Disaster Response Grants – a ­lifeline to overcome the ­pandemic challenge

Gulam Vahanvaty


As nations worldwide come to grips with having to confront and contain the spread of the coronavirus, the pandemic has thrown life completely out of gear, especially for frontline medical personnel, daily wage earners and migrant labourers. The heart rending sight of families undertaking  padaytra of hundreds and even a couple of thousand km with their worldly possessions strung across their backs, little children in tow, reminds me of the importance of the words of Albert Schweitzer: “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”

It is in these agonising times that TRF decided to pull out all the stops. No sooner was the pandemic declared, than the Trustees acted: For COVID-related global grants they decided to waive the requirement that 30 per cent of the financing in global grants must come from outside of the country where the project takes place. Further, Rotary’s Disaster Response Grants (DRG) provide a fast and effective way to respond to local disasters. The Trustees decided that for COVID work, districts can apply for a DRG for up to $25,000 (only 1 per district) and transferred a total of $3 million from the World Fund to DRG. These DRGs and GGs have been used to supply rations, ready meals, PPEs, face masks, sanitisers, ventilators, hospital beds, bronchoscopes, testing kits, etc. As on May 19, for both GGs and DRGs worldwide, TRF had sanctioned $19.1 million (about ₹143 crore). For India, specifically, the total is $5.36 million (nearly ₹40 crore).  All this, in the space of eight weeks. Truly, Rotary connects the world.

It has been through the generous contributions of Rotarians across the globe that our Foundation has been able to live up to its raison d’etre – Doing Good in the World. Your continued support will help the Foundation to carry on helping those in need. As writer Chip Ingram said, ‘Generosity is not an act, it is a way of life’; and as an anonymous sage famously said, ‘Your greatness is not in what you have, it is in what you give’.

Thank you. Stay well. Stay safe!


Gulam A Vahanvaty
Trustee, The Rotary Foundation

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