The COVID 19 pandemic has reached India and has begun to take its toll. The nation-wide lock-down to slow down the spread of the disease is a necessity. However, it hits everyone’s income and is a massive blow to the daily-wage and migrant labourers who have no safety net.
BREADS, the planning and development office of the Salesian Province of Bangalore, has been tracking the situation and in consultation with worldwide Don Bosco Mission offices, the PDO Network in South Asia, and the Province leadership, has begun its first round of interventions. Since this situation requires strict compliance with public health norms, BREADS will operate with relevant permissions from the local authorities.
BREADS is promoting through all the Don Bosco tailoring units, the production of protective face masks for either free or subsidised distribution to the poorer sections of society, hospitals etc. BREADS will bear the shortfall in the cost of the masks. Another important initiative during the lock-down is the provision of food kits to families in need by each Don Bosco institution in the province. The past pupils and co-operators will be part of this mission. Similar food kits will additionally be provided to migrant labourer families identified by each of the 12 Migrant Help Desks in Kerala.
Proposing to reach out in other important ways, BREADS through its partner institutions is initiating online/tele-counselling, spiritual support, medical advice with qualified volunteers. In addition, Don Bosco institutions are encouraged to develop healthy online activities such as quizzes, games etc. to help parents engage their children within their homes. BREADS is encouraging interested people to volunteer with the Kerala and Karnataka governments to help spread awareness through online apps.
This is an unprecedented situation in the world and in India. Therefore, BREADS offers its support to local Don Bosco institutions in any contextualised response that needs to be taken. It also commits along with the rest of the Don Bosco institutions in the province, to follow safe behaviours in all aspects of community and professional life.
With the Salesian Province of Bangalore, BREADS offers its available resources to the fight against COVID-19. To paraphrase Charles Dickens: this is the best of times, this is the worst of times. May we be the best we can.
Fr. Joy Nedumparambil SDB
Executive Director – BREADS Bangalore
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