Cathy George is a former teacher and now a passionate chef who runs Crafting Curries, an Indian catering and cookery school business in Longthorpe, Peterborough.
Despite having a challenging year due to the Covid restrictions impacting her business operations, Cathy has decided to donate all the proceeds earned in the last three days towards helping organisations in India that are supporting people during these difficult times.
India is battling one of the worst Covid crisis in the world, with hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths reported each day.
Leaders from various parts of the world including UK, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, USA and Canada have offered support to the country whose health system is on the brink, with severe oxygen shortage.
Despite being the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, India is struggling with doses after many parts of the country reported a shortage in supplies This has mounted to further delays in bringing the Covid surge down.
Members of the public and several regional organisations have stepped in to support communities in the country, either by providing meals, groceries, oxygen cylinders, arranging hospital beds and medicines or just offering a helping hand to a sick person.
Cathy has chosen to send her proceeds to two organisations helping people in India - ‘Khana Chahiye’ (want food) and Hemkunt Foundation, which is providing humanitarian aid and healthcare provisions to members of the public who are in need.
Between May 3 and May 5, Cathy has raised nearly £700 from her gift vouchers and cooking class bookings.
Her target was to raise £1000 and she hopes to hit the target; Cathy believes every little counts in this dire situation faced by her home country.
She and her daughter had a lucky escape, as they returned back to Peterborough just before the travel ban was brought in on April 23.
Cathy was visiting her elderly father in Kerala and also a dear friend’s family in Kolkata who lost their father due to Covid. After seeing first-hand, the state of affairs in India, Cathy decided she had to do her bit to support people in any way she could.
Cathy said: "We had a lucky escape and returned home safe and well just in time as the travel ban was kicking in.
"Today is the last day of the fundraiser. I decided to give all the sales proceeds of my vouchers and courses to two organisations that I came across who are working on the ground.
"One of them is Khana Chahiye - it means want food. They are providing groceries and hot food to vulnerable people. For example, daily wage workers who will have no business due to lockdown, families of sick people, vulnerable people. They are out on the ground working hard to support people.
"I did not want to give the money to any government organisation but reach out and offer help to people like these. I believe this is mainly operating in Maharashtra.
"The other one is Hemkunt Foundation, which is providing health care provisions and looking after people who are sick, wherever they are. They are helping arrange for oxygen cylinders and beds. This, I believe, is mainly in Delhi and northern parts of India.
"The community is pulling together, there are many of us who are watching and feeling helpless. There are people like me who just escaped the situation to return home feeling even more guilty.
"I did not had a great year last year due to restrictions. 2020 was bleak to say the least. However, I am hoping to resume my operations from May 17 and I can't thank people enough who have come forward to support my cause and people who want to help.
"I really wanted to help but I was very sure that I did not want my money going into wrong hands or government organisations.
"Every little helps, so I hope I reach my target but if I don’t, I still feel as though I have done my small bit to help people.
"We know how bad the conditions are back home in India. I am hearing of so many in our immediate circles of friends and relatives who have passed away due to Covid or are critically ill. Earlier we were only hearing of people who we didn’t really know or connected to. This time it has hit home definitely. Only yesterday we heard of a family friend whose both parents died a few hours apart, it’s really dire.
"The means and planning is so bad which is making the situation worse."
Cathy runs cooking and dining experiences for personalised events such as Birthdays, Anniversaries and Hen Do’s in and around Peterborough, Cambridgeshire for small groups. She also uses Indian Cooking as a platform for team building and cultural integration for corporations and businesses.
To find out more and support her cause, click here.