India – Covid-19 and isolation threaten the poor. Salesian efforts for the emergency

27 March 2020

(ANS - New Delhi) - India is also facing the global challenge of the coronavirus. The government has imposed the nation's total lockdown until April 14. 1.3 billion Indian citizens, almost a fifth of the world's population, should "forget what it means to go out," as Prime Minister Modi said in his message. So far, the numbers of infections and deaths are contained, but there are fears that the low figures are related to the lack of tests, rather than the virus.

The stay-at-home order is feared may have a devastating impact on the approximately 300 million Indians who live below the poverty line and survive on their daily earnings. For this reason, the network of organizations that deals with the needs of destitute people, migrants, day laborers is fundamental. Among these organizations are the Salesians.

The Planning and Development Office of the Indian Province of Bangalore, "BREADS", has invited all Salesian centers to identify 20 families in their communities who may need food kits, even with specific attention to migrants. Furthermore, the Salesian centers where Tailoring & Dressmaking courses were already active have started to produce masks; information is then provided on how to volunteer for those who are in good health and who are available to help those in need, with all due precaution; while the educational centers are now dedicated to online teaching.

The Salesian "Mary Help of Christians" Province of Guwahati is also heavily involved and has organized itself to produce 50,000 masks and distribute 25 kg of rice and 10 kg of dal, a legume, to 20,000 people.

The Don Bosco Institute in Guwahati is experiencing a peculiar situation in the same Province. It currently houses 56 people - including workers and students - who faced with the chance to return to their homes, for various reasons, said they felt safer in the Salesian center. The Salesians, strictly following government directives, do not allow anyone to leave the campus. But now the big challenge is to feed everyone until April 14th.

In Hyderabad, the Bosco Seva Kendra Initiative Development Center launched a fundraising campaign for orphaned children and immigrant workers. In this way, 1,000 hygiene and health safety kits are expected to be produced; over 500 food kits; and complete meals for 60 days for orphaned children in the care of the Salesians.

Finally, news came from Shillong that the Provincial House of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) is in isolation, and the nuns have provided 500 masks to the head of the village. Food rations are provided for workers who currently cannot enter the nuns' house, while the possibility of allocating the FMA dispensary to Pyndengrei to keep students who have returned from other States in quarantine is under consideration.



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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