On Friday, June 4th we have wired an additional $21,416 to India bringing our total donation up to $42,513.
“I have seen many of the people we give rice to immediately start to boil water to cook the rice. They are that hungry.”
We have distributed 25,000 25kg bags of rice so far to only the neediest people in rural villages. Next week we are looking to distribute another 25,000 bags of rice.
The lockdown in India is crippling the poorest of the poor leaving many of them hungry. Here is your chance to directly impact the life of someone who needs your help.
Here are some images of the relief you have helped to bring to those most in need.
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I have been utterly blown away by the generosity of our customers!
As of 8 am on Friday morning, May 28th, we have raised $28,327!
On top of the $2,000 initial donation, Lotus Sculpture is matching the $8,338 donated in the first 24 hours. That brings the total to $36,665!
From the $2,000 wire payment made to Balan on 5/19, we were able to donate 175 bags of rice to needy villagers in India. An additional $19,097 was wired to Balan on 5/24 to purchase rice for another round of distributions.
Balan has focused on the villages around where he lives in Mamallapuram by contacting village leaders and asking them to give names of families who have the most need.
These are mostly agrarian families who live day to day earning their living by working in the fields for their daily needs. With a full lockdown in place, they are unable to work and are going hungry.
We made the decision to donate 25kg rice bags because rice is the central staple of the Indian diet and can easily feed a family for up to 3 weeks.
“It is difficult to explain the feeling I got when I saw their eyes fill with relief.”
Balan has already purchased 1800 bags of rice (25kgs) with the 2nd wire sent of $19,097 on 5/24.He has been in contact with village leaders around Mamallapuram compiling lists of families with the most need.
Currently, no one is allowed to leave their homes with police enforcing people staying in their homes.
On Monday, May 31st, when the harsh lockdown lifts there will be 8 local points where the bags of rice will be distributed.
These points will be at Balan’s home as well as the homes of his friends and local leaders. (We will send a newsletter with pictures of the 2nd round of donations next week.)
What Is Still Needed:
We will continue to give as long as there is a need. With the lockdown measures in place indefinitely there is still a need for aid.
In the first week of June, we will send another wire for rice distribution around our bronze artists in Kumbakonam and Swamimalai. We have already contacted our artisans and have started compiling lists of families in these areas.
Give knowing that 100% of every dollar you give goes to buying rice in South India.
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Over the past year, I have been getting pleas from our artisans over their situation due to Covid. With no domestic customers buying statues in each country and no tourists creating any other domestic demand, their only source of revenue has been Lotus Sculpture.
We have tried our hardest to support our artists during this time by ordering more statues to help make up for their overall loss of orders. A full four months into this year we have already ordered as many statues from our artists as we did all of 2020.
I have asked a couple of our artisans to say how covid has affected them. Here is a collection of their responses.
~Kyle, founder of Lotus Sculpture
It took me 5 years of searching to find the small village where the majority of wood statues in India are produced. There, in Tamil Nadu, I met my wood artisan Natarajan (the man to my right pictured below). It has been over 13 years, and I have been working with him ever since.
Here is what Natarajan has to say about COVID and the relentless effect it has had on his business, his family, and his artists:
Balan is my dearest friend in India. He is like a brother to me. I contact him every night and it makes me so sad to hear news about the current situation
“We cannot go to the hospital for regular checkups. I am diabetic, also my 72-year-old mother. We are advised by doctors to not come to the hospital, use the same medicine.
My daughters don’t go anywhere… I am afraid they may get depression. I am not allowed to make any statues. At the same time, I need to take care of my artists’ families. I don’t want to cut their salary, so I sold many of my family gold.”
“The local police stopped everyone from moving place to place. I can’t go more than 2 kilometers.
Each and every artist faces many sad stories. A stone artist’s salary is 1200 to 1500 Rupees. In COVID time, they work as a gardener, cleaner, any work, for 500 Rupees just to live
After the first wave of COVID, many stone artists become auto drivers and gardeners. They don’t come back to stonework. Stonework is very difficult. Sometimes artists have accidents. Since COVID, I have not seen one new person come and learn how to be a stone artist.
It is difficult to find stone artists…”~Balan, Stone Artisan
Piyush is my brass artist in New Delhi which is at the epicenter of where the virus is exacting the harshest toll at the moment.
He has had three people in his immediate family pass away from the virus in the past month. I often say that the media overinflates the bad news, but in this case, I do not think they are doing the current situation in India justice. It is very bad there!
“Covid has affected us from our housekeeper
to my wife and from my wife spread to me.
Due to Covid, there is a shortage of oxygen.
Our artisans are sitting idle. Now they do not have work! They want to manufacture but they cannot !
Covid has made our life severely ill!”~Piyush, Brass Artisan
Christian lives in Bali, Indonesia with about half the artists he works within Bali and the other half in Java. Right now Bali has no tourists and thus, no business.
“I think the business from tourists is only 5% compared to before Covid.
Thank God for you. All of our workers still working normally. We try to help them as much as we can.
Many jobless people now leave Denpasar-Bali back to their village and change from worker to villager now. .”~Christian, Stone Artisan
Free UPS Ground Shipping SALE!
For a limited time we are offering free UPS Ground shipping on all orders within the 48 States. International customers will receive a 40% discount off the price of shipping. This discount will be extended to our Canadian customers as well!
Items weighing over 150 pounds including packing materials will be shipped using a freight service. Domestic Freight will be discounted by 35%!