It has been impossible to avoid news reports of the horrific effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in India. Harrowing images of overcrowded hospitals and mass open-air cremations have appeared in our newspapers and on our television screens. The disease has run rampant throughout the country, infecting millions and killing hundreds of thousands. MSCs in India have been doing their very best to help those in desperate need; however, it is often a case of trying to do an awful lot with very little.
“In India, the situation has become worse,” writes Fr Darwin Thatheus MSC, Regional Superior in Bangalore. “In many areas, daily life has come to a halt.”
The Indian government has put in place an ongoing lockdown with an advisory to stay at home, and so many people, including daily-wage labourers, have lost their livelihoods. They now have no income at all and are locked in a serious struggle to meet their daily needs.
MSCs in India have been providing a rapid response programme to ensure that those in need have essential relief supplies, including dry rations and basic hygiene necessities.
To date, the MSC Mission Office in India have provided help with:
- Food for daily-wage workers who have lost their income.
- Groceries and dry-ration supplies for poor families and migrant workers in Bangalore City and beyond.
- Dry-ration relief supplies for rural parishes ministered to by MSCs.
- Food and provisions for widows and elderly women.
- Medical assistance for COVID-19 patients.
- Dry-ration supplies for school staff at the Chevalier Academy. The school caters for students in a rural parish, where poverty is rife. The school has not been able to function properly during the COVID pandemic, and so the staff have been out of work, without pay. The MSC Indian Mission Office have supported 57 teachers and staff members with food and essential provisions.
- Distribution of hand wash, face masks, and sanitiser for residents of homes for the elderly, along with nutritional food such as eggs, buttermilk, and Ragi, a whole-grain which is rich in fibre, calcium, and Vitamin D.
“We have helped those affected by the pandemic in whatever way we could help,” writes Fr Darwin. “While adhering to all safety and hygiene measures, we began our relief service by providing a meal or packed grocery kits to the marginalised and the low-income segment of our society, which is largely made up of daily-wage workers, migrant labourers, construction site workers, and needy people at old-age homes and night shelters in the states of Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.”
“We want to continue to help people during this ongoing lockdown situation,” says Fr Darwin. “We want to provide them with food and other provisions as much as we can. But due to a lack of funds, we have not been able continue our service for the people.”
“These are unprecedented times and we are a close-knit community in the Heart of Jesus. We would greatly appreciate it if you will help us to fight against this pandemic with whatever you can.”
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have carried out COVID relief for those in need with dry rations, medical aid, and educational help for disadvantaged children. Unfortunately, we have not been able to continue our relief work due to a lack of funds.
It would be a great blessing for the poor people if you would help us to help them.
Together, we are stronger. Together, we can overcome.
Big or small, every effort counts and it will all have a great impact on someone’s life.
Individually, we are just one drop.
Together, we are an ocean.
– Fr Darwin Thatheus MSC
Regional Superior in Bangalore