NOVA for Kerala Flood Relief

Final Update on September 12th, 2018  (PDF Version of this update )

Dear Friends,

Thank you very much for your generous support. I am happy to confirm that the funds collected have been dispersed across two deserving requests directly.

Final accounts and disbursement informationhttps://drive.google.com/open?id=1xJka8wo63_1qaUsvP_Xmpe5b6Faar0iz

Request & approvals - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1WKpRa4_TkDR-D2SxqIsGDuXcRuy1r3Qq

Requestor 1
- Mrs. XXXXXXXXX, Cherukolpuzha, PO, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala, India in Cherukolpuzha, Kerala, India to repair their home and expenses and find a replacement for cattle lost.

Requestor 2 - Rev. Roy GeeVarghese had requested funds to clean 10 contaminated wells of his parishioners that was contaminated during the floods in Kunnam Colony. In addition, two families suffered significant damage to the roof of their houses.

Pictures associated with the requestors are found at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MQu0s08lulluYjxC3diYQ3CIny4-b4-5/view?usp=sharing 

After validation of the requests jointly by me, the US POC, & the Recommender/Validator in Kerala, India the approved amount was disbursed to the bank account provided by the requestors.

Receipt of the funds was confirmed in writing, see below links.

Requestor 1 - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1muMX7ZqylBdYPrihl1B6-Z3WbOjYQgya

Requestor 2 - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1B-WwZW1mwCyH13Iy1Lsg4B2XXEQjzfrK

For privacy reasons, the names of the requestors were redacted. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely

John Cyrus
September 12th, 2018
_________________________________________________________________________

Who am I and where am I from?


My name is John Cyrus. I am a proud US Citizen and my family hails from the state of Kerala in India. I have lived in the US since 1992 and currently work in the public sector as an IT Executive. I live in Northern Virginia with my wife and two sons.

I am a Senior Member of the IEEE and have been a member of the organizations for 29 years. I currently serve as the Vice Chair for Government relations in the 2018 IEEE ENTREPRENEURSHIP STEERING COMMITTEE.  I am also a member of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA). My professional profile can be found on LinkedIn.

Who are we raising funds for?

My father hails from Kottayam District in Kerala, India. I belong to an Indian Christian Church called the Mar Thoma church. The Mar Thoma church was founded in Kerala, India and its members are predominantly Keralites. A brief history of the Mar Thoma church can be found at this link. I am one of the founding members of the Immanuel Mar Thoma Church, Virginia and served as its first secretary. I published a brief history on the founding of the Parish that I published in the inaugural souvenir of the parish. I served in many positions in this parish from its humble beginning. Details of my roles at Immanuel Mar Thoma Church, Virginia can be found at LinkedIn  (Section: Volunteer Experience).

When my home state of Kerala was hit by the most devastating floods in a Century, the affected included members of my wife’s family in Aluva, Kerala. Here is a summary of the extent of the tragedy. (Source: http://www.keralacm.gov.in/ )

Moore than 370 lives lost
More than 1 million people displaced
3000+ relief Camps opened
Crops in 42000 hectares lost and 2.6 lakhs farmers affected
537 incidents of landslides
221 bridges collapsed across the state of Kerala
10000 km of roads damaged
Preliminary estimates count a loss of more than 3 billion USD (20000 plus crores in INR)

Here is what the highest elected official in the state of Kerala had to say about the tragedy.

“Kerala is in the midst of an unprecedented flood havoc. The calamity has caused immeasurable misery and devastation. Many lives were lost. Hundreds of homes were totally destroyed and many more were damaged. For the first time in history, 27 dams in the State had to be opened. Never before had the State witnessed a calamity of this scale. In the fight against the flood, we have braved the odds. Now it is our duty to help the affected rebuild their lives. The path to recovery can be long & arduous, but you can make a difference by joining the rebuilding efforts.” - Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala 

The Kerala Diaspora across the world wanted to help and I felt the urge to help as well. I calmed my conscience by contributing financially to some of the campaigns dedicated to providing relief to those affected by the floods in Kerala.

I was introduced by Mr. Manu Daniel (fellow parish member) to a family in Cherukolpuzha, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala, India. This family earned their livelihood by selling the milk of three cows and five goats they raised. The flood damaged their home and their livelihood and they were forced to flee to a government-run shelter. As people who grew up in Kerala, Manu & I knew that even with the best intentions of the government, families like these will have a very long wait before they get any type of relief from the establishment (if they ever did).

Rev Roy GeeVarghese (former Vicar of our parish Immanuel Mar Thoma Church in Sterling, VA) who now serves as the vicar of Kunnam Immanuel Mar Thoma Church, Kerala, India also made us aware of how well water for about 10 of his Dalit* parish families was contaminated (in some cases contamination from septic tanks nearby). (Dalits * → Dalits were considered untouchables in the past.). Well, water is the only source of drinking water in these communities. Contaminated water has in the past given rise to various ailments after the floods.

Mr. Manu Daniel and I wanted to do a little more than contribute money. We asked ourselves if we could raise about $3000 from our friends and acquaintances to directly help these families through volunteers in Kerala?. Yes, it's just a drop in the bucket (no pun intended), but we thought it was worth trying. Based on our experience with the Indian Buerocracy and governmental setup, we understood that most government functions are time-consuming and it may take months or even a year for the aid to flow through different levels of government and reach the impacted people. In many cases, this will be too little too late as underprivileged sections of Kerala society who are impacted will have very little or nothing to fall back on. This is one of the reasons that speed is of the essence in getting the aid directly to the impacted.

How were the funds be disbursed?

We had a modest goal of raising $ 3000 to help those who need help. The generosity of our fellow citizens led to us raise $3000 in just a day. We decided to stop the campaign at $ 3,386 to work on a small scale. Our primary goal was to be accountable to the many who contributed to this cause. We wanted to ensure that the funds were sent directly to the impacted families. We pledged to provide full transparency and to avoid administrative costs. In order to do this, we needed to keep the amount raised to a manageable level. 

Nova for Kerala flood relief has approved the following two requests.

1) Provide funds to the family of Mrs. xxxxxxxxxxx (Requestor 1), Cherukolpuzha, PO, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala, India in Cherukolpuzha, Kerala, India to repair their home and expenses to find a replacement for cattle lost (Figure 1 & 2 Pictures of dead cattle & home).  
Update (8/25/2018):  ₹ 2,12,987 is to be disbursed.

2) Rev. Roy GeeVarghese (former Vicar of Immanuel Mar Thoma Church, Virginia), who now serves as the vicar of the Kunnam Immanuel Mar Thoma Church, Kerala, India has requested funds to clean 10 contaminated wells and ₹ 40,000 for the repair of his parishioners (Two Individuals who have provided a request) that was contaminated during the floods. Estimates for cleaning the well from a local contractor (Asokan Plavunil Kunnathil, Poovathoor PO)  is ₹3000 per well. The cost requested for Roof Repair is ₹ 40,000 (estimate in Figure 3). The two Mar Thoma churches exist under the worldwide umbrella of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church served by 1037 clergy through thirteen dioceses with approximately  1.6 million members.
Update (8/25/2018):  ₹ 70,000 is to be disbursed.

The following detailed information was collected for the two requests mentioned above.

Request Date:
Name of Requestor:
Kerala District:
Address/Location:
Occupation (Prior to Floods):
Type of Loss (Detailed):
Assistance Requested (Detailed):
US POC:

Recommender/Validator/Witness in Kerala, India:

After validation of the requests jointly by me, the US POC, & the local Recommender/Validator, the approved amount will be dispursed to the requestor directly. Our goal is to provide assistance directly to the affected families using volunteers both in the US and in Kerala, India while avoiding Administrative costs. We rely on members of different church youth groups in Kerala as volunteers in Kerala and members of our parish in Virginia serve as volunteers in the US. Rev. Roy GeeVarghese is a former vicar of the Immanuel Mar Thoma Church, Virginia and provides the role of a validator on specific requests for help.

Withdrawal plan to get the funds from the campaign to the ultimate beneficiaries

1) Check/Fund Transfer to the Bank Account authorized by Mrs. xxxxxxxxxxxx (Requestor 1), Cherukolpuzha, PO, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala, India, Cherukolpuzha, Kerala, India will be provided for home repair expenses and rebuilding of livelihood (Cattle lost).

2) Check/Fund Transfer of ₹ 70,000 to the responsible party in Poovathoor Kunnam near Arattupuzha, Kerala, India. ₹ 30,0000 is to clean ten wells in Poovathur PO, Kunnam, Pathanamthitta district, Kerala, India which is contaminated on account of the floods (in some cases contamination from septic tanks nearby). The wells are the only source of drinking water for these families. An estimate from a local contractor can be found in Figure 3.
₹ 40,000 was requested for roof repairs of two brothers in Poovathoor Kunnam near Arattupuzha, Kerala, India.  Figures 4,5,6,7,8,9 & 10 provide pictures associated with the impact at Poovathoor Kunnam near Arattupuzha, Kerala, India.

I (John Cyrus) will be the responsible person for transferring the funds to the appropriate parties.

Here is the disbursement process that will be followed:

1) Upon validation and approval of the requests (as mentioned above) and determining the corresponding amount to provide. I will request that the approved money be transferred to me (I will provide it to GoFundMe).

2) Once I receive the money in my bank account, I will arrange for the transfer of the money to the accounts approved by the beneficiaries (or mail a check to the provided address).

Disclaimers

1) This effort is in not associated with any Church or religious organization. Many members from Kerala parishes of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, volunteers from the  Immanuel Mar Thoma Church, Virginia and other churches in proximity to the beneficiaries have assisted with logistics and communication in this effort.
2) Names of beneficiaries were hidden from public disclosure for privacy reasons but have been made available to GoFundMe management.

Figures referred above (1 through 10) are found at the below link.

Link to Pictures & Documents

Final Accounts & Disbursements - Final Disbursement & Accounts
  • Tarun Gampa 
    • $51 
    • 37 mos
  • Anamika Sharma 
    • $50 
    • 38 mos
  • Vijay Raol 
    • $100 
    • 38 mos
  • Mary Davis 
    • $200 
    • 38 mos
  • Anish Joy 
    • $100 
    • 38 mos
See all

Organizer

John Cyrus 
Organizer
Oak Hill, VA
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