Indian Americans help families hit by India travel ban

From buying groceries to checking upon loved ones, hundreds helping families of those stuck in India.

It’s during the most trying times, like the current Covid crisis in India, that one discovers the power of empathy and caring for each other.

Indian Americans and Indian nationals living in the United States on various visas spending restless days worrying about relatives back home now face added anxiety about family members stranded in India due to the US ban on travel from India.

With the situation unlikely to change anytime soon, some Indians in America thought about doing something more than sharing sympathies on social media and doing some actual work on the ground.

READ: Indians on work visas upset about selective Covid travel ban (May 4, 2021)

Tempe, Arizona based Pankaj Chavan and his wife for one have offered to help Indian families in their neighborhood who may have relatives stuck in India due to the travel ban.

Chavan, a relationship coach and reiki healer, talked to the American Bazaar from his Tempe home, saying, “When families get apart due to such bans, we just become helpless. I know the pain of not being able to connect with loved ones during tough times. That’s why I decided to offer my help.”

Chavan posted on a Facebook group SOS Global Indians, that he and his wife will be happy to check upon someone, visit them, supply grocery or medicines from drugstores, in case they need such help, owing to family members being stranded in India.

Texas based Anjilica Dattatreya Payal Asher pitched in to streamline the process and create a spreadsheet with the details of volunteers’ name and city along with their social media profile link so that they could be reached by anyone who may be looking for some help.

READ: US restricts travel from India; H-1B, L1 holders most affected (April 30, 2021)

Chavan says, “Payal and Anjilica took the idea to another level and made it a nationwide effort. I feel they are real genuine and kind people who put heart and soul in this activity.”

Talking to the American Bazaar from Texas, Dattatreya said, “Last year, when the pandemic started, I realized that we cannot control any disasters that happen but we can control how we react to it.

“We can have the best outcome, if we help our community. I have looked for ways to make small differences in any way I can.”

Asher, a volunteer with the community says, “We are curating a database of people who are willing to help.”

READ: Indian Americans concerned about travel to Covid hit India (April 26, 2021)

Inspired by their efforts, more than 400 Indian origin individuals in America, came forward in just a few hours to offer help to anyone who may be experiencing problems owing to the Covid travel ban from India.

On what she thinks about people coming forward to help each other, she said, “We see that people need help at many levels. This pandemic needs us to be aware of the needs of people around us and globally not just our families.”

On how they expect the individuals to help others, she said, “We plan to provide help in our local communities. Many Indian families who are expecting a child or need help at home for medical reasons had planned for visits from family members in India.”

“Now since their families cannot come, we are trying that they do not feel alone or unable to cope with the situation,” Asher added.

READ: US asks Americans to leave India amid Covid surge (April 29, 2021)

“More than 400 people from across the US have already responded with their willingness to help. We can help with meals, doing grocery or running any other errands.”

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