The latest Covid-19 outbreak in India is severe. The government issued abrupt orders for schools to close and homes such as ours to send younger children back to their relatives. Overnight the children were “promoted” to the next grade (which usually happens in May) and had to pack up their belongings. We had a tearful last lunch together before families arrived to pick up some children and others left on transportation we arranged. Our students in 9th grade, junior college and college can remain with us to prepare for year end exams.
The Families will struggle to provide for the children
Many families live in difficult conditions such as city slums or rural huts. Most have no running water, and carry drinking/cooking water from nearby community wells. Many have no electricity. In most cases the parents or guardians are daily wage laborers, and are out of work due to the virus outbreak. These families were struggling before the virus and now many are desperate. Our children will spend their days doing what they can to help their family and neighbors, carrying water, helping with cooking, tending animals, or watching younger children. A few families have televisions so kids in those homes will watch a lot of TV. May is our hottest month in India, when the children usually have summer break. We will miss them terribly and keep in touch often by phone until they return home.
Vaccines are Scarce
Those who can get vaccines are taking them, but the vaccines are scarce. Many Indians have trouble getting to vaccination sites and it will be some time until most can get them. Medical care varies, most hospitals are crowded and medical resources stretched thin. Very little oxygen is available to help those with breathing difficulties. Much needed aid coming from foreign countries such as the US and Great Britain will help us tremendously and we’re very grateful. Transportation within India continues to be available locally, although some states are shutting it down.
College exams to proceed
Many states have cancelled their junior college exams but our state – Andhra Pradesh still plans to conduct exams as scheduled, May 5th – May 18th. Our students have mixed feelings about this. Having exams will help them with their future prospects if they can achieve a high score, as opposed to directly getting passed without exams. They are at the same time worried about the safety due to the heavy spike in cases all around. We’re supporting their study here at our home as the colleges are now closed.
Were doing all we can, but we need your help
Our oldest children are all safe here on our campus and are happy to be staying here. We are sending food and support as we can to the younger children back with their families. We hope they can return to us soon. Help us with our efforts by contributing to our COVID-19 Fund. Please keep us, our children and their families in your thoughts and prayers.