Responding to COVID-19 in India


Rise Up


Rise Up girl leaders in India

In 2021, Rise Up leader Panchshila Kumbharkar mobilized her organization and community to respond to COVID-19—successfully advocating for dedicated relief funds that helped over 320,000 people access financial resources to buy food and supplies.

320K people now able to access financial resources for food & supplies

Rise Up leader Panchshila Kumbharkar has made it her life’s work to prevent discrimination and violence against historically oppressed Dalit women and girls in India.

With Rise Up’s support and funding, Panchshila and her organization, Swadhikar–National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights, created a community watch group of 400 Human Rights Defenders to prevent caste-based violence.

Headshot of Rise Up leader, Panchshila Kumbharkar
Through Rise Up’s training, I learned how important it is to thoroughly study an issue and find stakeholders involved to work with. Panchshila Kumbharkar

Rise Up Leader since 2019, India

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Panchshila and Swadhikar mobilized their community to respond to the crisis. Swadhikar used an app to survey their existing network of 5,000 Dalit families, discovering that thousands had not received the COVID-19 relief funds promised to them by the government.

Panchshila and her organization successfully advocated for dedicated COVID-19 relief funds for these families, ensuring that over 320,000 people could access the financial resources they desperately needed to buy food and supplies, and establishing a model to be scaled across the state.

PHI’s Rise Up is creating a strong pipeline of local leaders who are raising their voices to advocate for gender equity, access to education, health care and economic opportunity. Learn more in their 2021 Impact Report.

Work With Us

You change the world. We do the rest. Explore fiscal sponsorship at PHI.

Bring Your Work to PHI

Support Us

Together, we can accelerate our response to public health’s most critical issues.


Find Employment

Begin your career at the Public Health Institute.

See Jobs

Rise Up girl leaders


We Are All Public Health

When we are all public health, a healthier, more equitable world is within our reach. In our 2022 annual report, we share some of the unique roles we each play in making public health stronger, reach farther and connect better.

Read our 2022 Annual Report

Continue to