The Pulse

How Can Foreigners Help India Breathe?

Recent Features

The Pulse | Society | South Asia

How Can Foreigners Help India Breathe?

A massive wave of COVID-19 cases in India caused a dire need for medical oxygen equipment. Here are some ways you can help.

How Can Foreigners Help India Breathe?

Attendants of a patient carry an oxygen cylinder for the patient inside a hospital in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Sunday, April 25, 2021.

Credit: AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan

While India managed the first wave of COVID-19 comparatively well, the second wave has turned into an unmitigated disaster. The number of new daily cases has hit another record high, 386,000, and the official number of reported deaths has crossed 200,000 this week. Many believe those figures to be undercounts. 

While some could argue these data are not of a large scale when compared to the country’s total population (which is estimated to be above 1.3 billion), referring to such proportions clouds the reality of the tragedy. What matters is to what degree the health system is capable of dealing with a large number of severe cases at the same time and this is where India has faced its biggest problem, with reports of insufficient beds, low supplies of medical oxygen, and low stocks of medicine coming from various hospitals and cities.

Some countries and entities, such as the European Union, France, Germany, New Zealand, Russia, the United States, and even Bhutan, have pledged assistance but the shortages in India are still overwhelming. There is a need for various types of assistance, too, from supplies arranged by governments to help provided by individuals. Here, I will focus on one particular category – respiratory problems that often accompany COVID-19 – and one subject: What are some of the institutions to which one can donate from outside of India?

In compiling the following, I’ve chosen to focus on entities that promise to provide medical oxygen concentrators or cylinders, as well as ventilators and BiPAP machines, and the like. Helping thousands of Indians breathe is undoubtedly one of the most dire needs of the present.

You can find many concrete initiatives – ones established in India and often focused on helping specific cities, hospitals, and individuals – on Indian fundraising websites, such as Ketto and Milaap (these sites allow overseas donations). Click here to open the list of COVID-19-related fundraising initiatives on Ketto. As for Milaap, go its main website and scroll down to click “see more fundraisers.” You can also use international fundraising websites such as GoFundMe, searching for fundraisers for India.

There are also well-known all-India initiatives and organizations, which you can support through the portals mentioned above, such as:

As for donating in one’s own country, to make the search easier, I have divided some of the other organizations by the country in which they are located (or partially located), and hence from which it is easiest to transfer funds to. This, of course, does not have to mean that payments from other countries are not possible in a given case (Direct Relief, for instance, accepts donations also through PayPal).

Editor’s note: The Diplomat is not affiliated with any of the organizations named in this article. This is surely an incomplete list and we encourage you to research any organization before making a donation.



  • The Canadian Red Cross, which has already pledged assistance to the Indian Red Cross and to which you can donate here.



  • The Singapore Red Cross, which has also promised to help in this regard and to which you can donate here.

United Kingdom

  • BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha UK, the British chapter of a Hindu religious institution, to which you can donate here.
  • The British Asian Trust’s initiative called Oxygen for India to which you can donate here.
  • Go Dharmic, an organization inspired by Indian spirituality which has started its initiative of medical support to India. You can donate to it here.
  • Pratham UK, an organization which normally focuses on education in India but which has now set up a COVID-19 relief fund for India as well, to which you can donate here.
  • Moreover, if you are based in the U.K. and are able to donate an oxygen concentrator, you can contact Khalsa Aid, an international Sikh charity: Click this link to read what kind of equipment is needed and to get in touch with the organization.

United States

  • The American India Foundation, to which you can donate here.
  • AID: Association for India’s Development; which collaborates with ACT Grants, and to which you can donate here. You can also read more about the ACT Grants, the Indian initiative established to combat COVID-19, here, and check if you are able to offer them funds here.
  • International Association for Human Values to which you can donate here.
  • Care United States, to which you can donate here.
  • Direct Relief to which you can donate here.
  • Another initiative bearing the name Oxygen for India, different from the British initiative and supported, among others, by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, to which you can donate here.
  • PATH, an international health organization based in the U.S.; you can donate to their initiative to supply medical oxygen to India here.
  • Vibha, an NGO active in the U.S. and India.

Last but not least, UNICEF has pledged its assistance to India, too.