University of Bristol: Student’s India fundraising drive after losing friend to Covid

University of Bristol student Suchet Chaturvedi was spurred to start BristO2l Campaign after a close friend and her unborn baby died from the virus in April.

Suchet, who grew up in New Delhi and is now studying towards his second postgraduate degree at Bristol, said: “It is a tough time for the people back home. We have been provided unconditional support from the High Commission of India in London and University of Bristol professors and students to send the maximum number of Oxygen concentrators we can to support the people of India.

“It fills me with great hope and gratitude to announce that phase 1 of BristO2l Campaign named ‘Project Prayas’ is underway. It will see us ship our first four concentrators to Mizoram, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand, which should reach their destination from June 19.

“We plan to further diversify our campaign by shipping more essential goods, medical equipment and ration supplies to the most affected states by collaborating with local NGOs.”

Since BristO2l launched a month ago it has received a steady stream of generous donations, taking the total raised to £2,500.

However, Suchet and the BristO2l team want to raise £16,000, enough for at least 20 oxygen concentrators to India.

Since March, India has been in the grips of a devastating second wave of COVID-19. More than 350,000 people have died and around 100,000 new cases are reported each day. Real figures are believed to be much higher due to underreporting.

A lack of oxygen has left doctors struggling to treat patients.

Max Harding, Vice-President of BristO2l and an International Law and International Relations student, said: “Just one concentrator can save many lives and buy precious hours for those who are waiting for hospital beds.

“Oxygen concentrators are cost-effective, reusable and help to ease the pressure felt by medical staff and loved ones as they desperately try to get their patients the care they need.”

Erik Lithander, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement at the University of Bristol, said: “Once again, University of Bristol students have been incredible in mobilising support in the help of others.

“Our Indian staff and students make a huge contribution to our dynamism and energy as an academic and civic community, and I have no doubt that this terrific initiative by our student body will provide our friends from India with some reassurance at this very difficult time.

“I am very proud of our students for doing this.”

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