MTM and its director Pastor Raymond Burkholder is a frequent visitor to our ministry in Himachal Pradesh India since 2008. Our long-term partnership in Kingdom building has brought an everlasting bond in taking the whole gospel to the ends of the world. Over the years MTM teams have trained thousands of Church planters in India to engage in God’s harvest. When the Covid-19 pandemic began, MTM helped us connect with CAM (Christian Aid Ministries) to support hundreds of people suffering in North India. We are eternally grateful to MTM and CAM for their partnership in times of national crises and disaster. Because of your partnership and help we were able to extend our support to the needy people in India.

The COVID-19 pandemic and global lockdown represent an unprecedented challenge for humanity. Lockdown is having an immediate impact on the world economy, which varies dramatically across sectors and regions. Many sectors have nearly stopped operating, and others are facing shortage of skilled workers. The impact of confinement is bound to be most severe for vulnerable workers, especially poor, informal-sector workers, hampering daily earnings and no savings, raising concerns for their survival. As it is said that more people would die of hunger than Covid pandemic. Disruption of the routine, social isolation and the pandemic itself is undoubtedly taking a toll on the well-being and mental health of people. In some contexts, there are an emergence of health hazards, and increase in exposure to and experiences of violence, particularly impacting women. So far India has reported 9.4 million cases and 137,185 deaths. On a daily basis 38,772 fresh infections reported in India. As the country is seeing a surge in positive cases of Covid-19 and the Coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the population, Berachah Church along with MTM and CAM have prominently made some realistic relief efforts to support as many vulnerable people as possible through effective mechanisms and processes in place.

Target Groups & States

Uttarakhand State During the time of distress and crisis, the marginalized section of the society is most vulnerable to lockdowns with the deteriorating socio-economic situation. Caritas India discerning the emergency situation prioritizing the support to the most vulnerable groups particularly children, women, elderly people, indigenous people, Dalits, people with disabilities, migrants, and labourers. Our relief work was targeted towards the people who are residing in the state of Uttarakhand.

Major Actions Dry ration and Ready to Eat Food In the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Berachah Church in partnership with CAM & MTM has distributed dry rations to the underprivileged. The distribution has been done across the needy area of targeted groups in Uttarakhand and social distancing and hygiene norms are being adhered to while delivering the food to needy people.  The pandemic affects poor people the most, those who live in crowded areas and lack basic hygiene knowledge, they are the most susceptible to diseases like COVID-19. Our distribution of hygiene kits that included face mask, sanitizers, and alcohol-based soap, sufficient for 1 family of 5 members. We were able to reach more than 2500 families. 

Testimonies from the field

1.     Rama Devi is a sanitation worker working in Uttarakhand. As a frontline soldier against COVID-19, she is dedicated to her work. More than fearing for her own safety while carrying out her duties amid the deadly virus outbreak, Shivani was concerned about exposing her young child and family to coronavirus. She personally took all the precautionary measures when she reached home after work but dreaded for her family’s safety in the absence of adequate protective gear. Now, with the Personal Protection Kit provided by us, Rama Devi feels more protected and safer as far as her family members are concerned.

2.     Mechalchauri village under Chamoli District, Uttarakhand has a total number of 108 migrant families. After the Covid-19 pandemic, we came forward to support the residents of this village sail through the crisis. With support of our request, the government authorities conducted health checkups for the migrant laborers who had returned from various urban areas and put them on home quarantine. To maintain social distancing, circles were made near all public places or drinking water sources. After the supply of food to these migrant workers, they joined as volunteers along with us for distribution of mask and hand sanitizers to other parts of city along with our Bible college students.         

The emotional and spiritual Impact of Covid-19 on children and elderly are growing due to 4 months of nationwide lockdown. We found faith and spiritual nourishment as key factors for the protection and resilience.  We were able to set up a counselling center at two places where Institutional Quarantine centers in Himachaland able to give counselling to people. This is helping us to connect with and share the message of hope with the people.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Sam Abraham, director of HBCS (Himalayan Bible College and Seminary).

A very special thank you to all who support this ministry in prayer and financially.