For the past several weeks, we have watched, along with the rest of the world, as the COVID crisis wreaks a heavy and horrifying toll on India. We have worked in India for over 30 years and have many dear friends there, along with our own family connections. Our partners are responding to the crisis as best they can, even as staff and their family members fall ill or die. In addition to the human toll, partners report that prices of essential goods are skyrocketing—an oxygen cylinder that was $10 US before the crisis is now $1,000. COVID vaccines have gone from 3 rupees to 1,500 rupees in an area where a ‘good’ salary is 10,000 rupees a year.
At a recent meeting, the Board for Vista Hermosa Foundation approved over $500,000 in immediate relief for our partners in India. These funds, although a drop in the proverbial bucket, will support five organizations.
GRAVIS (Gramin Vikas Vigyan Samiti) works in the desert regions of northwest India for the collective rise of men, women, and children, regardless of economic state, age, caste or religion. Funds will support 200,000 families in the Thar desert with one-time cash grants, food kits, and oxygen concentrators, cylinders and PPE.
Headfirst Development’s Calcutta Mercy Hospital is a 173 bed full-service facility that serves approximately 100,000 patients per year, 40% of whom receive care free of charge. Funds will support the ongoing staff and operations costs of the hospital as they endeavor to make more space available for a long waiting list of COVID patients.
Nomi Network works to end modern slavery and empower women and adolescent girls through creating pathways to safe employment and economic stability. Funds will reactivate Community Outreach Teams (trained with VHF funds last year) to focus on community hygiene and vaccinations. In addition, Nomi will provide health supplements, medical support, and food relief for staff and trainees throughout Bihar, Odisha, and West Bengal states.
Opportunity International is a global microfinance organization that provides training to people living in poverty so that they can break the cycle of poverty and transform their lives. Funding will provide client access to ‘last-mile’ health delivery and emergency relief services, including distribution of food rations, mobilizing community health workers, providing ambulance dispatch, telehealth and psychosocial support, vaccination camps, and awareness messaging.
World Vision is an international Christian humanitarian organization that partners with children, families, and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty. Funding will focus on strengthening health systems in the most vulnerable communities by providing oxygen concentrators, cots and beds, 200 tents to use as ad-hoc health facilities, and psycho-social support.
We are keeping everyone in India in our prayers during our daily chapel time, and we invite you to do the same. Please reach out to us if you would like to know more about the work of these organization and how to get involved.