05/14/2020, 14.59
INDIA
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Coronavirus and poverty: widows helped, grateful to Our Lady

by Purushottam Nayak

A hundred widows in Raikia, Kandhamal (Odisha) received gift parcels with rice, potatoes, onions, sugar, biscuits, a litre of oil, five pieces of soap, and surgical masks. Due to the lockdown, hundreds of millions have lost their jobs and livelihood.

 

Raikia (AsiaNews) – About a hundred widows in Kandhamal expressed their gratitude to a group of Christians, both Catholics and Protestants, who provided them with help. They also thanked our Lady of Fatima whose feast day was celebrated yesterday.

“I am grateful to Our Lady of Fatima,” said one of the widows, Magdelan Pradhan, “because thanks to her I received some help during the lockdown to stop the pandemic".

On 24 March, the Indian government issued a strict lockdown order that blocked all business and manufacturing activities and banned travel.

Across the country, hundreds of millions of day labourers found themselves out of work, with no money or food. Widows are one of the most affected groups, as they tend to be shunned in their predominantly Hindu environment.

Many of the widows are Catholic. Magdelan Pradhan is one of them. “Although we are not able to go to church for Mass and religious services, we have a special prayer for Our Lady of Fatima at home,” she said. “She is ready to extend her assistance to fight COVID-19,” she added.

Each of the widows received a parcel containing rice, potatoes, onions, sugar, biscuits, a litre of oil, five pieces of soap, some surgical masks. Fr Pradosh Chandra Nayak, parish priest in Raikia, and some parishioners handed out the aid.

Duston Joseph, a Protestant businessman from Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu), also made a donation out of “concern for the poor, the needy, migrants and all those who are helpless because of the novel coronavirus”.

For Willsion Daniel, also from Tamil Nadu, “We are called to serve the poor and the deprived with a kind heart and mind.”

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