KISES steps up to offer fresh food and health relief to India's most vulnerable
PREVIOUS KISES newsletters have brought positive reports of the work being done by our small band of volunteers to help some of India's most vulnerable people - the outcast members of society living in the dumps and slums of Vijayawada city, Andhra Pradesh.
There was news in 2018 of the launch of a KISES mobile school, feeding programme and health camps for families living on the Vijayawada Dump, followed up last year by the opening of the KISES School for Slum and Dump Children.
With the help of support from businesses in the UK, individual donations and sponsorship of our dump-dwelling families, KISES was able to make an incredible difference to children and families living in the most unimaginable conditions.
Taking children from uneducated families in the dumps and slums, we have provided free nutritious daily meals, fresh clothing and school uniforms, regular education and much-needed medicines and health support for hundreds of shunned and downtrodden people.
But nothing could have prepared us for the latest humanitarian crisis to afflict these desperately poor outcasts as the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world and brought even more suffering, health concerns and starvation to the slums of India.
This crisis brought back memories or the early days of this NGO 20 years ago when KISES was at the forefront of an emergency response and rehabilitation programme for thousands of people whose lives were devastated by a killer tsunami.
Lives were lost, children orphaned and homes destroyed by natural disaster. KISES founder Mr Shoury Babu Rebba and his life partner Mrs Rajani Suram worked tirelessly at the forefront of relief operations to rebuild lives and livelihoods, reconstruct homes, repair and replace fishing boats and nets, distribute livestock and construct toilets.
Thankfully, KISES had financial backing from an organisation in Europe to fund that volunteer operation, but now the charity finds itself unable to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak without falling into debt. Even so, Mr Shoury Babu Rebba does not feel able to simply stand by and watch as impoverished slum-dwellers die of starvation and lack of healthcare.
When appealing for help before we have said that the shocking poverty witnessed in and around Vijayawada city is an ongoing crisis which never makes the headlines in our newspapers or on our television screens. Now, more than ever before, we need money to pay for fresh vegetables, food and dry rations and health packs to distribute among the slum communities.
Overlooked, or simply shunned by wider society, the poorest people from sprawling Dalit and tribal communities do not have a voice. KISES is willing to stand up for them and champion their cause during these difficult times for us all, but we cannot do it without your help
Education has always been a key component of our KISES projects and our volunteers have been risking their own lives going into the filthy slums to explain the importance of taking basic health precautions, such as wearing face masks and regularly washing their hands in clean water.
We invite companies, foundations, college and university groups or individuals with a strong sense of social responsibility to stand up and be counted by helping us to fund our emergency mission in Vijayawada and beyond.
We also invite schools and church groups to get involved by holding fundraising events for the benefit of children less well-off on the other side of the world.
Please contact Mrs Rajani Suram in India via the KISES India website to get involved, or simply donate what ever you can at http://kisesindia.com/donate/. Thank you.