Special to Niagara Now/The Lake Report
The Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Club is working with Rotary International to raise money to donate an oxygen concentrator to India.
Many people in India have been hit hard during the pandemic and there is a serious shortage of oxygen, ventilators and hospital beds. As of May 19, the country had 3,226,719 active cases and 283,248 COVID deaths, according to India's health ministry.
The India Rotary COVID response team reached out to Canada, the U.S and around the world asking for assistance, says Valarie Wafer, a Rotary International director.
Rotary International is partnering with Sewa International Events, a humanitarian non-profit organization that specializes in disaster relief, to donate oxygen concentrators which is a non-profit humanitarian organization.
Locally, the NOTL Rotary Club is raising enough money for one oxygen concentrator.
“Our plan locally is to raise enough money to purchase one of the oxygen concentrators, and the estimated price is $1,000 U.S. dollars. We have been asking our club members for personal donations to do that,” said NOTL Rotary president Ken Schander.
The donations started after the district governor Frank Adamson visited the club and issued a challenge for all local Rotary Clubs to do their part and donate to India.
“He was encouraging local clubs like our own to do what they could to donate $500 to $1,000, and we set $1,000 for our goal,” said Schander.
This cause personally touched Schander because he has many friends from India.
“I read and listen to the news and know the situation in India is really critical. I have visited India personally. I have many, many friends who call that home,” he said.
“Some people have been hurt significantly by this pandemic. There are others of us who have escaped the worst of it. In fact, we may be considered better off because we have more money than we normally do because we aren't travelling or eating out and some of us just feel like we have blessings and should share them,” he said.
Rotarians in India are also working to create an oxygen concentrator bank where oxygen concentrators will be lent out to patients, “assisting economically marginalized communities who wouldn't be able to get oxygen,” said Wafer.