(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Relief Services, located in Chennai, India, in collaboration with the Salesian provincial planning and development office SURABI, has been working to help mitigate the impact of the second wave of COVID-19 that is devastating the country. The organization has launched a number of initiatives over the last few months, including a COVID-19 care center, distribution of food rations and an awareness campaign.
The Don Bosco primary and secondary school compound in the neighborhood of Perambur is being utilized as a COVID-19 care center. It has 75 beds, which all have access to oxygen. These facilities are coordinated by Dr. Mahesh, MBBS, with a team of eight doctors and 22 nurses. This center is serving poor patients who were living in the slums and diagnosed with COVID-19.
Many of the individuals at the care center have no other hope for medical care. Salesians have stepped in to fill gaps and support those most in need.
In addition, with businesses shut and shops closed, daily wage earners and migrant laborers are struggling to survive during the lockdown period. Their livelihoods have been severely affected by restrictions the government has put in place, and many battle hunger on a daily basis. To help ease the situation, Don Bosco Relief Services, in coordination with local Salesian communities, has distributed 1,085 dry ration kits to ensure these individuals have some access to nutrition.
One of the biggest challenges in India right now is that many people are not accessing vaccinations because of the misinformation that has been spread. Don Bosco Relief Services has launched an awareness campaign in 11 northern districts of Tamil Nadu. This campaign, which is working with the collaboration of 50 Salesian communities, has provided masks and flyers with important health information. To date, 33,500 flyers and 4,300 masks have been distributed.
“Salesian missionaries have expanded their efforts to reach those 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. “Whether it’s providing medical care or food rations or even helping to educate the public, Salesians have been working to help mitigate the impact of the virus for countless families across India.”
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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Salesian Missions – India
World Bank – India