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Andhra Jesuits respond to COVID-19 crisis

  • 1 May 2020

The Jesuits of Andhra Province are responding to the COVID-19 crisis, supported by Jesuit Missions. Working in the southeastern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the Jesuits have plunged into action providing aid. They are feeding people by establishing community kitchens. The group are distributing food packages, and providing dry rations in remote villages in the forest. In addition, the community offer counselling, as well as collaborating with other non-profit organisations.

The Andhra Jesuits are mainly working among the interior tribal villages in three different zones: Katukapally, Seethampeta and Vinukonda. Families living in Katukapally are denied all entitlements from the government, including rations. This is because they are labelled as illegal migrants from the neighbouring state Chhattisgarh. In total, the Jesuits are working in 12 parishes, in 95 villages. They are having a positive impact on the lives of about 4,500 families. Their main beneficiaries are daily wage labourers, and most of them do not have land.

Fr Elango SJ is looking ahead to post-COVID19 India and how the Jesuits will continue to provide support. He says, “The landless will be the worst affected, most of whom are Catholic. Hence we have a plan of action. We will provide relief and rehabilitation for these dalits and tribals who have minimum access to government entitlements. Our community needs to accompany them in every possible way in terms of dry rations, educational needs of children, support for disabled and old. This includes care for the vulnerable women and girls. By helping the small farmers to prepare their land ready for plantation, we will eventually pave the way for their economic and other activities in the villages.”

Adapted from an update by Fr Elango SJ, Andhra Province Development Director.

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