by The sisters at Malkerns (MSMHC)
The outbreak of COVID 19 disease has posed great challenges to humanity worldwide and has reshaped our entire way of living. At the same time, a crisis is also a great opportunity to explore our creativity and innovative ideas to counteract these negative impacts. If we observe closely the whole world is afraid of Corona Virus. We the MSMHC (Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians), touched by the poverty and suffering people of Malkerns, planned to reach out to the needy, by offering them food, sanitisers, soap & Mask which is the basic need at this time. There are thousands of people who live from hand to mouth, on a daily basis. With the deprivation of jobs, there are many who have lost their livelihood. And COVID-19 has done this to millions.Since the lockdown, we the sisters of Likhaya LaMaria- Srs. Elsa P. Joseph, Mary Clara Topno and Susan Soren, based at St. John Bosco Parish Malkerns ESwatini have been engaged in a wide variety of activities, including:
- The writing of letters/ projects to individuals, companies, friends, seeking help to reach out to an average of 300 families.
- The survey was taken of the poor, sick, elderly and needy people who were the beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Relief program.
- The information was given to the village headman and catechists of the outstations to collect the food stuff from Malkerns and to distribute these provisions to the selected poor families, and especially the sick and elderly who have been struggling for their daily meal.
- The sisters have distributed around 350 masks for the poor.
- With the support of benefactors, we have helped 425 families from 31 villages. And the total number of people whom we reached out during the Covid-19 Pandemic is 1955.
We conducted our first outreach program to the needy people of Ekufenyeni village, which is our ‘Focus village’ and few families from Malkerns on 14th March 2020, distributing food stuff for them as the part of our works of charity even before the lock down.
Then we conducted COVID-19 Relief program on 25th April 2020 (Saturday) in Malkerns for 25 families. We distributed face masks for all of them and gathered them in the Bosco Community Hall. We then conducted a short prayer service and Sr. Elsa P. Joseph gave them training on COVID-19, educating them on how to take care of themselves during this time of the pandemic. After the short program the sisters distributed the food hampers and masks which were donated by some generous benefactors and friends. On 8th May 2020, the beautiful day dawned with God’s abundant love and blessings! Our hearts desire to reach out to the poor people of our parish as well as that in need was being fulfilled. Sr. Elsa P. Joseph who has made an arrangement with Ruchi whole sales to deliver a truck load of food stuff arrived in St. John Bosco Pre-school from where we shall be distributing to the outstations under St. Bosco Catholic church as well as in Malkerns to all the needy people Catholics and non-Catholics who are poor, sick, vulnerable and jobless. This time we wish to cover 31 substations that are under these mission stations, reaching out to 300 families and 1955 members of these families.
The truck arrived with lots of food stuff and the driver Mr. Brian and his handy man were very kind to assist us in unloading these food items. Thanks to Mr. Shongwe Leonard, the Head teacher of St. Bosco High School who sent his guards and ground man to assist us to unload things along with our grounds man, our Pre-school teachers, the youth and YAC & Social apostolate members. We are very grateful to them for their willingness to help us and for their hard work as well as packing of the food hampers on 15th May. Thanks to our catechist who assisted us along with the volunteers.
Food items include, rice, mealie meal, cooking oil, sugar beans, milk, sugar, tissue, salt, spaghetti, chicken masala, loaves of bread, packets of spices, packets of tea, soaps, tinned vegetables, cabbage, chips, masks, big plastic basin etc.