Frequently Asked Questions
What is the oxygen concentrator for India campaign? What is Sewa trying to do?
Sending oxygen to India is Sewa International’s top priority as it saves lives and India is currently experiencing an acute oxygen shortage. We are working to procure oxygen concentrators, ventilators and other emergency medical equipment and supplies to ship to India to deal with the big surge in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks. We are providing helplines and running awareness campaigns about COVID-19 preventive measures to reduce hospitalization. We are supporting individuals and families affected by COVID-19 in India by establishing isolation centers and helping hospitals run by Sewa’s partner organizations extend their bed capacity.
Why did Sewa International launch this campaign now?
Sewa, a Hindu faith-based non-profit organization, has as one of its guiding principle the Hindu blessing: “Sarve bhavantu sukinaha, Sarve santu niramayaha” (May all be happy, may all be free from illness). We believe in “Working for the wellbeing of all” and it is our endeavor to put our belief into practice wherever we serve. As many of our volunteers are from the Indian American community in the US, we are deeply connected with India and the vision and values that drive our work are deeply rooted in the ethos of India.
In this hour of serious COVID-19 crisis in India, we feel strongly that it is our duty to save as many lives as possible. We believe in serving people without discrimination and not expecting anything in return. Many of Sewa’s donors, volunteers, and supporters have their families, relatives, and friends living in India. Naturally, a profound concern and desire to help India win its war against COVID-19 is uppermost in their minds.
What is the big picture behind this campaign? What is your goal for the campaign?
As a humanitarian non-profit organization with solid experience in carrying out relief and recovery work during more than 25 disasters, natural and manmade, Sewa is committed to serving people in need.
By providing much needed oxygen concentrators and emergency medical supplies to hospitals, and food and medicine to the needy families and senior citizen homes and orphanages in India, we believe we are answering the call of duty and doing our bit to help humanity in distress.
At present, our goal is to raise $10 million, and use the money to buy/procure much needed medical supplies, ship them to India, and have our India partners work with local health officials, administrators, and community leaders to distribute these supplies where they are most urgently needed.
Through this campaign, we would like to do our bit to help India save lives, arrest the spread of the coronavirus and prevent a disaster. Helping India now would be in the best interest of the world as no one in the world safe until all of us are safe.
What has Sewa done during the pandemic to help American families in need?
Sewa has organized COVID-19 relief activities in the US for more than a year now and has served over 750,000 people. Sewa volunteers continue to serve in over 200 American cities in 30 states. They have procured and distributed over 700,000 N-95 and surgical masks to physicians, nurses, and frontline workers such as firefighters and police officers when the country had an acute shortage of masks. They served freshly cooked food to frontline workers and senior citizens and donated more than $100,000 to local food banks.
Sewa chapters donated groceries and money to homeless shelters and prepared and served hot meals there. Working together and led by Sewa International, Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist temples, Sikh Gurudwaras and cultural and spiritual organizations across America provided goods and services valued at over $50 million in the past twelve months. Sewa’s provided goods and services worth $15 million in this effort. Please see our “Dharma Report” for more information --
When will you post progress reports on how many people and in what way our contribution of money helped people in India suffering due to COVID-19 pandemic?
We will update the Sewa Facebook page as well as the Sewa website with the latest information about the lifesaving equipment and supplies that we send to and distribute in India. There will be a time lag between our work starting here and the work completed in India, and we will provide a progress update at least once a week in the first 2-3 weeks and once a month for next 3-4 months.
Is there a report on what has been bought and how the funds are used?
As of today, 400 oxygen-concentrators have been shipped to India, and 2,184 additional oxygen-concentrators are ordered and in the Sewa warehouse in Atlanta getting ready to be shipped. The equipment, supplies and the assistance we are providing to India are valued at $1.5 million and include support to distribute essential medicines and food to families in distress.
Can you provide some information on ground staff you have in India?
We are coordinating work with Sewa International, Bharat, for distributing medical equipment and essentials kits. Sewa International, Bharat, has also set up a helpline to facilitate the coordination of distributing these supplies. Sewa International, Bharat, has about 1000 volunteers and staff fully engaged and working in India at present on this project. Sewa is partnering with a few non-profits in India, and they have several thousand volunteers.
Will the funds be used only for specific states or locations within India?
Funds will be used equitably across the country through our partner organizations’ network and prioritized based on where supplies are most needed.
Can I request a specific person or hospital that my donations can be used towards?
At this point, we are not accepting targeted donations due to logistical challenges.
Are you looking beyond oxygen concentrators and medicine as well? For instance, is Sewa International exploring working with other organizations to establish makeshift hospitals in hotspot areas?
Makeshift hospitals are extremely important in such crises, and we believe the Government of India may be considering setting up such hospitals. The US Government as well as other countries are working to assist the Government of India in these matters. We are coordinating with the Indian Embassy and Indian Consulates here in the US on exchanging information on these matters. We may explore establishing makeshift hospitals based on the need and partner availability.
At present, we are also readying supplies of emergency equipment such as disposable humidifier bottles and disposable Nasal Cannula.
Can you assure me that every penny spent will be accounted for, and the help should reach the needy without any bias?
This is a very important concern and question, and we are privileged to point out that Sewa International accounts are audited by private auditors each year and submitted to the IRS. More importantly, Sewa International has for the last four years continuously scored the topmost 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the world’s largest and the most utilized non-profit evaluator. In addition, Sewa has earned perfect scores in “Financial Health, Accountability, and Transparency” categories – one of the 11 organizations in the international category of over 23,000 organizations. Sewa International has been recognized by Charity Navigator – the premier nonprofit rating agency – as the number five among the “10 Highly Rated Charities Relying on Private Contributions in the US.”
We at our regional non-profit want to create a fundraiser to support you, need information if you will be supporting our state. Can our organization partner with Sewa to donate in our state?
Sewa will support COVID-19 relief work across India and specifically states that have been reporting a very high number of coronavirus positive cases daily. You can create a Facebook fundraiser page supporting our cause which requires approval from the Sewa marketing team. If you would like to collect funds and mail a check to Sewa, please make your checks payable to “Sewa International, Inc, P.O. Box 820867 Houston TX 77282-0867".
We are medical equipment suppliers or oxygen concentrator vendors. Can we collaborate with Sewa to supply oxygen, medicines and equipment at a cost?
Please send us details of the equipment and other items you can supply and their cost. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Sewa team will contact you if needed.
Does Facebook take any commission on these donations?
No, Facebook does not charge us to run these campaigns and they do not take any commission on our campaign.
I am not very comfortable donating using my credit card online. Can I send a check?
Yes, you can send a check. Please make checks payable to “Sewa International Inc”, and mail to -- Sewa International Inc, PO Box 820867, Houston TX 77282-0867
How can I create my personal fundraiser to help Sewa’s efforts?
Can we donate oxygen we have to Sewa to be shipped to India?
Unless you have a large quantity of oxygen concentrators, it would not be logistically possible for us to collect them and send them to India. Currently we are shipping them from Atlanta.