With the lockdown in full effect and extended beyond May 3, 2020, parishes and organisations within the Archdiocese of Bombay continue to provide assistance and support to those in need.
During this time, unemployment and displacement of labourers and domestic workers has increased significantly. One of the worst affected vulnerable sections of society, the domestic workers, do not have legal protection, regulatory norms or social security.
The National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM) aid has benefitted more than 4500 domestic workers and their families, affected by the pandemic, in 16 states across India, through distribution of essentials, financial support, access to Government packages and is raising awareness on the importance of social distancing, personal hygiene etc.
Through collaborations with food banks, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and a number of voluntary organisations, the NDWM has assisted around 9000 workers.
Advocating on behalf of the labourers, the NDWM has made an appeal to the Chief Ministers, Labour Ministers and Commissioners to transfer direct cash to workers enrolled at the Welfare Board. NDWM has also contacted employers and requested to not cut salaries during the lockdown.
St Michael’s Church, Mahim, began distributing more than 250 food packets, prepared by the youth of the parish, every day to senior citizens, migrants and daily wage workers at 6 centres with the help of volunteers and Sisters from the Bethany Convent.
Our Lady of Mercy Church, Pokhran, in association with various Thane based organisations, has initiated a campaign through which daily wage workers, rag pickers, temporary sanitary workers and Adivasis are given cooked food and essentials. Along with 1500 ration family kits, about 3000 packets of cooked food have been distributed. Around 20 classrooms in the parish school have been offered to the doctors and nurses treating corona virus patients at Bethany Hospital, Pokhran.
Good Shepherd Church, Andheri West, formed a support team to volunteer at a relief camp for migrants being run in the locality. Rosary Church, Dockyard started a relief camp for foreign tourists stranded in the city. This was established in collaboration with the Home Guards.
In a latest development, a project launched by the Centre for Social Action (CSA) in collaboration with Mary of Nazareth Church in Alibaug, has provided essentials to over 500 beneficiary families.
The CSA has been collating the data of churches and religious institutes involved in outreach activities during this pandemic. The data collected highlights the involvement of 110 churches and institutions, out of which 82 are churches. A total of 67,000 households have benefitted from the relief work and around Rupees 3.5 crores has been spent. In Korlai, the parish has supplied 470 hampers of essentials, to over 235 beneficiary families, most of which fall in the low-income bracket.
Through mutual support and cooperation, we will continue to strive and ensure that all in need will receive the courage and strength to survive, with dignity, during this pandemic.