Published: 12:47, 17 May 2021
| Updated: 15:31, 17 May 2021
Life-saving equipment will be flown to Covid-ravaged India this week after an appeal target was smashed following a huge response.
With the pandemic raging through India at a catastrophic rate, and the death toll reaching record-breaking numbers, Kent Equality Cohesion Council (KECC) and Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara working with local faith groups, sports organisations and local businesses from across Gravesham and Dartford raised £34,000 through an appeal.
The initial plan was to buy 100 machines, but enough was raised to purchase 150 oxygen concentrators and oxy-meters which will be sent to India through humanitarian charity Khalsa Aid, based in Slough, which works in disaster zones around the world.
The charity has a plane charted to ship the equipment out to India this Wednesday.
KECC chief executive Gurvinder Sandher said: “I cannot be more proud of the communities of North Kent who all came together regardless of ethnicity and faith to fundraise in order to help another country in its time of need.
"When we initially made the invite calls to the various groups to donate, we were unsure of the kind of response we would receive.
"However, we were met with nothing but enthusiasm and a genuine need to help. The fact that the local churches, mosques, gurdwaras, sports teams and small businesses came together in solidarity has only reinforced my faith in the communities of North Kent and truly add credence to our motto that we are always stronger together.”
Manpreet Dhaliwal, president of Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara, said: “During the pandemic, the Sikh community has worked hard to support those in need arranging meals for thousands in the local community. I was therefore humbled by the response we had to this appeal at a time when oxygen concentrator numbers are fast dwindling from the markets.
"This initiative was all-out effort to procure enough supplies which we eventually secured from a factory in Poland.
"The scenes in India have touched us all, and I hope in this small way we are able to support those in need at this most challenging of times.”