Sting, Annie Lennox, A.R. Rahman Event Raises $5 Million for India COVID Relief

Vax.India.Now, a virtual fundraiser to support India in its fight against COVID-19, has raised more than $5 million.

Liam Neeson, Annie Lennox, A.R. Rahman, Pia Toscano, Zubin Mehta, Gloria Estefan, Sting, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Yo-Yo Ma, David Foster, Norwegian DJ Alan Walker, Asif Mandvi, Nishat Khan, Ranjani Gayatri Sisters and Matteo Bocelli participated in the July 7 event, which was globally livestreamed by CNN and Dreamstage.live, and hosted by Hasan Minhaj. The beneficiaries are UNICEF and AIG.

Vax.India.Now is the brainchild of Anuradha Juju Palakurthi, who runs a New England-based foundation supporting the promotion of Indian culture. Palakurthi was moved by the carnage caused by coronavirus in India, which also affected her family and friends.

At its peak, the virus was infecting 400,000 people a day in India. There have been 32 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 428,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. A total of 479 million vaccine doses have now been administered and new infections are now down to 35,000 a day.

“We are grateful for the generosity of large and small donors from around the globe who came together to support this lifesaving campaign – Vax.India.Now,” said Palakurthi. “The dedicated, multi-national 160-person organization team is proud to have raised meaningful resources in India’s battle against this awful pandemic. I am grateful to the celebrities for lending their time and talent – in particular, the immediacy of their response and commitment to the cause.”

“Special thank you to the Indian team that had to work through a national lockdown,” Palakurthi added. “The campaign is still open at VaxIndiaNow.com. We are all together in this and must continue to vaccinate individuals, to prevent more variants, and stop COVID-19. It is not over until it’s over.”

The fundraising campaign is operated in association with public charity The Giving Back Fund.

“This is what we are built for – to mobilize quickly and provide assistance and philanthropic administration to help those in need. At this moment in time, the need in India must become the center of the universe,” said fund president and founder Marc Pollick.

Vax.India.Now is produced by JuJu Productions, Charles Goldstuck, Marc Johnston and Erich Bergen and Wizcraft International Entertainment and Neelesh Misra of Gaon Connection.

Meanwhile, another Indian post-COVID relief event, featuring Ed Sheeran, Rahman and Lennox, will be streamed on Facebook on Aug. 15.

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