Germantown high school student working to help COVID-19 crisis in India

Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 9:37 PM CDT
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GERMANTOWN, Tenn. (WMC) - The COVID-19 crisis in India is escalating with cases growing exponentially and thousands of deaths each day.

Now, a Germantown student with family ties to India is doing his part to help address the crisis.

“There’s so many deaths that there’s bodies in the streets, and they’re burning them in mass cremations,” said Smayan Sompalli, a 15-year-old sophomore at Houston High School in Germantown.

In between studying for his AP exams, Smayan is pitching in to help the COVID-19 crisis in India.

“I just decided to make a fundraiser because I realized $5 could make a difference. $5 dollars could save someone’s life,” said Smayan.

Hospitals are overflowing and a new COVID-19 variant has emerged in India. The country is projected to see 50 million cases by mid-summer. All proceeds raised on Smayan’s GoFundMe page will go to Oxfam India to provide medical equipment, like oxygen as well as food and supplies to low-income populations.

Smayan is not alone in his efforts. According to NBC News, many who are a part of the Indian diaspora are raising funds to help the crisis. A spokesperson for GoFundMe reports that 6.8 million in funds have been raised since April 17.

Smayan also has a personal connection to the crisis. Days after receiving her second vaccine dose, his grandmother tested positive for the virus.

“She never stepped out the house. She only ever got out to get her vaccine,” he said.

Smayan said his grandmother is doing fine, but they are unable to visit right now due to current travel restrictions. Raising funds for supplies is his way of helping from afar.

“If we all play our part, we can get out of this a lot quicker and with a lot less deaths,” he said.

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