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JOINING HANDS WITH PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL TO ALLIVIATE HUNGER
Initiative and Response of RNDM India South Province
The world is in the grip of COVID -19. It is the greatest pandemic the world has ever seen. We, together with the rest of the world, have been overtaken and almost overwhelmed by the unexpected and the unforeseen. COVID -19 has laid siege and the whole humanity is struggling in pain and suffering. We pray unceasingly that God may send healing to the humanity. We pray for all our sisters across the congregation, for our families, and all those who are under our care.
The prolonged lock down in the country has extended the sufferings of the people. The worst hit by this disaster is our poor brothers and sisters. We are well aware of the sufferings of the stranded migrant labours and slum dwellers in our country. Our missionary call is to respond to the realities of the world around us.
In this situation the sisters in the province were invited to discuss and discern about this human tragedy, and find ways to respond to alleviate the sufferings of the people. To do something as individuals, as a community or join other peoples of good will- the NGOs, other religious congregations and diocese. All were to find some ways to walk with the suffering brothers and sisters in some concrete ways. It is heartening to note that most of the communities send their contributions towards feeding the hungry in Almel mission.
The RNDM Sisters at Nirmalalaya Community, Almel, Bijapur District of North Karnataka reached out to number of families, in and around Almel. They collaborated with the NGOs, Government officials and Jesuits to provide the necessary provisions for the most neglected, poor and needy families. These families lack proper shelter and food. Most of these families are daily wage labourers, families without permanent jobs and differently abled persons. There were also widows and senior citizens who have no means to have a meal a day.
The RNDM Sisters at Mariam Nilaya Community, Bangalore woke up each day of the lockdown hearing the cries of the poor and needy pleading for food to relieve their hunger. The sisters offered from what they have each day. To their alarm the number of those who come for help increased each day. They offered around 150 food packets with food grains and groceries to the poor families in the neighbourhood. It was the dire need to do something more. The sisters prayed every day that God will provide what is needed for those who are stricken with poverty. God send the Jesuit fathers who agreed to give us the needed provision to share with our people. The sisters were able to procure 600 hundred provision kits from the Jesuits’ educational institutions in the city. These provision kits were distributed to deserving families with help of the teachers and youth at different days.
When the food kits got over and the people were still crowding around at our gate, crying out for something to eat, I prayed earnestly: Jesus lord, now you have to multiply the food kits…(recalling the gospel of the day). Then I called up the priest in charge for more bags of grain and he sent more provision to be distributed. I feel that Jesus heard my prayer and He is with us when we are the poor and hungry. The people who received the help are construction workers, migrants, slum dwellers, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, widows, pregnant women and daily wage earners.
We thank God for opening our hearts and minds to the sufferings of the humanity. We thank all our collaborators, the Jesuits, NGOs and volunteers for joining hands with us to reach out to the most deserving section of the Society in this time of crisis. We hope to continue the relief work with the support of Misean Cara, Ireland.
Sr. Vinita Kurian, RNDM