Chennai Jesuits’ Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
The Covid-19 Scenario in Chennai
The state of Tamil Nadu, after the nationwide lockdown, increased its restrictions in the border preventing any migrant workers to cross both in and out. Due to this many poor labourers who tried to get back to their homeland could not get any access as they were prevented doing so. In this process, many constructions workers had to keep their work on hold and a few lost their jobs. Some of the workers did not get paid as the authorities had clashes among themselves.
In the midst of the chaos, the sufferers were not only the construction workers, daily wages, and migrant labourers but also those vulnerable people who depended on them.
The Jesuit Chennai Province responded to this massive outcry as “To become the Change Not as Receivers but as Givers”. The province has used its intellectuals and all its efforts by providing food, quarantine centre, shelter, mask medical aid, online counselling etc.
Key Activity & Updates
Dry rations were distributed to:
- 2000+ Migrants
- 350 Domestic workers
- 400 Arunthathiyar and Gypsy families
- 120 Blind, Destitute, Migrant families
- 100 poor student and migrant families
- 600 Dalit families
- 300 Widows and Elderly
- 170 poor Dalit and Sri Lankan refugee families
- 100 poor families around the school
- 75 Sri Lankan refugee, Migrant, Gypsy families
- 300 Sri Lankan refugee families (in collaboration with the Parish and Charles Borromeo Congregation)
QUARANTINE CENTRES ESTABLISHED
- Loyola College, Chennai has earmarked a quarantine centre.
Shelters has been established for migrants & homeless people
- 70 migrants in Koyambedu, Chennai
- 60 homeless in Chepauk, Chennai
- Loyola College Alumni are procuring and distributing various medical equipments especially masks all over the world.
- Loyola college alumni association of Kerala provided 500 kits of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) worth Rs.10 lakhs to Kerala Police.
- Have provided space for quarantining Coronavirus suspected and affected.
- Loyola College Alumni are procuring and distributing various medical equipment especially sanitizers all over the world.
- At the main gates, Thermal scanners are being used to record the temperature of all incoming persons to Loyola Campus and province Curia.
Online counseling is provided by Dr. Gladston and Social Work volunteers. Around 80 volunteers are involved in it and they have already counselled 80,000 callers.
- Dr. Yazhini, Student Counselor, is periodically keeping in touch with the staff (teaching and non-teaching) of Loyola College.
- In Loyola College, Chennai the Heads of the Departments are keeping in touch with parents and students through online letters.
RESEARCH & PUBLICATION
Prof. Vincent, farmer Dean of Research discovered on line testing for coronavirus where the test results can be detected within 24 hrs.
- Scholars have published articles in JEEVAN and CEN and MNL Newsletters on Coronavirus.
- The Chemistry Department of ERI, Loyola College came up with hand sanitizer. They are awaiting viral test approval for viral sanitizer and approval of the government.
Dr. Thomas, PRO of Loyola College, keeps in contact with the government officials, alumni associations and all the students, staff and collaborators of Loyola.
- Fr. Vasanth SJ, Province Development Director, keeps in contact with Jesuits in the province, who are involved in the relief activities and are in need of financial resources.
- Fr. Igni SJ keeps in touch with all the Jesuit Communities and institutions for their needs in emergency and works out on financial support.
UPDATES ON ORGANISATION W.R.T CORONAVIRUS
The province has its own website and Facebook and updates the Covid related work from time to time.
HUMAN RESOURCE ENGAGED
- 5 officials & 150 Volunteers of Loyola Campus were engaged.
VEHICLES DEDICATED FOR RELIEF WORK
- 8 vehicles have been earmarked for the purpose of relief work.
Financial aid was provided to victims/migrants:
- Rs. 13, 47,000 was donated to PMNRF, PMCARE etc.
- Rs. 34, 11,118 by the Disaster Management Committee and it is still in progress.
- Rs. 20, 00,000 by Helping Hand, Loyola College, Chennai.
- Rs. 1000 was given in cash to 23 Families of the Deserving Hostel Students in Loyola Academy, Vadamelpakkam
- Rs. 2000 was given in cash to 50 Families of the Deserving Hostel Students in Loyola College, Vettavalam.
- Rs. 2000 was given in cash to 39 Families of domestic employees by Loyola College, Mettala.
- Rs. 1000 was given to 10 Families of migrant by Jesuit Migrant ministry External, Kasthambadi.
- Rs. 54, 63,822 by Disaster Management Committee and Rs. 36, 70,000 is allotted by Helping Hand, Loyola Chennai as an earmarked fund to provide relief.
- Disaster Management Committee (DMC) at Province level has been formed to be at the service of the people in need.
- Service of Migrants and Gypsy would continue even when the lockdown is relaxed.
- Continued effort of the need of the province through Province Development Director’s office for the coordination of the works and fundraising.
- Counselling and spiritual need at the times of distress will be taken care by Scholarship (Paying the Semester Fees) of the affected students will be considered.
- Needs of the refugee students studying in the respective institutions will be taken care off.
- Research on Coronavirus and similar viruses will continue in Entomology Research.
- Institute (ERI), Loyola College will continue with publications and the production of medical aids.
SPECIAL INTERVENTIONS/UNIQUE CASE STUDIES/PRACTICES
- Counselling for the Shut-ins during lockdown - Online Counselling to the Quarantined (In collaboration with the Civil Authorities) is being continued.
- Volunteers are working with the needy (distribution rations) keeping in mind social distancing.
- Directors of work, Loyola College, Chennai are keeping in contact with the staff and the students, alumni and collaborators.
- Loyola College offers counseling, with practical tips, how to handle children in this time of COVID-19 pandemic . Click to Open (YouTube https://youtu.be/VuXgz1NmN3Y)
- An online facility is available-Discovering the outbreak of epidemic in 24 hours. Click to Open
- Loyola development fund Portal - an app is developed.
- Social Work department, through the Outreach Programme and Service Learning Programme are catering to the needs of the widows, domestic employees and the homeless.
- The nature of coronavirus is researched on at ERI (Entomology Research Institute), Loyola College, Chennai.
- Following the emergency call, JESIM team has rescued 45 Irular families who were stranded near Vanthavasi and brought them through a special vehicle to their native village.