Lifting Lockdowns, Shifting Focus
It’s been over 80 days since COVID -19 lockdowns began in India. Literally, life has changed for most people. While for the general population many of the lockdown restrictions have been lifted, the elderly, the immunocompromised and the very young are still locked in. Mindsets have been impacted in different ways. Some people proceed with caution for fear of infection while some simply don’t care. And the numbers of people infected with COVID 19 are beginning to soar.
Among those for whom the Don Bosco Network cares especially—the migrants, daily wagers, vulnerable elderly and children, the homeless, and poor— there are various preoccupations. Some migrant labourers are waiting for an opportunity to go home now that many states permit interstate travel. It’s about getting tickets, the money for the travel, food for the journey, quarantine rules when they reach, the real threat of infection during the long journeys, the worry for the welfare of their families. For those already on the road, it’s the need to reach home under really difficult circumstances and not knowing what awaits them. Common to those who return to their native states and to those who remain wherever they are, is the big question: What next?
What next in terms of survival? If infected with COVID 19, how to manage? How to earn enough to feed selves and families? What are the available means to earn a living? These questions, therefore, become relevant to the Don Bosco Network as well. While looking for possible answers to these questions, the Don Bosco Network understands the vital need to provide basic sustenance for these vulnerable people until they can find their bearings and get back on their feet after this massive upheaval.
Therefore, the Don Bosco Solidarity COVID 19 relief continues, now reaching 139,7742 million people with food either through provisions or cooked meals. Among a host of other means of support, it has produced 430,875 face masks for distribution and distributed 64,342 sanitary kits to people in need. Unfortunately for us, with the lifting of the lockdown, the COVID 19 infection and the weight of the issues of survival have not lifted. It is our shared humanity and the spirit of solidarity that uplifts us in these times.
The Don Bosco Network in India comprises of 11 Planning and Development Organisations (PDOs), each dedicated to the development of the Salesian provinces they serve. The Don Bosco network is spread across 29 states and 354 NGOs, reaching more than 10 lakh people.