India Recovery Fund

India Recovery Fund helps over 2.3 million people to recover and rebuild

In May 2021, India was at the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for 46% of the world’s cases. The country’s under-resourced health services were quickly overwhelmed and India became one of only three countries recording more than 400,000 deaths due to COVID-19.  

Even before COVID-19, India disproportionately faced key challenges making a large proportion of the population extremely vulnerable to the direct and indirect economic, social and health impacts of the pandemic. Analysis by Pew Research Center estimated around 75 million people in India fell into poverty in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, accounting for nearly 60% of the global increase in poverty.

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The British Asian Trust, with wide support from the British public and several Trusts, Foundations, and corporates, quickly galvanised support and raised £9.3 million to help those most affected by the pandemic with a three-pronged strategy ‘response, recovery, rebuild’.  To date, our work has supported over 2.3 million people. 


Response phase 

Our Oxygen Appeal was launched to address the immediate health crisis affecting India. Alongside a shortage of hospital beds and medical supplies, many deaths were due to the lack of hospital-grade oxygen. Using our networks, we mobilized support to raise funds and then rapidly worked with 14 partners across India to provide essential medical, food, financial and educational resources to the most vulnerable communities in the country.  

We distributed 6,302 oxygen concentrators in areas most acutely impacted by the oxygen shortage with help from partners Swasth and United Way Bengaluru. 

We also provided: 

  • PSA oxygen plants (generators) to three hospitals in Bengaluru and Rajasthan with partners ACT Grants and United Way Bangalore  
  • Two 100 patient bed centres in these two locations, along with an additional 30 bed ICU in Ambikarpur with partner Doctors for You  
  • 62,000 children provided with learning resources and hygiene products in Gujarat and New Delhi with partners Gyanshala and SARD 
  • Over 1,600 female artisans and their families – total 8,265 people –  across seven states were provided with COVID-19 care kits including emergency food rations, and basic medical and hygiene supplies by our partner Swasti  
  • 600 tribal villages in Andhra Pradesh with awareness raising and COVID-19 testing and treatment kits with partner Naandi Foundation.


Recovery phase 

In June 2021, we launched the India Recovery Fund at the India Global Forum with the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, HE Gaitri Kumar, Lord Karan Bilimoria, President of the CBI and senior representatives from leading businesses from the UK and India, including BT, Accenture, HSBC, Diageo, Reliance, and JSW Group. 

Additional support was also provided by Croda Foundation, Finolex and UBS Optimus Foundation.

The Fund focused on addressing three critical challenges faced by communities in India, while remaining responsive to the changing needs on the ground: 

  • increasing access to vaccinations and medical care for those in rural and hard to reach communities who have little or no access to medical facilities 
  • supporting the wellbeing and safety of children faced with unprecedented levels of grief and anxiety, risk of exploitation and disrupted education   
  • rebuilding livelihoods for ‘last mile’ communities to address rapidly increasing poverty, particularly amongst young people and women. 

We set ourselves the following initial targets for the Fund: 

  • 3 million people are vaccinated in hard-to-reach communities, training a large vaccination work force and strengthening access to basic medical support  
  • 300,000 children have the skills, emotional resilience and support to return to school and continue to grow and thrive  
  • 22,000 people in ‘last mile’ communities benefit from improved livelihoods and food security   

As at June 2022, we have achieved the following impact: 

  • 899,424 people vaccinated in hard-to-reach communities (we are projecting to reach over 2.9m people by December 2022) 
  • 301,046 children reached with targeted interventions to meet their socio-emotional and educational needs 
  • 49,358 people in last mile communities have benefited from improved livelihoods and food security. 

We are working with 42 partners directly and providing support through our 7 BT programme partners. Another 40 organisations are working on the Bharat EdTech Fund improving digital access and learning.  

Rebuild phase  

Our rebuild phase is focussed on supporting families and communities in India to rebuild strong foundations for the future.  In particular, we are working to decrease the vulnerabilities of children who may be susceptible to harm due to their circumstances and looking at ways to integrate approaches of education, social protection, and strengthening governance.  

“…We saw many deaths in Melghat (difficult to access, hilly, forest, very impoverished tribal area) due to lack of timely oxygen supply to many poor patients…We received 4 oxygen concentrators which we immediately installed to help my patients breathe. We could save many patients.” - Dr. Ashish Satav, MAHAN Trust 

“Yesterday we gave oxygen concentrators to patients at Amherst Street and when we gave it to them there were tears in the eyes of their families. They said they has been looking for it desperately… Thank you.” - Dr Samshudin Kazi  

"A few weeks ago, my grandmother was battling COVID in a rural hospital in Maharashtra. We didn't know if the oxygen supply would last overnight and when and if more would come. There was constant worry of shifting her to another hospital with oxygen plant if cylinders wouldn't arrive on time. (Now there is) a ward fully equipped with oxygen concentrators...Our patients will not have to face the same worry that we faced with my grandmother and several others." - Dr. Gajanan Phutke