In India, the number one way most families get basic groceries and supplies is by making a daily trip to the nearest village market instead of a grocery store. That custom has been interrupted by the Coronavirus as it continues to limit accessibility to food and other vital supplies. The Indian government has put a lockdown order in place, keeping everyone from leaving their homes. Many people take home and live on daily wages so while they are unable to work, they aren’t earning their day-to-day income. As you can imagine, this situation has made feeding their families increasingly difficult for the people in India. In an effort to help, the government has collected food from stores and markets to then ration and deliver to families so they don’t have to leave their homes.
However, the individuals living in leprosy colonies can often end up on the bottom of those delivery lists. This means they face being last to receive whatever little food is left, or worse, there won’t be any food left at all and they will go hungry.
The leaders of Rising Star Outreach of India know that people affected by leprosy are all too often forgotten, so instead of idly waiting to watch history repeat itself, they decided to act, and act they did. Determined to lift the community through an additional trial, leaders put a plan into place to engage local resources and partner with government agencies to make sure people in the leprosy colonies receive food and medical supplies that will see them through the lockdown order.
Mrs. Padma Venkataraman, Rising Star Outreach of India Board Chairman, said the following about their planning meeting. “This afternoon’s session was full of positive energy…God be with us to make this dream come true and we will be able to feed so many people at this hour of great challenge.”
Relief packages were assembled and include items such as rice, dahl, wheat flour, lentil, cooking oil, salt, chili powder, masala, soap, and other essential supplies. These packages are expected to feed families for 1.5 to 2 weeks. These relief packages are being safely delivered to the homes of those in 41 Tamil Nadu colonies and 21 Bihar colonies. In the first phase of support, relief packages are expected to be in the hands of thousands of families, including those of our students.
Doctors have had to limit physical contact while observing social distancing and curfew. To ensure leprosy-affected patients are still receiving the treatment they need, wound-care kits and medications are also being safely distributed. Attached to each kit is a note from our National Medical Director with her personal phone number and instructions to call her with any questions, concerns, or needs.
A Rising Star Outreach of India employee made the comment that while it is still a time of uncertainty, the Rising Star Outreach of India team is continuing to care for the individuals and families that need support and are “giving them the mental courage” to press on.
We are blown away by the swift response of our Rising Star Outreach of India team! This was all made possible through their efforts and care for the people they devote their time to. The love they have for the leprosy-affected is profound and moves them to act on their belief that all life is equal and everyone deserves to live healthy, productive lives.