Indian Orphanage provides more than 10,000 Covid-19 relief packs to internal migrants amid pandemic

“They were lined up at our gates, because they were so desperate for food and medications. They could not afford these daily essentials.” – Courtney Regina Lalotra, Founder& President of One Life to Love

Migrants struggle in India amid Covid-19 pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has had a great impact on all countries across the world; however, India has been especially impacted during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the World Health Organization, India has had over 395,000 confirmed Coronavirus cases, which makes India the fourth leading country of confirmed cases; moreover, India is currently on lockdown until the first of July, which is when India’s government will reevaluate and decide whether or not the lockdown needs to be extended again.

As the coronavirus cases continue to rise in India, so do the loss of jobs. According to Trading Economics, the unemployment rate has went from 7 to 23 percent in India, which has left many migrants struggling to find a place to go and food to eat. Furthermore, India is the leading country in the world to host 17.5 million internal migrants in their country, according to the Economic Times.

Courtney Regina Lalotra, founder and president of One Life to Love, and her husband Yogesh Lalotra quickly recognised that there was a great need to help migrants who are struggling during this pandemic; therefore, they started putting together and distributing Covid-19 relief packs, which consists of food and medications.

With One Life to Love’s efforts, they have helped over 10,000 internal migrants by distributing Covid-19 relief packs.

Video featured below: Courtney and her husband hand out food and medications to those who are in need. Duration 0.24

About One Life to Love & its purpose

Founder and president of One Life to Love Courtney Regina Lalora with child who is a part of the Daycare & Education Center for Migrant Children

One Life to Love is an orphanage home for boys who have ‘special needs’. The orphanage home opened their doors 10 years ago and have been providing variety of services – a home for boys, day care services for girls and boys, woman alliance programs, sponsorship for children going to school, and much more.

Courtney Lalotra, who is the founder and president of One Life to Love, is originally from New Jersey – USA. Over 10 years ago, Courtney graduated from  the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York and became very successful in her fashion career; however, she realised she needed to do something more with her life, she needed to find a deeper meaning.

Coincidentally at this pivotal moment in her life, Courtney was offered an opportunity to study abroad for a research project in India with her former colleagues and professors to study a very fashionable fabric called ‘pashmina wool’, in which she quickly accepted.

Upon first arriving in India, she instantly saw that there was a lack of support for children who have ‘special needs’; therefore, she then decided to stay in India after completing her research project with her colleagues.

Founder and president of One Life to Love Courtney Lalotra with children of the slum 10 years ago

Courtney then moved to the slums of Delhi and helped countless street children and orphan children. However, there was one specific child – Surendar, whose name means beautiful boy – whom she got attached to, but unfortunately due to limited resources at the organisation that she was at, they could not assist him.

Furthermore, the story of Surendar is where the One Life to Love story began.

“This organisation that I was working with didn’t want to spend the resources that was needed to care for this child named Surendar, so they ended up sending him to the only mental institution in Delhi for children like him and two months later he died as a result of neglect.

When he passed away, it was really heart-breaking for me and that’s when I decided that I wanted to do something.

So I decided to open a home for children, like Surendar, and that’s when One Life to Love opened its doors.

We now have 10 children who have ‘special needs’ – and that’s not all, we have over 30 children who come every day for day care services, women alliance programs (where we are providing sanitary pads for women who don’t have access to them), and we are sponsoring education for more than 300 girls to go to school.

As soon as a need is presented to us, we work with the One Life to Love volunteers, professionals, and our local community to figure out, ‘how can we address this need to help fill this gap’.'”

– Courtney Regina Lalotra, Founder and President of One Life to Love

In order to help care for the children who live at the One Life to Love home, Courtney also has four ‘house mothers‘ who assist her with the children. The benefits of these particular house mothers are that they know and understand what these children are going through, because they have went through similar circumstances themselves.

One Life to Love children with their ‘house mothers’

One Life to Love also offers day care services for girls; however, Courtney hopes to open an even larger home, which would house boys and girls, as well as add an animal shelter (to help animals get off the streets and for therapy purposes).

Courtney is currently working with Architects Without Frontiers to bring this vision into fruition. Architects Without Frontiers provides assistance to facilitate the design and construction of health, education, and community projects, so that hopefully with their assistance, along with sponsors help, they can build a home like Courtney envisions.

Video featured below: Founder of One Life to Love Courtney Regina Lalotra shares with me how the orphanage originally got started, what it is that they do, and what is its sole purpose. Duration 16:13

Covid-19 Relief Efforts

One Life to Love and their volunteers originally began distributing Covid-19 relief packs to their day care children who were no longer able to come to the One Life to Love day care facility, due to India’s Covid-19 lockdown.

Once more people heard about One Life to Love distributing Covid-19 relief packs, hundreds of people began lining up outside their gates, because these people were all in need. Courtney said, they were all so desperate for food and medications, because they could not afford these daily essentials.

Not only is it important to One Life to Love to ensure that the people who live in the slums of India get their daily essentials, but they also want to provide the necessary education that they are in need of as well; therefore, One Life to Love has created campaigns in order to assist them with this need to help keep everyone safe in the slums of India during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Awareness campaigns is a very integral part of our work, so while we  distribute Covid-19 relief packs, we are also doing awareness campaigns – teaching people about hygiene –  showing them how to wear a face mask, how to wash their hands, and to eat healthy foods. This is an integral part of the program and it’s still ongoing.”

– Courtney Regina Lalotra, Founder& President of One Life to Love

Covid-19 relief packs

As many are struggling globally during this pandemic, Courtney shares her opinion of who may struggle the most during the post-covid recovery period.

“I think that nonprofits are going to suffer as a result of this.

We depend on other people’s donations in order to sustain our work, so we’re not sure what’s going to happen this coming year.

But you know, it’s across the board – every one is going to struggle.”

– Courtney Regina Lalotra, Founder& President of One Life to Love

Video featured below: Founder & President of One Life to Love Courtney Regina Lalotra shares with me what One Life to Love is doing in order to help during the Coronavirus pandemic. Duration 7:26

Courtney’s Final Message

Courtney shared with me her final thoughts on how others who may be struggling during this pandemic can turn something of what seems to be an impossible situation by rethinking things – ‘turn an impossible situation into an opportunity to do good.’

“It’s so important to look up and find hope. Find a way that you can contribute somehow. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but I find through service, doing good – you’re the one who benefits.

Let’s look out and see ‘how can I make a positive difference’.

Make a donation to a nonprofit, call someone to see how they are doing, send someone a compliment, like something on their Facebook, or make a nice comment on someone’s post – you know it’ll make their day and you’ll feel good doing it.”

– Courtney Regina Lalotra, Founder& President of One Life to Love

Video featured below: Courtney shares with me some words of encouragement for people who may struggling during this pandemic. Duration 4:06

If you would like to help One Life to Love in continuing their efforts, please follow this link to donate.

COVID-19: Ahmadiyya Muslim Community assists in pandemic

“Wherever we go, we will endeavour to help and serve humanity.” – Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph), His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community lends a helping hand during pandemic

During a time of such distress, amid the Coronavirus pandemic, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community have come together to assist those who are in need of help at this time, which includes the NHS Staff, vulnerable people, and charitable organisations.

Adeel Shah, a British Imam and one of Britain’s youngest Imams, spoke to me about his fellow youth members – the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) – who are supporting the NHS staff as they are serving on the Frontlines of the pandemic, people who are classified as a ‘vulnerable’ person, and charitable organisations. 

Since the initial pandemic began, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community have done a number of things to help their community, which includes:

  • Deliver 205,228 PPE on behalf of the government to the NHS staff.
  • Distribute 4,390 meals to the NHS Staff.
  • Supply 13,390 households with food parcels and medicine.
  • Establish 24 food-banks across the UK.

Video interview featured below: Imam Adeel Shah explained in more detail about all of the different type of things he and the Ahmadiyya Muslim volunteers have been doing to assist their community during the pandemic. The Ahmadiyya Muslim community even put together a video of appreciation for the NHS staff, which I included at the end of this clip of the interview.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Motto:”Love for all, hatred for none.”

So who are the Ahmadiyya’s Muslims and what are their beliefs?

The Ahmadiyya Muslims believe in serving their community as it is an integral and essential part of their faith. Moreover, Adeel Shah explained to me more in depth about what their religion is and what their beliefs are.

“Just a brief insight of how we differentiate with other Muslims is that we believe that the Messiah who is being awaited for by all the mainstream religions, not only the denominations within Islam, not only mainstream Islamic denominations, but mainstream religions as a whole.

The Messiah that is being awaited for by all those religions, Ahmadiyya Muslims believe that he came in 1835 and after his demise a system of Caliphate started, and that Caliphate isn’t the Caliphate you see in the media. It has nothing to do with Isis or terror or terrorism.

In essence, we have our fifth Caliphate at the moment. He is a supreme leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim’s all around the world. So, he’s our supreme leader. To understand what he is – he’s like a Pope figure to us. So, he looks after the matters the affairs of Ahmadiyya Muslims all around the world. So, he’s a father figure to us as well as being a supreme leader.”

– Imam, Adeel Shah

Adeel Shah featured with Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph), His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad

At the age of 17, Adeel Shah decided to become an Imam of Islam. According to Shah, he is a British Imam and one of Britain’s youngest Imams.

 “I have spent a month in Ghana for charity work and have recently come back from Pakistan.

I have pledged allegiance to a Caliphate. The type of Caliphate that promotes love, harmony, brotherhood regardless of class, colour, creed, or race.

Locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally we regularly carry out blood drives, tree planting sessions, homeless feeding sessions, litter picking sessions, charity walks, Water Well projects, build schools in Third World countries, and much more.

– Imam, Adeel Shah

Imam, Adeel Shah with child from Ghana

Video featured below: Imam Adeel Shah explains more in depth about his religion – Ahmadiyya Muslim.

How has this pandemic affected Adeel Shah’s family?

The “normal” for Adeel Shah’s family during the day usually consists of him at work, his father at work, his mother at home, his sisters at their universities, and they typically wouldn’t get to spend as much time together, because of their busy schedules; however, due to the Coronavirus pandemic everything has changed for their family in a positive way. Normally him and his family would be too tired to be doing what they have been doing during the lockdown, such as eating and praying together.

“In terms of the Coronavirus, it’s kind of made everyone housebound. It has had its advantages during Corona. We’ve had the chance to pray together. We pray five times a day. And after our prayer, we share sources of knowledge.

For example, we will read a book of our founder – the founder of our community, Prophet Mohamed, peace be upon him. Or we’ll read something on religion to increase our religious knowledge. And after that we’ll discuss what happened during the day.”

– Imam, Adeel Shah

Video featured below: Imam Adeel Shah told me more about how the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown has had a positive impact on him and his family.

Final thoughts from Adeel Shah

“Reflect. Before you go to bed you should reflect – how did your day go, what were the good things you did, what were the bad things that you did, how can you improve the next day?

And it’s the same thing with Corona as well. The Coronavirus is a sad reality that we are living through. The pandemic is an epidemic that we have to go through, but hopefully when this does finish ‘God-willing’ we need to identify the positives that we’ve learnt.

All these things we took for advantage, I think it’s time we started realising and valuing them.”

– Imam, Adeel Shah

Video featured below: British, Imam Adeel Shah, offers a personal perspective of hope for the Coronavirus ending, a religious perspective of hope for the Coronavirus ending, as well as recommends for others to continue to abide by the UK government’s guidelines.

Journo Jess News Update – Episode Five

Check out my latest Virtual News Update – Featuring a clip from my interview with Imam Adeel Shah, who shares with me how he and his  Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are assisting those in need during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Covid-19: Asylum seeker and partner provides acts of kindness for others during pandemic

As daily essentials are in high demand during this pandemic, asylum seeker, who has asked to remain anonymous for security purposes, and his partner Liz Hulse provides acts of kindness to assist – those who are vulnerable and the NHS staff – as they struggle to get their essentials.

This asylum seeker moved to the UK 10 years ago and had to claim asylum due to complications with his immigration status ; moreover, his application has been put on hold at this time due to the pandemic. Therefore, to keep himself distracted and to keep his mental health in check, he knew that he had to do something. So, he made a decision to help those who are in need during this pandemic.

“It all started off by just helping the elderly and the vulnerable just down our street. and you know I thought ‘I could easily do that – shopping or picking up prescriptions – just the essential stuff that they shouldn’t be doing, but it has to be done.’

So basically a group of 6 people joined in. We divided our area by every Ward. And every Ward would meet around 8:30 everyday, even if it’s just 15 minutes of work – you know just some shopping for someone.

– Anonymous person who seeks asylum in the UK

The asylum seeker, then heard about how much of a need there was to help  the NHS staff as well with getting their essentials – such as bread, milk, toilet paper, face masks, medications such as paracetamol, and fruit and vegetables.

With this information, he and his partner Liz wanted to further their efforts in continuing to help those in need of assistance during this pandemic; therefore, they organised two Facebook groups –  Help Orphington NHS, which provides the NHS staff with their essentials and the Orphington Covid 19 Mutual Aid, which helps vulnerable people get their essentials as well.

The next thing they knew they needed to do was to seek out for financial assistance with this endeavour; therefore, they reached out to a local business group that helped them get started.

“Then we reached out to a local community group and that kind of took us through commercial levels – which is basically linked to every business in the area – Orphington 1st.”

– Anonymous person who seeks asylum in the UK

Orphington 1st were their first sponsors, in which they gave £1000 towards to help those who are in need during this pandemic. This then lead to Crofton Oak Scouts Hut Trust ,who offered their premises (free of charge) to them and their volunteers for the duration of the pandemic. The Scouts Hut was used as a base for Help Orphington NHS, where basic essentials are set up for the NHS staff to come in, get what they need, get back to work, or to go home.

Curtesy images of Help Orphington NHS – The trustees of Crofton Oak Scout Hut on Crofton Road

The council had a problem with this at first,  but the asylum seeker and his partner Liz assured them that they were following the World Health Organisation procedures and policies to ensure that every volunteer that works there is kept safe. The asylum seeker said, “We were just trying to fill the gap where the council had failed to do so and just wanted to do what we knew needed to be done.”

“We have proper social distancing, which is in place. We have all our volunteers wear masks and glooves. Then we have at the entrances – hand washes and hand sanitizers.”

-Anonymous person who seeks asylum in the UK

Help Orpington NHS

The asylum seeker, said when he and his partner Liz heard that there was a need to help the NHS staff get their daily essentials before and after their shifts, them and their volunteers reached out to the community and got a large amount of support from local farms, caterers, local restaurants, and local supermarkets who are donating to this cause.

Asylum seeker said, anytime they realised they were running low on things and posted it to their Facebook page, they got help  pretty quickly.

“We are getting half a truck full every single day, which is a local shop. And I’m surprised and so amazed that they are checking our post on Facebook. The moment they see we are running low on things – the next day or even the same day we had that.”

– Anonymous person who seeks asylum in the UK

Local supermarkets, such as Iceland, have even set up signs and shopping carts at their stores to help get more donations for the Help Orphington NHS. Local restaurants are even donating lunches for the NHS staff, so that they can just come in, grab a lunch, and get back to work.

Curtesy images from Help Orphington NHS

“The main intention behind that was to restrict the NHS staff before or after their shifts.

They leave the hospital premises – some might go to supermarkets just to buy the essentials – so instead of going to 20 different locations, they can just come to one location, which restricts their movement in general, so that they can come to just one place.”

– Anonymous person who seeks asylum in the UK

NHS staff appreciation

The asylum seeker and his partner Liz, as well as their community, wanted to let the NHS staff know just how much they are appreciated; therefore, on National Nurses Day, they launched a ‘Let’s Bake for the NHS’.

Cakes were sold through an online auction throughout the day on a Sunday and they were delivered to the purchasers homes ‪on Sunday afternoon‬.

All proceeds went to Help Orphington NHS.

Many children even brought the Help Orphington NHS drawings that they made for the NHS staff and they were hung on the wall behind the pastries.

Bakery goods for NHS staff at the Help Orphington NHS

And lastly, Asylum seeker offers some advice for those who are similar circumstances that he is in: 

“Don’t worry about what’s ahead of you. Keep your mental health in place and keep yourself motivated.”

– Anonymous person who seeks asylum in the UK

Have a story idea? Contact me at

Episode One

This is my virtual one-minute news update of one of the stories I plan to cover this week! 👀 👇🏻 👀

Enjoy my first episode and leave a comment below 👇🏻 to let me know what you think!!!??!!!

Here is the link to the news story following this news story update: Covid-19: Asylum seeker and partner provides acts of kindness for others during pandemic

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