- Written by Dr. Thomas Cherukat
Dear Friends of Fransalians,
Once again it is Christmas time. The New Year 2022 is at our doorsteps. It is indeed a joyous season. Unfortunately it is also the pandemic time. Covid 19 continues to inflict much suffering to the whole of humanity. The good news is that the virulence of the virus has diminished considerably in recent months especially in India. The number of Corona infections in the country are on a steady decline since the past two months. Most of the restrictions on movements in public places have been relaxed. After almost 18 months the schools and colleges are opened and functioning almost normally as in the pre-covid times. The vaccination drive has picked up momentum. The country has crossed the landmark of vaccinating the single dose to more than a billion of the eligible population. The drive is now in full swing to cover the remaining unvaccinated population. Over 80 % of all the eligible adults have received the first dose whereas only 38 % have been fully vaccinated. The Delta variant of the virus has not disappeared. India continues to register a sizable number of daily infections though there is an overall downward trend. But it is the severe economic woes caused by the pandemic especially to the poorest of the poor that continues to be a great concern for the entire country.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of you for your timely support towards the Covid Care Relief Works undertaken by the Fransalians in India. Many of you have responded generously to my appeal for donations. I am happy to inform you that a little more than a sum of Euro 10.000 has been collected from individual donors belonging to our Agape Friends. Thank you very much to each one of you for your generosity and timely response. With your help we have been able to reach out to hundreds of poor people who suffered most under the pandemic.
Covid Care by Vikasjyothi
Two years of continuous disruption of normal life caused by the pandemic has brought untold sufferings to the most vulnerable sections of society in India. Vikasjyothi, the Mission Procure or the Mission Development Office of the Fransalians in the South-West Province has initiated a number of relief works with urgent financial help to the poorest of the poor. Networking with 20 major mission centres in the South Indian State of Karnataka, Vikasjyothi has been able to reach out to a large number of poor people in the remotest areas under our mission centres. Identifying the most deserving people and providing them with the basic requirements was the main thrust of the relief works. Most beneficiaries received the much needed financial help through cash transfers to their individual bank accounts. Food kits and Medical kits were also distributed to the poor at several Fransalian Centres across Karnataka. Ambulance services and emergency facilities were made available at some of the Fransalian schools.
As an immediate response to the tragic consequences of the prolonged lockdown and the health care emergency that arose during the second wave of the Delta variant, Vikasjyothi initiated the program of “Emergency Livelihood Support” to the many poor families affected by the loss of jobs or with serious illnesses. More than Euro 12.000/- was disbursed to the poor for their immediate sustenance.
Help the Homeless
Most of the poor families of labourers who earn their livelihood from daily wages found themselves unable to pay their house rents facing imminent threat of eviction. Vikasjyothi was able to help many such families to pay their house rent dues and secure their modest shelters.
Medical Aid to the Poor
Vast majority of the poor families in India do not have any health insurance cover. The Covid-19 onslaught with its full fury followed by job loss and deprivation made many families suffer from unexpected serious illnesses besides the widespread corona infections. Vikasjyothi was able to help many such families with financial support to pay their medical bills on an emergency basis.
Scholarship for Primary Education
The ongoing programme of “sponsor a child in need” has been a boon to the many families suffering from the economic drain caused by the pandemic. Vikasjyothi has been able to increase the number of scholarships besides enhancing the amounts granted to each child. More than 500 children are supported by this program in India besides the 200 children sponsored from our Chad-Cameroon Mission.
Help for Higher Education
Considering the large number of young people hailing from the poorest families pursuing higher education, Vikasjyothi has been able to provide scholarship to more than 100 youth. It is very gratifying to note that the girls outnumber the boys in pursuing higher education from such poor families. If funds are available we propose to help more such girl-students coming from the lowest strata of society.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A BRIGHT NEW YEAR
My dear Friends, with a grateful heart I wish to greet you all with the joy and peace of Christmas. It is the second Christmas that we celebrate in the shadow of the ever persisting pandemic with all its destructive manifestations. We can only wish and pray that the New Year 2022 may be the dawn of a new beginning for all of us. I wish each one of you a Very Happy Christmas and a Bright New Year 2022. May the Blessings of the Babe of Bethlehem fill our hearts and homes with hope, joy and contentment despite the ongoing scourge of the pandemic and all its attendant fear, anxiety, uncertainty and distress. God Bless.
Pater Thomas Cherukat, MSFS
Greetings from Chad-Cameroon
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Christmas is a feast of joy and expectation. I wish that all of you experience the joy and happiness of Christmas even as we are in the midst of so many adverse situations such as the ongoing pandemic. I wish you and all your near and dear ones a Very Happy Christmas and a Bright and prosperous New Year 2022. Many of you have contributed in very many ways for the growth of our Chad Cameroon Mission. We have been able to accomplish many of our projects and programs because of your kindness, generosity and prayers. You have brought joy and happiness to the lives of many. A big thank you to one and all.
Five Fransalian Schools
The Fransalians in Chad Cameroon are managing 5 schools. They are a beacon of hope for hundreds of children and a symbol of dedicated service to the poorest of the poor. All these schools are run with the help of donations from far and wide. As the people are very poor the school is taking only a nominal fee from the children. More than 2000 children are given quality education and value formation through these schools. We are grateful to all of you for your constant support and encouragement.
Our two Boys’ Homes at Bero and Gaki in Chad are catering to 109 boys from the economically backward families. Most of them are from the remote villages where there are no schools. All these children are attending the Fransalian Schools. There is a great demand for admission to our Boys’ Homes. Due to lack of sufficient infrastructure, personnel and finance we are able to accept only one third of the requests. We do have plans for opening such Homes for Girls too. We are looking for Congregations of Women religious to establish and run such Girls’ Homes. At present we have a large number girl children studying in all our schools.
Sponsor a Child Program
I am very happy to acknowledge the contribution we receive every year from the Agape Friends in Germany and elsewhere towards the ongoing sponsorship program managed by Vikasjyothi in Mysore. I am very happy to state that more than 200 children in Chad and Cameroon are being helped by this program. A big thank you to all our sponsors and to Vikasjyothi for their generosity and kindness to the poor. Your help brings joy and hope to the many families who are not able to meet the educational needs of their children.
I am very happy to acknowledge the contributions we receive every year from the Agape Friends towards the Drinking Water Project in our villages. We are very happy that we have been able to provide clean and safe drinking water to hundreds of families. More than 40 open wells have been dug with adequate retention walls to safeguard the clean water from external contamination. We are gratetul to Agape and Vikasjyoti for their constant support and collaboration for this project.
The Fransalian Mission in Chad consists of two very large parishes of Doba and Bero comprising 75 villages. A number of developmental and charitable activities such as formation of self-help groups, programs for health-related activities like conscientization and prevention of diseases etc are conducted regularly in all our centres. People are also taught to exercise Christian charity by encouraging them to reach out to the needy even when they are themselves very poor.
Dear Friends, I thank you for all what you are for our Chad Cameroon Mission. May this Christmas bring you joy and peace. May the New Year 2022 be an year of grace for all of you.
Fr.Manoj Xavier Arackal