poverty in India, Christian Aid Ministries
Akhil, who is blind, and his mother and siblings are grateful to know they will soon receive a food parcel.

Coronavirus crisis deepens poverty in India

India has known poverty for decades. Over the years, a large percentage of the population lacked proper shelter and water. Their income of $1–$2 per day was used to buy food or other essentials to survive. Then suddenly the coronavirus pandemic reached the country, bringing with it a severe lockdown. The effects will likely deepen poverty in India for years.

The disrupted economy concerns many Indians, but right now their biggest burden is to feed themselves and their families. No jobs often equal no food for many people in India. Among these suffering people are some of our brothers and sisters in Christ. One of our contacts in India wrote, “The families of Christian workers particularly in small towns and villages . . . need our urgent support. Many do not have any food as we write this.”

Results of sudden quarantine

The complete lockdown in India came suddenly on March 25 and is still in effect. Many people had no time to prepare. Fathers were stranded away from home and their families had little means to survive. Since jobs in rural areas of India are scarce, many fathers travel a great distance for work. When the quarantine was announced, they had no time to return to their families or send money to them. Our contact shared, “Many migrant and labor workers were stranded far from their families with no transportation . . . Many of these laborers have walked hundreds of miles trying to return to their families.”

Even fathers who were at home when the quarantine was enforced couldn’t do much more to care for the physical needs of their families. They depend on daily labor to provide for the basic needs of their loved ones. “These families are forced to scrounge up anything possible to eat,” our contact shared.

Christian Aid Ministries’ response

Christian Aid Ministries is working with trusted contacts in India to purchase food for distribution. Our contacts are working towards purchasing food for 1,800 food parcels. Each parcel will contain enough items to feed a family for one month.

One family eagerly waiting for a food parcel has no father to care for them since he is in prison. Before the pandemic, the mother had a cleaning job and her 16-year-old son Akhil* begged on the streets. Akhil, who is blind, was led by one of his younger siblings to local markets each day to beg. Now since this mother and son can’t leave their home, they have no income to buy food for their family.

Our contacts plan to give a food parcel to Akhil and his family as soon as they are able. They plan to deliver the rest of the food parcels to other needy families in the country as poverty in India deepens. Their goal is to work with local pastors and church members to follow up with recipients. They hope to encourage believers and share the redemptive love of Jesus with those who don’t know Him.

*Name changed to protect identity.

Christian Aid Ministries is currently assisting people in 27 countries who are affected by the coronavirus pandemic. As funds allow, we plan to expand to help meet more requests we’ve received.