Fremont teen raises thousands in COVID-19 relief to support family, community in India

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- Devastating numbers continue to come out of India in the wake of their latest COVID-19 surge: more than 130,000 new COVID-19 cases, nearly three thousand deaths yesterday alone.

A Bay Area teen saw the stats and wanted to help.

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"It's so scary looking at the news and seeing how many people were being impacted," Fremont teen Aishwarya Manga said. "Also because my family and my friend's family has been impacted. They had COVID and when I got the news, it's really scary, especially since COVID is spreading so rapidly. I was honestly so scared and I wanted to help in any way that I could."

Helping is nothing new for the teen, she has been raising money for other causes for years.

So, like she has done with her other fundraising efforts in the past, Manga got to work.

In just three weeks, she raised more than $17,000 in life-saving funds.

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"With these funds, I was able to build three triage centers with the help of Empower & Excel," Manga said. "These funds were going towards beds in the triage centers, air purifiers, oxygen cylinders and medical assistance."

Manga raised some money through GoFundMe and also got fundraising help from local non-profit, Empower & Excel.

The group raised $55,000 in total funds to support fifteen Indian villages.

For CEO Ayesha Charagulla, it's a proud moment to see the mission of the organization played out on such a scale.

"We involve the kids in the community," Chargulla said. "They observe and understand that, 'there's a lot of need and there's something I can do and I can be part of it and bring some smiles on other people's faces'."

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"I feel like it's a responsibility to help, especially since my family is there, but there's a long way to go," Manga said. "It has to come within. You need to feel empathy within to want to give back to the community and take time to yourself to hold these workshops and spread the word to many people."

To donate to the cause, visit Aishwarya Manga's GoFundMe page here.

For more information on Empower & Excel, visit their website here.



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