INDIA: Salesian Missions launches emergency appeal to help families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
Support will help Salesian missionaries on the ground expand their much-needed efforts.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (May 12, 2021) Amid the devastating second wave of COVID-19, Salesian missionaries across India are taking action. In response, Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, has launched an emergency appeal for donations.
Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, said, “When donors contribute to our special COVID-19 Relief Fund, they help Salesian missionaries on the ground expand their efforts to reach thousands of families who desperately need our help. With India’s health care system and other social services straining under the stress, they simply have nowhere else to turn.”
The second wave of COVID-19 has overwhelmed India’s health care system. India is reporting more than 400,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths each day. Since May 7, 150 people reportedly die every hour from COVID-19 complications and by the end of August, if conditions continue as they are, it’s estimated that more than a million people could die.
Hospitals are short staffed and are running out of supplies including oxygen, which is critical to patient care. Salesians report that some doctors have committed suicide because their mental health is being impacted by the sheer number of people in need of medical care and lack of supplies available to treat them.
In response, Salesian missionaries have launched initiatives to help front-line health workers and doctors. In Kolkata, psychological assistance is being provided for medical staff, including doctors and front-line health workers who are working in physically and psychologically demanding conditions. Currently, 100 volunteers have come together to facilitate this initiative. The volunteers speak 17 different languages, ensuring they are able to help people across the country.
Salesian missionaries, who have been working in the country long before the pandemic, are also helping families in need. Don Bosco Nerul has started measures to provide a safety net for people facing hunger. A roadside refrigerator has been set up where anyone can put food and anyone who needs it can pick it up. Many in India have lost their jobs over the course of the pandemic, and poverty and hunger are growing. Food is also being delivered to those who are in quarantine and who have no one else to help them.
In Hyderabad, the Department for Women’s Development and Child Welfare opened seven transit homes for children whose parents are currently in quarantine or hospitalized due to COVID-19. These houses, which include Don Bosco Navajeevan, will provide free accommodation, food, recreational activities and psycho-social support to the children. They will all be equipped with a caretaker, a doctor, an educator and a cook. Each house is able to accommodate at least 20 children, up to 14 years old.
Salesian provinces around the globe are working to send funding to help ongoing initiatives in India. To learn more and make a donation to help Salesian missionaries in India, visit SalesianMissions.org/lp/india-emergency.
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