Thank you to all of you who contributed to this fundraiser. Donations have far exceeded our target of £15 000, so we have ended the campaign.
We would like to express our gratitude for the support and love you have all shown for Kashmir. We will now begin transferring the donations to ensure that these funds reach people on the frontline.
We will also communicate with you details about future opportunities and needs on the ground - so stay tuned.
As the world struggles with Covid-19, Kashmir is ill-equipped to deal with the spread of the virus. For most people, lockdowns are a new phenomenon. But Kashmir has been under almost continual lockdown since August 5, leaving the economy in tatters and much of the population in dire poverty. Now Kashmiris face a deadly pandemic with an underfunded and underdeveloped healthcare system.
For 7 million people Kashmir has only 85 intensive care beds and 97 ventilators - a ratio even lower than Gaza (to put this in perspective, the UK has more than 10,000 ventilators). There are severe shortages of medical staff, with a doctor-patient ratio of 1:3,866, far lower than the World Health Organization’s norm of 1:1,000 and India’s average of 1:2,000. Staff lack personal protective equipment (PPE), leading to some being infected. The situation is worsened by mobile internet restrictions that hamper the efforts of medics and NGOs, and delay the dissemination of medical advice.
As of Sunday 17 May there are 1121 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the valley.
There is a real risk that if Covid-19 spreads rapidly in Kashmir, clinics and hospitals will be overwhelmed. If this happens the consequences will be devastating. Reports have already shown the heartbreaking, unnecessary suffering of families due to lack of resources. Kashmiri doctors in the UK know of people quarantined without proper food, water or medicine.
Kashmir needs your help.
We are Athwas, a group of British Kashmiris working for the cause of Kashmir in our spare time. We have set up this fundraiser to coordinate and direct donations to trustworthy charities on the ground in Kashmir. We are not affiliated with any political party nor funded by any external organisation.
Donations will go through the bank account of Dr. Shaheen Shora, a UK NHS doctor, member of Athwas and the British Kashmiri Medical Association. Funds will be distributed among the NGOs listed below, in a process overseen by five people from the British Kashmiri community who will act as trustees*: Zeinab Drabu, Andleeb Gul, Khurshid Nahami, Shaheen Shora and Waseem Yaqoob. Their details are at the bottom of this page.
Our initial fundraising target is £15 000. Once that is met the group will decide on whether to select new charities for subsequent donations.
*not in the legal sense of the term.
Set up in memory of a late Dean of Law at Kashmir University to fund chemotherapy for the poor. HCCF is providing monthly packs of food supplies to families in need, distributing PPE to hospitals and clinics and setting up an oxygen concentrator bank. They also donated a ventilator to Srinagar's Chest Disease hospital. For updates see their Facebook page here.
A charitable trust founded in Batamaloo in 2002, SRO is one of the oldest humanitarian organisations in Kashmir, having provided relief during the 2005 earthquake and 2014 floods, and many other crises over the years. SRO provides 24/7 free ambulance services, free medication for the poor, medical equipment for the needy and much more. During the Covid-19 pandemic they are distributing monthly food packs (more than 1000 families supported already) and are providing PPE for healthcare workers in the region.
Shaheen Shora is a Consultant Psychiatrist in the NHS and the Medical Lead for mental health services in Hertfordshire. She is an alumnus of UCL with a Masters in Culture and Health, and a Regional Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. She is a passionate Kashmiri and an Athwas member.
Waseem Yaqoob is a lecturer in History at Queen Mary University of London, based in Hackney, London. He is an alumnus of Cambridge University, where he received his PhD in 2015. He is a member of Athwas and Kashmir Solidarity Movement.
Khurshid Nahami is an IT Business Analyst. He is a passionate Kashmiri interested in all things Kashmir, including its world-famous culinary offerings.
Zeinab Drabu is a UK Affairs Assistant at the Government of Jersey London Office. She is based between Manchester and London. She is an alumnus of the LSE and the University of Leeds, where she studied politics and international relations. She is a member of Athwas.
Andleeb Gul is an undergraduate Engineering student at the University of Huddersfield. She is a very enthusiastic Kashmiri, and a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) UK and President of the Huddersfield Equestrian Club.