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.

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