An inter-congregational group of nuns in Bangalore, in the state of Karnataka, in southern India, has launched a food security program, managing to provide for the daily sustenance of 2000 poor people, affected by the severe economic crisis that is shaking the country, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reported Fides News Agency.
“We distribute food packs to more than 2000 poor people every day with the help of other organizations and donors”, says to Fides Sister Boyapati Jayasree, of the “Daughters of Wisdom” congregation and coordinator of the NGO “Dream India Network” (DIN), through which the assistance project is carried out. DIN is in fact an NGO founded in 2012 in Bangalore by a group of Catholic laypeople and religious led by Salesian Fr. Edward Thomas.
Sister Jayasree has been working with DIN since 2016 and today there are 11 sisters from eight different congregations involved in the food security program.
“The initiative was born seeing poor people suffering from hunger due to the coronavirus pandemic and in need of support”, Sister Jayasree told Fides. The NGO has mobilized to provide food and medicine to particularly needy people. DIN, which already had 54 foster homes housing 432 vulnerable children, has activated collaboration with other religious congregations in Bangalore. And therefore, thanks to the initiative of Sr. Jayasree, DIN has provided shelters to 4000 migrant workers, of different cultures, ethnicities, and religions, during the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19. Migrants are provided free accommodation, food, and health care, thanks to the presence of 16 doctors and 45 psychologists who provide free online counseling.
“The pandemic is a difficult time for everyone. The poor suffer more and we must help them, to preserve their dignity and their life: it is the charity of Christ that drives us”, she said. A good sign, she points out, is the fact that every day the number of Catholic and non-Catholic volunteers who are involved in the project and offer assistance for free is growing.
The people assisted are mainly those who live in rural areas and are totally dependent on their daily earnings, often obtained by moving to nearby cities. The generalized closure imposed with the lockdown and the consequent crisis has caused a terrible shock among the families of the poorest villages, who have found themselves in great difficulty and with a lack of livelihood and suffer from hunger. For the most part, they are agricultural laborers, workers not linked to any company, people with disabilities.