Bangalore: Before the lockdown over the corona virus pandemic hundreds of Transgenders made a living begging for alms at traffic-light junctions. Now with minimal traffic on the roads, transgenders across the city are struggling to make ends meet.
Bangalore Archdiocese under the directions and suggestions of Rev. Archbishop Peter Machado kept strongly emphasizing in his regular relief committee meetings "to reach out very specially to the socially ostrasized, the sick, lonely and homeless, and also special attention to help stranded and jobless migrants". It may be noted that Bangalore Archdiocese was the first diocese in the country to start a commission for Migrants ( those studying or working in the city). Now the focus is more intense and challenging.
While migrants have been safely housed in 6 of our Educational institutions and are taken good care of, including hygiene and health instructions by trained personnel and counselling the emotionally distressed, the Archdiocese has now paid special attention to transgenders who are in deep strife and struggling to make a living.
Volunteers are reaching weekly rations bags to transgenders dwelling in communes at various places in the city. Over 300 of them received this succour and showed visible signs of gratitude as the volunteers handed them these rations. Volunteers reported back saying the transgenders already being socially ostracized, were taken by surprise and joy when we brought them help.
Relief to others in poverty are also being co-ordinated through the parish priests spread across the Archdiocese. Religious priests and nuns are also co-operating with such relief work.
The Metropolitan Archbishop Rev. Dr. Peter Machado who addresses his various teams of relief workers (priests, nuns and volunteers) daily, said "We are overwhelmed by the generosity of so many individuals and organisations helping us in reaching help to people on the peripheries and more importantly, the socially ostracized.
A strong bonding of mutual charity in times of distress was expressed by many of the beneficiaries (Transgenders).
The Archdiocese of Bangalore serving 6 districts, has on date has garnered over 1,20,28,500 (rupees) and also cooked food contributions from various sources including Atria Foundation.
"In times of such despair and hopelessness, we have not lost hope. Our specific focus is also on migrant workers who are jobless, the homeless sick and even ailing on the roadsides. The dark clouds may loom large over us, but there is the radiant heart of God above those clouds" The Archbishop said. The Archdiocese had inaugurated a Shelter-home within his campus on Easter Sunday 2 years ago.
Relief work continues daily as vehicles with relief material reach parts of Bangalore (Urban and Rural) and also other districts under the Archdiocesan jurisdiction.
A 100-plus strong team of volunteers ( priests, nuns, seminarians and laity) are packing ration kits daily at Paalana Bhavan at Archbishop's House.
Fr. Naveen Joseph, Director of the Bangalore Multi-purpose Social Service Society is co-ordinating with both donors and also the hapless poor who are seeking help. "In these days of suffering love surfaces much more from generous people. We are pray together everyday in thanksgiving to God".
-Fr. Adolf Washington