The Andhra Pradesh government, through its special representative in the US, is facilitating Telugu students with groceries and financial aid. There are scores of students stranded in Canada and USA in more than 25 states and 45 cities due to the lockdown.
Talking to The Lede, Rathnakar R Pandugayala, Special Representative for North America of the Andhra Pradesh government, said that Telugu students who are doing their masters or under-graduation lost their part-time jobs due to lockdown.
“So we thought we should support them with the help of groceries and help them to concentrate on their studies. I, with the help of 100 volunteers from the YSR Congress party from 45 cities, called students in Telugu dominated universities and enquired about their status. If they said they don’t have car facilities we delivered groceries to them. For those who have transport facilities, we transferred $100 into their account. I don’t say all of them are in need of help. Many of them are self-sufficient.
Few students who don’t have a travel facility and stay far away from the city, we provided groceries for them. For many others, due to lockdown there is a problem of transferring money from India, so for them, we have given financial aid of $100. They have utilised this to pay rent and for other requirements. We have assured them of every possible help and asked them not to get anxious but stay at home and stay safe,” said Ratnakar.
E Vamsi Krishna, Arizona vice president of the North American Telugu Association, working as a volunteer says Ratnakar Anna asked him to enquire about the students’ present situation.
“We have called students personally and got to know that 30-40% of students are facing problems in getting groceries. Though they have money they were not able to get the groceries like rice due to lack of transport. Because students here stay near the universities which are 50-60 miles away from the city. We don’t have any restrictions here but people themselves are closing stores early. So by the time students come here using public transport they couldn’t get any groceries.
They felt happy when we provided groceries at their doorsteps. Another 20% of students who recently moved to the US could not get money from their parents due to lockdown restrictions in India. For them we deposited $100 into their account. 3-4 students live in one flat so it helped them to manage their rent,” said Krishna.
“This is a nice initiative because many of us rely on university-related jobs. Since we have online classes due to lockdown, we lost jobs and especially we could not get transport. So it is difficult for us to get groceries. They provided us with one month groceries or $100 depending on our requirements.
Initially Ratnakar gaaru helped a few students. Seeing this, many students have come forward to seek help. We are happy that Andhra government is supporting us in this situation by understanding our needs,” said a student from Arizona who did not wish to be named.