In India, Asia-CMS recently worked with an organisation called Sahayak to get food to 100 migrant labourer families – and the community’s children helped lead this effort.
When the prime minister first announced a sudden, total lockdown due to coronavirus, many migrant workers in Haryana-Delhi panicked; with no chance for income locally, some felt they had no choice but to return (on foot) to their distant home villages. Hearing there was no cure for the coronavirus added to the alarm and ensuing chaos.
Sahayak works mainly with migrant labourer children and women as they are often the most in need. Asia-CMS’s offer to partner in food distribution came at just the right time, as food was becoming scarce and families had nowhere to turn.
“The Sahayak kids were instrumental in identifying and helping struggling families come one by one to our centre to pick up food packets,” Sharon from Sahayak reported. The team distributed food parcels in three phases to avoid crowds gathering and risking possible contamination. The care packages consisted of flour, rice, lentils, cooking oil, salt and antiseptic soap. Sharon said, “It was heart-warming to see everyone coming together as a team to reach out and help.”
One mother shared how she, along with her three kids, had walked for days to reach the Uttar Pradesh border only to be forced to turn back. She was worried about how to provide for her children. When one of the Sahayak boys told her about the food packages, she felt her prayers were answered.
Commenting on the need for continued relief, Sharon said, “We have heard that government relief is not reaching all those in need; sadly, people are informed of the availability of food distribution but when they reach the designated centres, they are told the stock is finished.”
Sahayak hopes to continue to keep providing food, “a basic right” as Sharon says, for people as lockdown was extended. “These are dire times and we are doing all we can to help families of daily-wage labourers. May God bless Asia-CMS and all who gave in this time of global despair.”
More than 1,500 households across 10 countries in Asia – “people living in fear, displaced, hungry and hopeless” – have received food and other emergency relief items, thanks to generous supporters and Asia-CMS staff’s determination to move quickly to provide for the most vulnerable communities.
Suzane from Asia-CMS said, “[People’s] prayers and support have helped us walk alongside our partners who had the opportunity to be the face of Jesus to so many who don’t know him.”
This story is published by kind permission of Asia-CMS.