(India) “Redeemer Cares” is a pastoral initiative of the Redemptorists of the Bangalore Province and a group of volunteers. It was the Redemptorist response during the second wave of the Covid pandemic. It was officially inaugurated on 19th May 2021 and concluded on 18th July 2021. The project had a vision of serving the needy in three ways. 1. To provide medical aid for the broken through the step – down facility. 2. To provide Oxygen and Vaccination. 3. To provide relief packages such as provisions, prepared meals, food supplements, emergency medical kits, masks, sanitizers and PPE kits, etc. The following are the details of the out-reach that was done in different places wherever the Redemptorists are situated and where the friends of Redemptorists appealed for help.
The “Redeemer Cares” Step Down Facility
The “Redeemer Cares” Centre is a step-down facility affiliated to St. Philomena’s and St. Martha’s Hospital, Bangalore. The project was coordinated in collaboration with the Salesian fathers. At a crucial moment of time, when there were no beds in the hospitals of the city to care for the COVID patients, and when there were so many deaths on the roads uncared for, the centre helped 16 patients who needed oxygen support for their survival. About 5 Doctors, 8 Staff Nurses, 6 Domestic workers, 3 Security, 2 Administrators, 2 Religious Nuns and a Redemptorist priest worked tirelessly in the centre caring and saving the lives of these patients.
The main goal of this centre was to reach out to the desperate Covid patients who, because of their poor economic conditions, needed a place to quarantine themselves. It was also to ease the pressure on the hospitals so that other desperate and deserving patients could avail themselves of the beds in the hospitals. In this regard, the centre has really eased the tension that used to mount because of the growing Covid cases.
The centre provided the oxygen to the resident and non-resident patients who requested for it. The centre also guided and coordinated the requests of people who needed oxygen support. On request, few of the discharged patients were also provided with the oxygen concentrators in their homes.
The centre has reached out to the poor who could not afford to go for a Covid test. On a case-to-case basis, individuals were helped to get the right tests done at St. Philomena’s hospital and were later admitted to the centre. Apart from providing the transportation, the centre also guided individuals regarding the right Covid tests and formalities. With the effort of Fathers and volunteers, we have successfully conducted 261 Covid tests in the village.
Distribution of Medicines
The centre has given free medicines to several patients. By way of special consideration, the project reached out to the elderly and widows who needed medicines on a monthly basis.
Ray of Hope …. Wellbeing sessions
The Ray of hope program offered psychological help to Covid affected through the online psychosocial emotional support group. The wellbeing sessions had 7 batches in which over 115 people were helped either by way of individual or group counselling. The clients were mostly Covid affected, this included those who were in quarantine, those who were grieving and those in tremendous stress and lost hope. The aim of the program was to offer psychological aid, support, and coping skills to handle the present crisis.
Redeemer Cares Emergency Grocery Distribution
As the country was under lockdown, millions were without employment and struggling for basic food. In this light, a decision was made to reach out to people who were in need through grocery distribution. Throughout the Country, a total of 1306 ration kits were distributed to the poor and the needy.
Blood donation Camp
Amidst the rise of Covid cases and fear, there was a shortage of blood in the Country. Many hospitals were running short of blood. Patients were desperate to receive blood and save lives. It was in this crisis, that a blood donation camp was conducted by ‘Redeemer Cares’ in Bengaluru and Pandripani (North India). Despite the Covid restrictions, we obtained 41 units of Blood through these camps.
Tuition Centres during the Pandemic
Due to the Covid crisis, many children were in danger of losing interest in education. To address this issue, tuition centres were established in 8 villages, and teachers were appointed to teach these children. Around 236 children in these 8 villages were brought together in different villages to keep them in touch with their studies. Along with these tuition centres, sensing the need of the school-going children – textbooks, writing materials and Tabs for teaching purposes were provided.
Medical Kits; Masks and Gloves
Free Medical kits comprising of Thermometer, Oximeter and steam Inhalers were provided to 10 villages in the Pandripani area. Along with medical kits, 1200 Masks and gloves were distributed to the poor who needed it.
At a time when a lot of myths were spread about Vaccination, people were really scared to get vaccinated. The Redeemer Cares took the challenge to campaign and convince people to get vaccinated. The campaign was held in 5 slums in Bengaluru and a village in Pandripani. As a result, around 823 people were vaccinated with the collaborative effort of the Redeemer Cares. The government officials have also honoured the Redemptorists for our contribution towards the vaccination.
Along with the step-down facility, a medical camp was organised in the neighbouring slums to treat people who were sick. Around 400 people came from 5 slums to have the health check-up and receive medicines. Apart from that over 800 hundred families were visited and were briefed about the vaccination and health and hygiene.
Redeemer Cares is a response to the Covid crisis, especially during the second wave. When we think of the vastness of the crisis, we are very much aware that this work is just a drop in the ocean. However, it was our humble effort to respond to God’s call to reach to out to the wounded of our times. Fr. Edward, Provincial Superior thanks all Confreres, benefactors, volunteers and the well-wishers who supported this project from their resources whether it be their time, finances, prayers, etc. Thanked them for being the channels of God’s love to the wounded humanity in these COVID times. May God bless all our efforts in bringing God’s Care to the poor and the most abandoned.
Province of Bangalore