On March 24, 2020, the 1.3 billion people of India were placed under a sudden and complete lockdown. In the chaos that prevailed, a large number of poor, migrant workers walked back to their villages to evade starvation. Some trekked over a thousand kilometers. Those who were healthy had a chance of making it back, others were not so fortunate. A twelve-year-old girl, an only child, embarked on a 150-kilometer trek to her village with her parents, but an hour before they reached their village, the child died due to hunger and fatigue.
According to the World Bank standards, 60% of India’s population, about 812 million people, live in abject poverty. According to UN estimates, another 104 million people in India will fall below the poverty line because of the lockdown. Across India, 34% of households report being able to survive for no more than next ten days without temporary assistance.
After six weeks of quarantine, Savan, a tribal villager, said, “Our crops in the village could not be harvested, and my children will starve soon.” Countless poor in both urban and rural settings are suffering from hunger and facing starvation. We, at Compelled (IET), have an opportunity and a call to provide a lifeline of survival, enabling those most in need to slowly start to stand back on their feet.
Compelled’s (IET) 3,124 missionaries serve in the nations of India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Despite facing financial and personal challenges during the lockdown, Compelled (IET) missionaries are reaching out to their neighbors
in their villages. Ramana, a Compelled (IET) leader remarked, “We are eating two meals a day, yet we share our limited groceries with several in the village.”
Believers walk to visit suffering neighbors, often sharing their meals and praying for them, while maintaining physical distancing. Singh, a member of a Compelled (IET) congregation, said, “The villagers see our faith in Jesus and also our genuine concern for them. There has not been a family in my village that did not request us for prayer.”
FOOD BAG INITIATIVE
As the Indian government slowly lifts lockdown restrictions over the next few weeks, there is an urgent need to serve the largenumber of adults and children who are facing hunger and starvation. The government has contacted us to help feed the hungry during these few critical weeks. Compelled (IET) has provided food kits and helped with groceries to more than 3000 families. We have, also, through our missionaries identified over 100,000 families in need right now, and our goal is, if God provides the required financial resources, to provide each with a food bag that will enable a family of two adults and two children to survive the next few weeks. A kit will contain rice, lentils or beans, salt, oil, tea powder, sugar, and wheat flour. A food kit that will last a family of four for about ten days will cost about $9 while a food kit that will last a family of four for about a month will cost about $30. To donate go to www.wearecompelled.com
India’s hunger statistics is one of the poorest in the world. It is ranked 102 out of 117 countries in the Global Hunger Index, worse than Pakistan and Bangladesh. More than 6 million children (0-4 years) are categorized by UNICEF in the ‘severe wasting’ category. The corona virus has made things worse for these and added several hundred million to those facing severe hunger and staring at starvation.
These families need temporary support so that they can survive during these first few weeks until they are able to harvest their
remaining crops or find a job. Our missionaries will have a special opportunity to share the gospel both in word and deed by delivering these kits. Will you prayerfully consider helping at least one family with a food bag of $9 or $30.