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Support for day laborers in India: Jacobs University students start fundraising campaign


July 1, 2020

In India, hardly any other population group is as affected by the COVID-19-pandemic as day laborers. Millions of them have lost their jobs in construction, transport or catering and thus their livelihood. A group of students at Jacobs University wants to help these people. Their goal is to provide as many of them as possible with basic meals. Donations from Germany will be doubled by the renowned Indian Akshaya Patra Foundation.

Threatened existences due to the Covid-19-pandemic: Five students from Jacobs University Bremen want to support day laborers in India with donations from Germany. From left to right: Asharan Dinesh, Mohammed Tousif Hyder, Hakshith Gowda Ravikumar, Meher Appigatla and Samarth Sudarshan. (Source: private)

Asharan Dinesh, Hakshith Gowda Ravikumar, Meher Appigatla, Mohammed Tousif Hyder and Samarth Sudarshan are first year students of Supply Chain Management at the English-speaking Jacobs University. Their relief action was initiated in a seminar with Florian Schupp, Professor of Logistics, on the subject of international purchasing. They were asked to choose any item of their interest and then procure it at a lower price than offered.

Taking up on this idea, the quintet engaged in a thought experiment. Donations of their fellow students from Germany should be doubled in India, so that one meal becomes two. With this plan the students approached various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in their home country. Finally, they were able to win the Akshaya Patra Foundation for their project. This non-profit organization was originally established to run school feeding programs throughout India, but now also provides food to people affected by the COVID-19-pandemic.

"Already at our first meeting with the Akshaya Patra Foundation our idea was well received," explains Tousif Hyder, one of student project manager. "For every meal funded by the donations from Germany, the foundation adds its reserved funds." Thusly, one meal turns into two. The heterogeneous cost of living in India also has a positive effect on the project. “The cost of living is very low in particular regions of India. There, the foundation can buy groceries in large quantities pass it on to those in need," Tousif adds.

One of the first donors were Professor Florian Schupp and his wife Alexandra Hebestreit, others followed. Of course, non-students or non-employees of Jacobs University are also invited to donate. Even with relatively little money a lot can be achieved. 1100 rupees are required in order to feed a school child in India for one year according to calculations of the Akshaya Patra Foundation. That corresponds to around 14 euros. A meal is already available for 20 rupees (about 23 cents).

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