Former Wigan student supports pandemic aid efforts in India

A globetrotting former Wigan student is aiming to make a difference for people living in slums during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 9:09 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 9:10 am

While many people living, working or travelling overseas decided to return home due to the outbreak, Henry Johnston instead set off for India.

The 29-year-old arrived in Rishikesh, in the north of the country, just a day before a ban on travelling and got to work helping to provide food for people living in slums.

His mum Cathy said: “He has travelled the globe on his own. He lived in Australia where he studied for a masters in macro economics for a while, he did a degree in London, but nothing ever really resonated with him. Like a lot of young people, they are disenfranchised with the society we live in.

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Former Winstanley College student Henry Johnston is distributing food to people living in slums in India during the coronavirus pandemic

“India was a calling for him. He kept going backwards and forwards. After teaching people how to snowboard in Switzerland, he saved up some money and went back to India. I think he moved there the day before people were told to stop travelling.

“He happened upon this situation when he was in Riskikesh, which is a very sacred place with lots of temples. When the lockdown occurred, he wanted to stay to help others.”

Henry, who attended Winstanley College, decided to set up an urgent essential supply charity to help thousands of people living in slums, who were struggling to feed their families as they cannot work during the lockdown.

He has organised a team of volunteers who are distributing food for people in need.

Former Winstanley College student Henry Johnston is distributing food to people living in slums in India during the coronavirus pandemic

Mrs Johnston said: “I’m very proud of him. He’s found a cause that he is passionate about. Every mum wants that for their chid.”

To help pay for the food that is needed, Henry has set up an online appeal and hopes people across the borough will donate.

He said: “With your help we can reach many of these people in Rishikesh who are struggling. All the donations will be used to directly distribute food packages all over the city. No middle men, no messing around, straight to the bellies of the people.”

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Former Winstanley College student Henry Johnston is distributing food to people living in slums in India during the coronavirus pandemic

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