India’s population exceeds 1.3 billion people. Within the nation, 470 million workers are currently restricted from moving about under directions to isolate in place.
The Raw Numbers
Allow me to impress upon you how meaningful those facts are when seen through the lens of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The number of workers in India is 140 million people more than the entire population of the United States.
- About 80 percent of those people (112 million) are “informal” laborers. That’s three times the entire population of Canada.
- All these workers are under a nationwide lockdown.
I know, Americans are under virtually the same restrictions. So, how are India’s workers different than ours?
The typical informal worker in India is a day laborer. That is, they work for a day’s wages that they will need to spend that same day in order to feed their families.
Unlike you and I, these 112 million people don’t have refrigerators, freezers, and pantries stocked with food. If they can’t work today, they can’t eat tonight.
Unless someone intervenes quickly, these laborers and their families will starve. Aid has been promised from their government, but it takes time to distribute supplies to 1.3 billion people. For those awaiting help, their only other options may be to endanger themselves by foraging in fields or scavenging in trash heaps.
Factoid: India has currently recorded 423 coronavirus-related deaths, ranking fifth among Asian countries as of April 16, 2020.
What Gospel for Asia-Supported Workers Are Doing
I have spent nearly an entire day reading dozens of reports about what GFA-supported pastors, missionaries, church members and volunteers have been doing to bring the help that these hapless people need.
First, let me say this: Before any GFA-supported worker determines to venture out to help during the crisis, they contact the local police department and/or village leader to obtain permission to do so. This important step demonstrates their desire to do the Lord’s work while also recognizing the obedience He expects from us with respect to governing officials.
Next, allow me to share a couple of stories of how GFA-workers are bringing aid to the helpless in and around their communities.
- One GFA-supported church distributed packages of nutritious vegetables to 650 people stranded in a brick factory. That church is now preparing to feed another 5,000 people as their next effort.
- Another church provided vegetable packages to 150 families (600 people). The packages contained enough to feed a family for several days. That was a short-term solution, which is why the church is readying enough groceries to feed more than 3,000 people and sustain them for 10–15 days.
- Yet another group of GFA-supported workers distributed vegetable packages to 690 families and individual food packets to another 200 people.
- Police constables even assisted another GFA-supported church in distributing rice, lentils, potatoes and other items to 40 residents of a leper colony. This gesture was considered so generous that a local news channel covered the event.
- Additional stories are being published every day at this COVID-19 Updates webpage.
GFA-supported churches minister to the needs of their communities year-round, but they are serving in additional ways now that so many peoples’ needs are even more dire. Noting the continual kindness of our field partners, one village leader expressed his appreciation regarding how “the churches are always ahead of helping the needy people in the time of difficulties.”
Keep in mind that these are just a few of the many reports GFA-supported field correspondents provide each day. By God’s grace and through the partnership of many around the world, we can serve the helpless every day.
Want to learn more about GFA-supported relief services? You can find additional information at the links below.
- Click here to learn about Disaster Relief.
- Click here to learn about Compassion Services.
- Click here to learn about the Leprosy Ministry.
- Worldometers, Coronavirus India
- GFA Field Reports
- ABC News, Life under lockdown is brutal for India’s female day laborers
- The New York Times, For India’s Laborers, Coronavirus Lockdown Is an Order to Starve
- Gospel for Asia, Photo of the Day