India April 2020

Curfew in and around our town Tiruvannamalai and the villages

We hope you are fine at home during these auspicious times, where most of the world populationis curfewed more or less in order to fight the Corona-virus. In gratefulness to many people, who do services relentlessly in supermarkets, transporting food in lorries, hospitals, pharmacies, police, garbage collection and many more we in our countries are still supplied with all important necessities, which make our life comfortable. The situation in Tiruvannamalai/ South India, where our project is taking place, the situation is very different since March 25th. The danger of infection is very high, because of the amount of people who live here very closely together. The government of India and the administration of Tamil Nadu have made every effort to keep the inhabitants apart from each other, although this is difficult. The curfew, which started the end of March is much more strict than in our countries. Only some few shops are some hours open. Food can be ordered and is delivered to those, who have money to buy. The vegetable market is open in early morning hours. Prices have increased because transport of the items has become a problem. People are not allowed outside the house, except one person, who willdo the errands for the whole family once a day.The problem is, that most of the inhabitants of Tamil Nadu are poor. There are many Sadhus, pilgrimsor homeless people, who do not have a roof over their heads and no occasion to wash their hands properly, so that contagion may be avoided. Most of the Indian people work on a day-to-day base, like our young widows do as coolies on the fields, in construction or cleaning services in hotels or homes. Little shopkeepers in town or along the roads are in the same situation. With the strict curfew, they are not able to earn their living. They are left with NOTHING to earn and NOTHING to eat. The collector (sort of major) of Tiruvannamalai is very capable and tries his best to distribute food to hungry people. A huge wave of love and assistance has happened in Tiru and provided meals for many people in need up to now. Yesterday our partner Manoharan joined in distributing 300 meals and many 25 kg bags of rice to widows and families in need. So at the moment, we are not concentrating on the widows, but on all people, who are hungry. Our budget was originally intended to spend for our young widows and their children. But what to do, if most of the people are needing support?Although everybody hopes the curfew will be over the 19th of April, this will probably not happen. The curfew will be extended for some more weeks and the situation, which is already critical, will become more severe. We cannot only take care of our widows (although we always have them in ourspecial focus) but the situation is that of simple survival. Many Indians are now providing funds to the poor. Our „Shanthimalai Yoga and Meditation Center“ (former Shanthimalai Ashram) will also provide a building for immigrant workers, who have no home here in Tiruvannumalai, where they can stay and get food from us. The situation will still become worse, because the curfew will take longer than 19th of April. We know, that we cannot eat money, but we can still provide food with money. Therefore we kindly ask for your kind donations to cope with this situation which is life-threatening for many of our friends, who live in Tiruvannamalai. Maybe it also helps you to consider our priviledged situation compared with the curfew of families in India, who are forced to stay in a little hut, where barely two people can sleep on the floor in the hottest time oft he year, where temperature climbs up to 40° Celsius.The economical consequences of this pandemi will be shocking everywhere in many countries, but will hit the poorest of the poor the most. We are totally aware that the poorest and the weakest of the country, which are our widows and their children will need special support, probably also in future. But at the moment it is a matter of survival not only for the widows, but for most of the population.
Please help with your donation. We are very grateful and are sure, that you will feel the bliss and joy of taking care of people you do not know deep in your heart.

With gratitude and blessings from Arunachala

In the name of Om Shanthi NGO, all members, friends and widows
Anna and Paulette