Fund For Tamil Nadu Flood Victims
$162,971 of $150,000 goal
According to the most recent report, the deathtoll has touched 280 and it will only keep rising. Houses have been submerged under water, Roads have disappeared, people are stranded with no food or water without any access to power or public transport. To put it straight, they are going through something that we cannot even imagine sitting in our comfortable homes.
The stories that we come across are heartbreaking and will make us want to do something, while we can't do anything to stop Mother Nature from taking her course, or figure out the core reason for the historical flooding in these cities. What we can do is contribute to the relief measures.
Why another fundraiser you might ask? While I love my hometown, Chennai. I've seen fellow chennaites rise up to the occassion and do their part to help out in the city. This fundraiser is for cities and towns beyond Chennai.
The people who aren't tech savy to get to Twitter or Facebook to let us know their dire needs, the cities that are completely cut down without the bare essentials to survive.
Please donate what you can, and may be a little more. I am still in the process of getting in touch with NGOs, and grass roots activists to get to know how best the money can be utilised and constantly update you on how things are.
Lastly, I am an insignificant person, a drop in the ocean trying to gather both friends and strangers to support this cause. So our contribution together can gather momentum and go towards helping someone get back to their new normal. I will be personally sharing to each of the donors, how the money was spent. Please feel free to reach out to me on twitter @vaishrathi if you have any questions or concerns.
I know there has been a gap in me posting updates. Thanks for being so very patient. I had been traveling and I had extremely limited access to Internet during the past month and a half.
To organize the fund transfer to the new beneficiary through Gofundme during that period proved to be a humungous task in itself. And I'd like to thank the gofundme support team, who helped me constantly with the innumerable questions that I had for them and follow up with the process. So, the money got transferred to Chennai Flood Relief organization here in Bay Area, late December. I am attaching a screenshot of their acknowledgement.
Chennai Flood Relief has been actively working with the NGOs and decided to mainly go with two organizations and the money will reach them to help with mainly the long term projects these NGOs are planning to do for rehabilitation.
To summarize what they've put up on their site http://iamchennai.org/. The two NGOs are:
1. Bhoomika Trust
2. AID India
I met with Mr.Jayendra from Bhoomika Trust, who heads the relief/rehabilitation coordination there. And I'd like to say that they maintain records of all that they do. Which villages are being served, which villages are not and the rationale behind it etc. Within the areas that they serve, they are detailed enough to note down the house numbers, names etc. They are also using local NGOs to get better outreach.
I've also attended the ChennaiMicro meeting held on December 26th 2015 in Chinmaya Auditorium. Where I met with Ms. Chinmayi and Mr.RJ Balaji. Ms.Chinmayi explained to me that, they had their foreign funds routed through Bhoomika and AID India too and are working with them.
So please be rest assured that both these organizations are doing an amazing job at what they do. Since the immediate relief efforts were wrapped up. These orgs were in the planning phase of what should happen next and to come up with specific projects. And Chennai Flood Relief was waiting to receive a concrete update on what rehabilitation projects these orgs are going to work on.
The fund transfer to Bhoomika have been initiated, and they should receive it in few days. Now that I am back in the US, I will be resuming my work from here and volunteer with Chennai Flood Relief and try to work with their content updates on their site.
I will also post an update once Bhoomika sends out an acknowledgement out to Chennai Flood Relief.
Thanks once again for being so patient, while not just me but every organization that's working on this were trying to figure out the best way to move this forward.
P.S I am yet to go through my email, so please give me couple of days to respond to your questions.
Thanks to all your generosity we have over reached a huge milestone of $150K. Apologies for the late post, I've been traveling and had minimal access to internet.
Together we raised an amount of $162,961.00 and I have added Chennai Flood Relief as the beneficiary for this campaign. The amount post service charges from wepay and gofundme is $149,429.20. This amount will be further chanelized to NGOs like Aid for specific projects. I will post further updates on this.
I've now decided to stop the campaign for multiple reasons.
1. Concentrating on long term rehabilitation needs for people who've lost livelihoods, would need more planning and choosing the right projects with the right NGOs.
2. To do this we need to concentrate on the utilisation of these funds.
3. The Chennai flood relief NPO is more of a volunteer mobilization platform and since volunteering with them I've learned that there are multiple NGOs doing ongoing fundraisers which I will be posting information about.
4. Streamlining funds and working with NGOs rather than individual fundraiser.
5. Due to service and other charges. charges
Chennai flood relief org has a live website iamchennai.org and I'd urge you all to volunteer with us by signing up on the form.
Thanks for being so patient, while the legal process takes its time. But I'd like to let you all know that we are almost there.
1. Most of the processes from my side for the legal transfer is done. Gofundme now has to help with getting the beneficiary added and initiate the transfer. I am working with them to expedite the process.
2. The beneficiary being Chennai Flood Relief, like I mentioned in my earlier update is legit and is looking into being an aggregator in getting all the funds from individual donors (to begin with) to the flood relief routed through them. I am now an active volunteer with them, helping with content, strategy etc.
3. Chennai Flood Relief is in touch with Bhoomika and Chennai Micro and we are in talks of how best we can utilize not just the funds coming through but also volunteer resources.
4. RJ Balaji had tweeted the below message mentioning that Chennai Micro will be working through Bhoomika for foreign funds and also AID for volunteer mobilization. So further validation there that these two NGOs back in India are already doing an excellent job.
5. All these groups are still defining their process to work most efficiently and will be updating us once they find the best way to get grassroots initiatives work through them, since this is our ultimate goal.
6. We already have a bunch of volunteers defining process around vetting these initiatives and a way to get validation on their work.
These are the updates from the past couple of days and more to come. Please sit tight while we get these funds transferred to the right people back home.
Thanks once again,
Thanks to all for your overwhelming response to this fundraiser which just started small by an individual, there are no words that I could use to express the feeling thats stirring within me for what has happened in the past couple of days.
Many of you have been trying to contact me on asking about the details of these funds will be transferred, and this post will be an answer to that. Sorry I haven't been able to reach out to you individually as I've been trying to nail down the NGO that I will be routing the funds collected.
First off, please check this video of RJ Balaji's:
What's more important now is the rehabilitation of people who have lost their livelihoods, I've been receiving a lot messages mentioning the necessities from the ground, and which NGOs back there are working towards it.
And the need of the hour and for future will be medical help, and long term rehabilitation. The aftermath of the floods will be spreading of contagious diseases, people who can't go back to their destroyed homes and orphanages and old age homes.
Here's my update on how the funds will be transferred and how they will be used.
I will be using Chennai Flood Relief a 501(c)(3) Non-profit Corporation started by grassroots volunteers in Bay Area just for the flood relief. Please note that even though the name mentioned Chennai Flood Relief, they ARE working for other affected areas like Cuddalore, Kanchi and Pondy.
1. Gofundme is working on adding them as the beneficiary for this fundraiser, by tying it to their EIN.
2. This will happen once they recover my initial account information that's tied to my SSN.
3. I will be talking to my bank regarding this first thing Monday morning, and expedite this process.
4. Once the above steps are done, the funds raised by me will be routed to Chennai Flood Relief directly.
5. I will be getting an acknowledgement of them receiving the fund post service deductions that gofundme and wepay (payment gateway) charge.
6. Since, this is a grassroots organization here in the US, I will be volunteering with them to get these funds transferred to the right NGOs back in India, which definitely includes #ChennaiMicro.
7. There will be constant updates from the ground that we will be continually posting .
Like, I had mentioned in my previous updates, I am trying to get the funds transferred as soon as possible within my personal capacity. There are legalities that need to be taken care of, so that the NGOs can do what they do best which is to get the help to the right people at the right time.
Please understand that this is not an effort, that will be done in a week, because providing relief materials will just be the first step in what is a long process of helping the victims get back to their new normal.
And once again, I thank you all for your care, patience and your generosity. Lets make this reach the right people at the right time, through the right means.
P.S I will be posting another update about how to volunteer with Chennai Flood Relief, please become an active part of this campaign by volunteering with us and helping us route these funds.
Hello This is a response to all the folks who are asking/wondering why the money isn't being transferred NOW/ASAP. When this campaign was started by Vaishnavi, the goal was to collect about $5000 from her family and friends to help the victims. This campaign exploded beyond expectations, thanks to the amazing donors such as yourself. With a such a huge amount, comes a huge responsibility. I am sure Vaishnavi's goal is to ensure (my words, not hers): 1. That 100% (-minus service fees) of your contribution goes to helping those affected. 2. That 100% (-minus service fees) of your contribution goes to the right (verified) NGOs. 3. That there are no tax implications for anyone with the US (or any other) government. 4. That there are no legal implications on the money transfer between a US entity to non-US (Indian) entity. 5. Pay as minimal as needed for service fees, tax etc. How can you help? 1. Read the updates from beginning to understand how this campaign went from $5000 to $150,000 2. Ask if she needs help with anything specific - for e.g. - identifying and verifying NGOs, getting their contact information, website, etc 2. Volunteer with Chennai Relief Fund, an org set up in Bay Area just for this purpose 3. Read the FAQs on GoFundMe page. 4. Learn more about what a 501(c)(3) nonprofit means and why it is beneficial to partner with one. Overall, be thoughtful before you post a comment here. Thanks for reading.
I totally agree with Sharanya Srinivasan. There are so much legalities that needs to be completed before trying to transfer this much amount of money. And even Vaishnavi wouldnt have expected this kinda response. I am sure she is working on all means to identify the right ways to transfer max amount of the money collected. And those who all are curious, please you can also work and try to find out the ways to identify genuine NGOs or other means such that funds can be transferred with minimum fees as possible. Appreciate if more people chip in with ideas and means, rather than asking the same question.
I should automatically covert Euro to Dollars
I agree with Nat Sriram. Please share and provide regular updates about the money donated so far. Thanks.
Hi, While am cognizant about the fact in Sharanya's comment below (that the fund exploded beyond expectations & it has to be channelized effectively etc), I so far do not see a concrete plan nor execution of moving the funds towards the ones affected in floods. This must have been one of the biggest flood collection campaigns. $150K is no joke. But till date I haven't seen even 1000$ donated to someone in need. Also, I don't see anything done at the need of the hour. It's slowly getting to a point that people may forget about this and personally it hurts that whatever little contribution each one of us have done, it hasn't been put into real use in a timely fashion.
Hello Vaishnavi, Can you please let us know the status of the money?
Hi Vaishnavi, Curious to know the updates for this week. It would be of great help if you could post one. Thanks!
We are getting some negative feedback on Bhoomika Trust ...Please double check the reality and proceed before transferring the money... pls refer the pictures and post in this page... https://www.facebook.com/hemavathy.hems?fref=photo Hemavathy Hems Hemavathy Hems
i would appreciate if the fund raisers and the donators to force Bhoomika trust to clarify that there is NO SORT of discrimination is done while spending the relief materials. the allegations raised are in these fb posts Refer: https://t.co/nam73uEU0Q and https://t.co/snmccfIEzQ . I wish all the past & future donors push the fund raisers and Bhoomika trust to clarify this ASAP.
Thanks for the update
Thanks for giving regular updates!
Vaishnavi great job da , I live in coimbatore ,sister of thagavelu , plz do contact me 9884222361 , for in ten floods I'm doing a ground work from 2 Dec in chennai and kadalur , need to share few important things