LONDON: Britain's Prince Charles on Friday launched a new COVID-19 emergency appeal fund for India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in his role as the Royal Founding Patron of the British Asian Trust, a diaspora-led development organisation for South Asia.
The 71-year-old heir to the British throne, who himself recovered from the coronavirus at the end of last month, praised Britain's Asian community for the 'vital role' it has been playing during the pandemic as he called for the diaspora to donate generously to help the most vulnerable in their countries of origin.
"In the United Kingdom, I know that the British Asian community is playing a vital role in response to this crisis.
"Whether in the NHS (National Health Service) or as key workers in other roles, or through the wonderful work done by volunteers and local initiatives in temples, mosques and gurdwaras to support all members of all communities," said the Prince of Wales, in a video message for the Trust.
"I wanted to lend my support to the launch of an emergency appeal to help those who are suffering most across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka
"Today to play its part in responding to this pandemic, the British Asian Trust, in partnership with local organisations and governments, is ramping up its work to support the daily basic needs of the poorest and the most vulnerable," he said.
As he appealed for donations to the new fundraiser, the royal highlighted that across South Asia an estimated 40 million children are in need and over 400 million daily workers have seen their livelihoods disappear with no form of income and no savings.
"They and their families now face a fight for survival," he said.
The Trust, founded by Prince Charles in 2007 to fight poverty across South Asia, said that without the daily work they relied on, many in the region simply do not have any money to pay for food or medicine for their loved ones during this most unprecedented crisis.
"I started the British Asian Trust 13 years ago with the help of members of the British Asian community to support those in greatest need in South Asia.
"Over this time, the Trust has supported nearly 5 million people, with your generosity, the British Asian Trust will help those who have nowhere else to turn and offer hope to those who face the most desperate circumstances. With your help, we can make a difference," said Prince Charles.
The Trust has set up an online donation system on its website, inviting people to donate from as little as three pounds, either as a one-off donation or a monthly amount.
"We have shown great togetherness and commitment for our communities here in the UK. Now, more than ever, families back in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka need you," the Trust said in reference to the new fundraiser.