Covid 19 has definitely changed lives

How can we forget the scenes on our TV screens as the devastating second Covid wave struck India?  Thangtei David leads Sugandh, a small grassroots charity working in slum and resettlement areas in New Delhi, one of SAC’s partners. Here she describes how it affected her family and the communities where the team work.

Covid 19 has definitely changed our lives. The second wave hit us hard as a family. In the middle of April, my entire family ended up getting coronavirus. We all had fever, trouble breathing, cough, body ache etc. My daughter and I recovered quickly, but I had trouble breathing for almost a month. My husband was badly affected. Despite the summer heat and the shortage of oxygen in Delhi, not to mention the difficulty of getting a hospital bed, we were blessed by a friend who managed to arrange a steady supply of oxygen. When Vijay needed hospitalisation, by God’s grace we eventually found a hospital bed.

Sugandh is a small grassroots charity working in slum and resettlement areas in the city.    Sugandh’s projects include women’s self-help groups, vocational training, advocacy in the community and their child development programme. “This year the Self Help Groups had 1,056 members, divided into 88 groups. Women can walk to the Centre to deposit their money without spending extra on transport. Their records are maintained in individual ‘pass books’ and the money is deposited in a group bank account. The process is transparent and accountable.  In the groups they share problems and challenges, and collectively make decisions on granting low interest loans – for medical costs, household expenses, micro business start-ups, children’s education or weddings. This year a lot of women took loans to buy phones so their children could attend their online classes. “We are a grassroots organisation and we want to understand the different needs in the community. So we conducted a total of 3,110 home visits and meetings where we get to know about the issues that the community people are facing, such as debts, health problems, children not in school, domestic violence, and many more. Our main focus this year was to increase awareness about the pandemic – to give correct information and educate against misinformation.”   From this year’s Annual Report

We are so thankful to God and for our friends and community who have supported us through prayer and practical help. We also praise God that not many of our community members were badly affected by Covid 19. Those who had it are recovering now with post Covid treatment.

However many people who are daily wage earners lost their jobs, which has caused them severe financial hardship. For example, Gitika’s husband was the only earner in their family, and he was no longer able to work as a rickshaw puller for many months. This was the same for Sushila and her husband, who both lost their jobs as manual labourers. Many now have big debts for medical care, making it difficult for them to afford even basic food supplies like salt, atta (wholemeal flour), rice, lentils, spices, sugar and oil. 

Through Sugandh we have been able to provide them with a month’s supply of these things. We are very thankful to our donors who have provided us with the means to give this basic support to those families most in need.

We ask for continued prayer for these poor communities, especially for those who have lost their jobs and lost their family members or relatives during these times. And please do continue to pray for God’s protection over our staff members, their families and the communities where we work.

Thangtei with some of the women

There has been news circulating that a third wave might hit us soon. Please keep our health and the needs of our families in prayer. We truly believe that even during such times, God continues to keep His people safe and protected.

Thank you so much.

Thangtei David

Director, Sugandh, New Delhi

If you would like to support Sugandh or know more about their work please contact Emma Greenfield or 07786 587679 or via the SAC office.  A copy of our Annual Report is available now. Thank you to everyone who has supported Sugandh this year.