This is a very, very big thank you for the marvellous response to the appeal for special help as we here face the devastating effects of the covid 19 pandemic. I am really overwhelmed by your generosity.
The situation here is getting worse day by day. This morning’s report (13 Aug) says India has 2,332,908 cases with 46,216 deaths. Our state of Jharkhand has 19,469 cases with 194 deaths. Here too, cases are increasing quickly.
The challenge of course is to contain the virus and keep people safe. In the house next-door to our Jesuit Provincial residence in Hazaribag, four persons have been diagnosed with covid 19. In our state capital, Ranchi, a Sister of the Missionaries of Charity who had been serving the poor, distributing food packets, was infected and died.
Maybe a bigger challenge is helping the huge numbers of migrant labourers, now unemployed, who have returned from the cities. To face this situation, our Jesuits in their different areas are busy giving relief to very many. We are distributing food packets to hundreds of persons. Even more importantly, we have initiated many projects. In this way returned migrant labourers are receiving help, while maintaining their dignity. The villagers, mainly Dalits and Tribals are paid to work on projects which help their village.
Such projects include, preparing land for crops, digging new, or repairing old, village wells, deepening village ponds, repairing village schools and setting up small village shops.
As we help in this crisis situation, we still face the big problem of paying our teachers. Our schools have been closed since 25th March with no certainty of when they will reopen. With schools closed, we are getting no fees and when the schools eventually open, we cannot expect the poor Dalit and Tribal parents to pay the fees for the period the school was closed.
Therefore, your help is a wonderful relief and a sign of your commitment to the Hazaribag Jesuit Mission, your special mission to help the poor.
May Our Lord continually bless you and your families.
Once again, a big thank you.
Bob Slattery SJ
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