Amazon employee Prahaladhan lives in COVID-ravaged Bangalore, one of India’s hardest-hit cities of the pandemic. But he considers himself fortunate – so far, his family has managed to stay safe. Still, with friends falling seriously ill, the crisis has impacted the senior manager deeply. He recently spent hours on the phone trying to find a hospital bed for a friend suffering from COVID-19, whose oxygen levels had plunged dangerously low. “We started calling everywhere around the city. Only after 7 to 8 hours of non-stop calls did we manage to get him a hospital bed with oxygen.”

That experience made him think about where else he could contribute to improve the situation for the thousands of others in a similar bind, and he set about asking colleagues how he could help. He’s not alone – Prahaladhan’s request is just one of the numerous heartfelt offers of aid echoing throughout Amazon, both locally and globally, as employees seek ways to contribute and join the fight.

An Amazonian team effort

To channel these requests efficiently and impactfully to urgent, relevant causes, teams have worked together to set up donations initiatives for employees. For Prahaladhan, who donated through a key initiative, an internal GIVEHub drive to collect funds for vetted and approved organizations in India that are supporting community needs related to the pandemic, this was invaluable. “I didn’t have to search for options because I knew due diligence had been done, so I had no second thoughts about it. It was so simple to contribute. Plus one of the organizations listed was the Give Foundation, which is helping to distribute oxygen concentrators across India, so I really connected with that.”

In just over a week, that initiative, which supports seven organizations, has raised over USD$160,000, and donations are gathering speed. Meanwhile, another key Amazon India project – a partnership with Milaap, South Asia’s largest fundraising platform – has so far collected nearly USD$280,000 for oxygen concentrators in support of Swasth Digital Health Foundation and ACT Grants.

'Something that makes me feel proud'

Figures aside, these initiatives are also generating pride amongst employees. Says Prahaladhan: “The fact that we are all coming together and my company is creating ways to help me donate to critical causes like this, which are the need of the hour, is something that makes me feel proud.”

If you’re an Amazon employee and would like to donate through the GIVEHub drive, head here. To donate through Milaap (open to non-employees as well), go here. Or learn what else Amazon is doing to support India during the pandemic here.