COVID-19 Situation in Tamil Nadu - Updates from India

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to have impacts around the world, we will try to bring you updates from our Indian partners as they come to us. Please see below for updates from SAF and the Rose Sisters as they continue their work in these difficult times. To read our COVID-19 statement and to make a donation to our COVID appeal, please click here

22nd February 2022 – The Rose Sisters report

A recent report from The Rose Sisters has detailed their ongoing work in the villages supporting people affected by COVID. From the report:
“Due to corona we were not able to work closely with the Tuition children and the children’s parliaments.  We have started to work with the disabled and women’s groups [in the villages]. We have arranged to receive their ration as soon as they go to the ration shop. We have made arrangements to get them [access to] 100 days permit work card with which they will receive salary for 100 days each day. They will get Rs. 280.”
The Rose Sisters have been working closely with the women’s groups and disabled people’s groups to get access to government support:
Camp for the disabled people was conducted by the government at different places in Pudupalayam, Chengam and Thandrapet at Thaluk Office for the purpose of informing the availability of jobs at different places and to solve the problems in receiving the monthly government payment. Loan Rs. 250000 was given by the government without interest for four groups. Two groups in Allathur and Oravadhavadi received Rs. 10000 from the government to encourage them, they need not pay back. In order to help the women’s group we taught classes on how to make soap, hand wash, and to prepare medicine from aloe vera. 10 women groups participated.”

7th December – Enfants de Kanji report

All national celebrations in India were closed for a time, including Diwali – this will have been a really sad loss as it’s probably the favourite Hindu festival of the year. 
St Antony’s opened on 8th November with certain restrictions (spacing/masks) put into place in accordance with national requirements. Then, with the rain and floods, it closed again, further disrupting education. The pandemic and appalling weather has made the price of basic foodstuffs and materials rocket.
Due to the disruption caused by the lockdowns, the number of pupils likely to return to SA has dropped by about 300 pupils (now 1300 rather than 1,600). Money coming in from school fees has dropped by about 50%. 
The number of girls at Shanthi Lumin, which was also temporarily closed due to COVID restrictions, has now risen back to 16, with more expected to return in the coming weeks. 

12 November – Lourdusamy, St Antony’s Foundlings

More students are beginning to return to school now. There are still some cases around Kanji but schools are slowly reopening. 

3 September – Lourdusamy, St Antony’s Foundlings

The school has reopened for 9th and 10th standard on 1st of September. We have 120 students in 10th standard and 95 students in 9th standard this year. We follow all the usual hygenic proceedures as per the government guidelines in the school. The students sit at the end of the each side of the desk. We have divided the classes in to 8 sections. The teachers and students are strictly advised to wear masks at all time in the school. We are currently working Monday to Saturday. The other lower class students are attending the WhatsApp lessons but only less than 60% of students attend them. 

Maria told me that seven girls from 9th and 10th standard have returned to Shanthi Lumin yesterday as the school reopened for them as well. She has made all the arrangements for them . The girls were happy to return to Shanthi Lumin. Al the staff and students are keeping well and safe. 

13 August – Sister Oswald, Rose Sisters

From the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the teachers of Sunshine School visit the homes of the students and talk to the children and to the parents twice a week. They also revise the lessons already they have learned in the regular classes. They also make them to write and reside the rhymes they learned. We have invited them to our campus four times from the start of Covid-19 up to now. And distributed the help we received from you by giving them all grocery; lastly we have given them groceries, and toiletries this month with a lunch bag.
We bring them to our place by arranging a vehicle or auto. Each time they come to our place they spend a full day with us, we arrange some programs, such as games and exercises. We speak to the children and to the parents. We provide snacks, coffee and food to the children, parents and to all the workers.

10 August – Lourdusamy, St Antony’s Foundlings

The government has announced that the school will be reopened for 9th and 10th standard from 1st of September 2021. The government might change the decision if the Covid-19 cases increases in Tamilnadu. We will try to send you some new children’s details next week just in case you need them urgently. I am glad to tell you that it doesn’t look like anyone is having Covid -19 variant around Kanji area. We still continue taking online classes for 9th and 10th students and upload video lessons in WhatsApp for other classes. All of them are not able to utilize this facility due to network problem or most of them are not having the android phone.

4 June 2021 – Sister Oswald, The Rose Sisters

Here in India the condition is very bad, and in Tamil Nadu the numbers of Covid cases are high. At this juncture we had an election in Tamil Nadu. The Government has changed, and the new Party’s chief minister M.K. Stalin is doing very well in this pandemic situation. He has introduced many welfare programs for the wellbeing of the people, we are happy about his government. Gradually the infection is getting reduced. We hope that the rate of infection will soon come down.
We are under lock down and it may be continued for a few more weeks. Our Sunshine school children are safe and fine. We communicated with them over phone and motivated their parents to take the vaccine; the parents of the Sunshine School are vaccinated; but many of the children have still not yet been given a vaccine, as there is scarcity of availability. Our chief minister is trying to buy more vaccines and even planning to produce vaccines in Tamil Nadu itself.
Nine of the differently abled people died due to coronavirus infection, and another nine parents of our tuition children and children’s parliament died. We are raising awareness to the children and the people to wear masks, to keep social distance and to take vaccination over phone and direct them not to allow the children to join with other children to play. We also tell them not to attend any functions such as marriage, death and other family gatherings.

23 May 2021 – Maria, St Antony’s Foundlings

At the moment it is terrible what is going on in India with COVID variant. Some of our relatives have died and everyday one or two persons from every village are dying. One of our Ayah’s husband has passed away because of COVID. People are frightened. The government has announced full lockdown for next week. We do not know what is going to happen. We hope and pray that the situation will get better soon. Please take care and keep safe.

31 March 2021 – Maria, St Antony’s Foundlings

Covid 19 is bad here and is killing lot of people. One of  my relations, a nice man, died 5 days ago and none us were allowed near the body. He was a district collector, an important post, but no one can see him after his death. I am busy cleaning homes and gardens now, and so I can’t visit our children from Shanthi Lumin. Covid has affected the world, when will be free from this? Hopefully soon.

9 September 2020 – Lourdusamy, St Antony’s Foundlings

The COVID situation isn’t great and many people are going down with the virus and some, usually those with underlying medical problems, are dying. One local government teacher has died. The villagers seem to struggle with abiding by safety instructions and make little attempt to distance themselves – life has gone back to normal and people continue to become infected. There is an attitude of what will be will be. More people are returning to work, some back to the cities, but most to local work in the fields and in local businesses. A huge, new mobile company is opening near Chennai, and the school will be used as a base for recruitment. This as a way of helping his community – work means payment, and payment means food. There are still a lot of sick people and people with disabilities who need food, and SAF will continue to provide this where possible.