Many of you have reached out to us in this strange time to ask how we’re managing. Sadly we had to close Deepam in March due to COVID-19. India had a complete lock-down for almost two months, with no public transport or flights, schools & universities closed, food shops were only open in the morning and only essential services and travel allowed. The lockdown is now slowly relaxing. A lot of work has started up again, most shops are open again and are allowed to be open all day, some public transport is operating, and most eateries are open for takeaways. However, schools and hands-on therapies are still closed and we’re still not allowed to meet with more than five people at a time. Masks should be worn at all times outside of the home and social distancing should be maintained. With public transport operating again including some domestic flights, it is likely that COVID-19 will spread to areas that have so far been spared. In July, a few people tested positive for COVID-19 in Auroville and in the surrounding local villages. Fortunately the virus has been well contained so far and it seems that up till now there is no major spread and we hope it stays that way.
As many people in India live from what they earn daily, many (including the families of our children) have had no income and are struggling. The Government provides a small amount of rice, dhaal, oil and sugar to the poor households, but no fruit or vegetables, and food prices are steadily rising. Thankfully, some of them are now able to restart work, but many have lost their jobs.
We do not yet know when and how we can restart our work with the children. Never have we closed for such a long period in our 28 years so it is not an easy situation for us, however we are doing what we can. Our team is in touch with all our children by phone and we help families with food and medication where needed, as well as providing homework for our children where possible. We are continuing to pay our eleven team members their full salaries and we really want to continue being able to do this and to keep our experienced staff. We fear we are going to face a crunch in donations due to global financial difficulties and we are grateful for any support in these challenging times.
We hope everybody stays healthy and safe and thank you for your continued support. Best wishes from Deepam!
During the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic
Some help at Deepam
House-visits at the homes of our children in different villages
Some parents are doing exercises at home with their children