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INDIA: Health care, food relief efforts increase for people impacted by pandemic

Salesian programs across the country increase their efforts to help those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic


(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in India are working to mitigate the impact of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that is devastating communities across the country. To date, 168 Catholic priests and 116 nuns have lost their lives. Salesian programs are increasing their efforts for the communities they serve.

In the Chennai Province, a new COVID-19 Care Center has been set up by the Salesian School of Egmore with the support of past pupils from the school and other Salesian institutions. The new center has 104 beds and oxygen concentrators and is working to meet the ever-growing demand for beds and oxygen in the city.

Don Bosco Relief Services, with the support of SURABI, the Salesian provincial planning and development office, and in collaboration with Don Bosco Vazhikatti, has supported hundreds of people with emergency kits that include rice, legumes, oil, spices, soaps, vitamins, medicines and a thermometer. This initiative benefited 500 street vendors in Chennai and 100 other marginalized people within the city.

In Bangalore, another COVID-19 Care Center with 25 beds was opened in May by the Redemptorist Fathers. BREADS, the planning and development office of the Salesian Province of Bangalore, is supporting the center with all consumables and oxygen concentrators, as well as food for patients, doctors, staff and volunteers.

In Mumbai, Don Bosco Development Society, in collaboration with AXA Business, provided 200 poor families in Pune and Chinchwad with rescue packages of foods, hygiene kits and toiletries. Over the past year, Don Bosco Development Society has reached and served more than 750,000 people.

Nitika Don Bosco, in Kolkata, launched a Salesian assistance center at the Don Bosco School in Park Circus. Salesians are providing free advice on COVID-19 and medical assistance to the poor. The facility has telephone assistance lines, doctors and medicines, diagnosis through blood tests and molecular swabs, and a food program with home delivery. Salesian Cooperators at Kristu Jyoti College are financially supporting the Salesian initiative.

In Chandigarh, in the New Delhi Province, Salesian missionaries are working to strengthen the government’s health infrastructure, supporting 11 hospitals with personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers and masks. Salesians are offering a free health service that has benefited 90 families in need. They are providing regular medical checks and distributing essential medicines and vitamins. Salesians are also providing online counseling and learning services to around 400 children. In addition, Salesians have distributed medical kits, toiletries, and nutritional materials and foods sufficient for a month to more than 1,000 people.

“Salesian missionaries on the ground in India have expanded 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,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.



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