Update from the Jesuits working in Assam
India is one of the countries worst affected by Covid-19 in the world, with almost 400,000 confirmed cases. Jesuit Missions is supporting the Jesuits working in different regions. Fr Thomas SJ, the Director of Gana Chetana Samaj (People’s Awareness Society) in Assam, recently shared an update on their work.
The Jesuits of the Ranchi Province have been distributing food and promoting awareness of Covid-19. They are working among the most vulnerable population of Assam, totalling almost 14,000 people. These include families of daily wage earners and tea garden workers who have not had an income since lockdown started on March 24th. Many of Assam’s tea gardens have been in a declining state for decades. What was once an economic mainstay of the region is rapidly disappearing, exacerbated by the impact of Coronavirus on India’s economy. For example, Singri Tea Estate was one of Assam’s main tea gardens and home to 800 families. However, now it can only provide enough work for 2-3 days a week and is about to close.
The Jesuits are also carrying out relief work among the Adivasi in villages in forest areas. The Adivasi are a non-scheduled tribe which are often discriminated against in India. One of the reasons they do not receive any government relief is because the land they live on is owned by the government. As a result, they are viewed as illegal settlers.
These works are ongoing in tea gardens and forest villages in Assam. As we continue to support our partners, we ask you to keep them in your prayers.
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