadvantaged senior citizens, is also accepting contributions.

You can read about them in detail on their websites, if you wish to donate directly through them.

So, what are you waiting for?

Do it now. Donate for your own people. They need you and your support- NOW!

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