The pandemic had an enormous impact on the people in India and, of course, on our projects. Since April 2020, schools were closed throughout the country. This also affected the Montessori preschool in Perumalmalai and the PEARL Playschool in Paramakudi. It is only since September 2021 that a slow opening of educational institutions has begun, but for the time being only for the upper grades.
No school: this also meant the elimination of compulsory lunch, it meant increased child labor and an increase in marriages of underage girls. It is also not certain how many children will return to school after an opening. The missing material from nearly 600 days of classes has left a gap in the education of an entire generation.
It was a drama not only in India, but also in many countries in Asia, Africa and South America. Distress rose in families. The pandemic brought unemployment and lack of money and food for many. Malnutrition and hunger were the result. In addition, there was a much greater number of Covid-19 illnesses and deaths than we experienced in Europe. Due to the overload of the health system, other diseases also increased again and often could not be treated. This meant great suffering for much.
In these times of greatest need, the work of our projects was and still is made very difficult by government requirements. Only with a lot of imagination and partly in a roundabout way the affected people could be helped. In many cases food and in winter warm blankets are distributed. As a substitute for the cancelled school meals, a daily lunch is prepared and distributed for a limited number of children and elderly people. As far as possible, lessons are offered to the children outside of school and three vaccination campaigns have been carried out at PEARL in cooperation with the community. All this is just a drop in the bucket, but so necessary to keep the contact going.
The consequences of this difficult time are not yet foreseeable, but there will be a lot of work for our projects. We are very grateful to our donors for not abandoning us and our projects.