Province : India - Original: English
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The outbreak of Corona virus made India to show extraordinary solidarity, forbearance and patience. The 1.3 billion Indians have joined hands against the pandemic. This is unprecedented in world history. Now even after an extension people remain steadfast in their resolve to protect themselves and their fellow citizens and to reach out to the poor and needy with a helping hand.
The Religious of the Assumption (R.A) of the province of India responded to the immediate call of the present situation of COVID-19 by reaching out to the needy and the poor who live in hamlets, slums, and in the nearby areas. They are mainly the daily wage workers who cannot go for work and provide a meal for their families, and the worst affected people like construction workers, migrants, dalits etc. The sisters could reach out to the beneficiaries irrespective of their religion, caste or language. Most of the communities bought food articles in bulk such as rice, wheat flour, pulses, tea leaves, potatoes, onions, sugar, beaten rice, cooking oil, salt, etc The whole community found joy in involving themselves in preparing the bags, packing , distributing it ,recording the register of their details etc.
Some of the communities could not get out due to lock down situation and some areas were sealed by local administration as a preventive measure against its spreading of corona. In such cases, sisters and our candidates and postulants involved themselves in making masks to be distributed. Hand sanitizers were distributed in certain areas like Rajodi in Maharashtra. Altogether we have reached out to about 800 families so far with food materials, at different times in different regions and states. In most cases it was the women who came forward to receive the packages.
In Pune, as the spread of the corona virus was on increase, it was impossible to get out but the local police came forward to help us. They arranged the police vehicle for us and they accompanied us to reach out to the people and distribute the food materials.
The Tilloli (Maharashtra) community obtained permission from the assistant district collector, and so they could go to the village directly for distribution. Rajodi community, besides the distribution of food materials, made use of the opportunity to give awareness on Corona virus and precautions and safety measures to be taken care of. The candidates made posters for it. In Thelpara region (Kerala), in their proximity there are no Covid 19 affected people. So, they helped the police men who are on special duty in the lock down situation, by offering snacks to them. The Calicut community gave shelter to some migrant workers in our out house and distributed food materials to them. The Patna community (Bihar), in collaboration with other NGOs and congregations, reached out to many by distribution of food materials and by counselling through mobile phone. Some of the communities contributed to the needy by monetary help. In other communities where sisters earn a salary, offered their half month’s salary for the relief fund of the government. The sisters above 60 were not going out for outside distribution but helped in packing the items. They followed the directions given by the government.
The unprecedented situation of the pandemic Covid-19 reminds us the interconnectedness of the humanity and the whole creation. We are not the sole masters of the creation. We are interdependent and interconnected. The Covid -19 has given us a chance to appreciate everything in our life. Sr. Rekha, our superior general, in her message on 10th March, 2020, asked us “what does letting go mean to each one of us?” The pandemic Covid -19 invites us to let go off our self-centredness, to get out of our comfort zones and to be a ray of light to the lives of others especially the people at the peripheries.