My name is Timothy Corlis. I manage a small music store in Vancouver called Gandharva Loka World Music Instruments. For a decade now, our store has provided instruments from around the world to the local community surrounding Vancouver. Many of the beautifully crafted musical instruments we sell come from India, made by highly skilled artisans. The fine art of making beautiful instruments in India is an age old tradition and the knowledge is held by very few when you consider the value it adds to the world.
These skilled craftsmen and craftswomen are part of our extended Gandharva Loka community. We have benefited and the community in Vancouver has benefited from their contribution, from the beautiful instruments they make. We would love to continue to support the valuable work that they do but at the moment, this work is not possible. Most instrument factories and workshops are closed.
These highly skill tradespeople are much like those of us in Canada who need assistance during this time of upheaval. Much of the news coverage is focused on the rising fatalities in India and on the need to support the medical community. While these are vitally important, we also need to remember that, much like here in Canada, there are thousands who are indirectly affected by the shut-downs. This suffering may not be as news worthy, but the impact is still devastating.
Because of the COVID crisis in India, most of the instrument-making workshops have been shut down. The workers who make the instruments, in most cases have had to return to their rural villages to avoid the COVID hotspots. Artisans have no way to make an income, no way to support their families, and have been faced with this income crisis for many months now. There is no social safety net and little or no government funding to help people get through.
In the future we would love to continue working with our extended community of instrument makers in India to bring all of these wonderful musical instruments to Vancouver, but right now these craftsmen and craftswomen need some help to get through until the crisis subsides. So, we’ve created this go-fund-me campaign to help raise some funds to donate to artisans who need our help.
These funds will then be given out to help instrument makers to support themselves and their families until they can return to work and continue their valuable trade.
We will give 33% of what we raise to support instrument makers in Mumbai, one of the places most severely affected by the COVID crisis. These funds will go to one of the most well respected and longstanding instrument manufacturers in the country, an organization that we know well and have have worked with since our store opened a decade ago. All of their instrument making workshops are currently closed and have been closed almost a year.
We will give 33% to instrument makers in Northern India, in New Delhi and in the northern provinces. These artisans have also supplied our store with instruments for many years. They are eager to continue working with us once again and are in need of something to help them bridge the gap until the pandemic subsides.
We will give the other 34% to instrument makers in-and-around Chennai, another hot-spot severely affected by the COVID crisis. These funds will go to our partners in the southern province of Tamil Nadu, who will distribute the funds to the artisans who need our support in the area. Their livelihoods are completely interrupted because of the pandemic. Chennai and the neighbouring areas are completely shut down as a direct result of COVID.
All of our partners in India are people we sincerely trust who run honest musical instrument businesses with integrity. They are well respected, responsible and also compassionate members of our community. Your donation will make a difference and reach the people who need it.
A small donation of $5 or $10 (price of a cup of coffee at Starbucks) can make a big difference. We’ll gladly match any funds that come in, up to our goal, with our own donations to the campaign. If we all contribute a little bit we can reach our goal of $5000 in no time and send the funds while they are urgently needed.
India is the country that has given us Ravi Shankar, Zakir Hussain, Gopal Subramanium, Rabindranath Tagore and many, many others who have blessed us with their tremendous music. India also gave us our store’s Guru, Sri Chinmoy who placed an extremely high value on musical instruments, and likened music as a door to open our hearts to the divine. We hope that our community here in Canada will join us in supporting those who carry the age old tradition of instrument-making in India. Their lives matter profoundly and the knowledge they keep, on behalf of those of us who cherish the music of India, is invaluable.
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