"Every act of love is a work of peace no matter how small" Mother Teresa
2020: What a year! An unexpected year! We were not prepared to live all the events we had to face, but we kept in our mind what is the most important: to serve the handicapped children and the poorest. We adapted ourselves to all the situations and tried to act with loving care, compassion, and competence for those who needed it the most.
At the beginning of this new year, we want to thank you all for your thoughts and the precious help you have been providing to Howrah South Point!
In Howrah, we had to close our homes and our schools as required by the Government rules during the lockdown. In Jalpaiguri, only our schools closed, and we kept our homes for handicapped children open. It was a tough time for our children (and our didis) to have to stay home. Our didis took care of them like always and organized many activities for their education (study, gardening, dance, arts and crafts, work education). We also had various celebrations like Rabindra Jayanti, Independence Day, Teacher's day that were as many joyful occasions. The didis also took care of their health; children were given good food and followed physiotherapy sessions. All they need is to grow up well. Our children's smiles were a lovely gift to help us continue to do our best in this challenging time.
The lockdown made us realize the emergency of hundreds of our programs' families and the areas' families. Many children are receiving "a midday meal" in our school, but we knew that there would be many needs with the school closed. That is why Howrah South Point decided to engage itself, like many organizations, to distribute emergency reliefs. Thanks to our donors, we have been able to buy tons of food to prepare rations and distribute them: rice, dhal, soybean, mustard oil, and potatoes. A team of HSP social workers has been packing according to our distribution plan in Ashaneer, Howrah's central location. More than 3000 families have benefited from our Emergency relief kits.
On 20th May 2020, the super cyclone Amphan added some stress to our overall situation. Our homes of Ashaneer and EPN were damaged, with a lot of uprooted trees and flooding in our head office. We gathered the same courage that was needed during the lockdown and tried to overcome this new hardship. With the emergency relief kits, we added tarpaulins to help the families in the slums that lost their roofs. From July onwards, our homes have slowly started to reopen, and our health services have resumed. Our schools never stopped, thanks to social networks and xerox copies to the families with no smartphone. This way, we were able to reach 90% of our students.
On the evening of 25th December, our beloved Father Laborde passed away at the age of 93. His passing on Christmas day was a clear sign from Heaven. Our sadness for his departure was overwhelmed by some joy and thanksgiving for his luminous life. We will keep on working among Muslims, Hindus, Christians for the service of the most deprived. Because, as Father Laborde always used to say, "the only way for us, human beings, to become human is by taking care of the marginalized." "These broken persons are our brothers and sisters, and we live in solidarity with them. For that, we have first to accept our brokenness; otherwise, we are not so fit to cure the brokenness of others." Father Laborde will be forever in our memories and a source of great inspiration!
This year, we have experienced that we need to live each day and care for each day, one at a time. In this hardship, the most important is to care for others. Catch up with people, especially the weakest, and helping them to the extent that we can. Lift up your hearts! Together, we will overcome.
We wish you all a Happy New Year 2021, hoping that you will receive many blessings.
May this year be the occasion to spread joy and hope around you!!