Sadly the coronavirus continues to spread In India, with more than 1 million cases now recorded. Unfortunately it is the communities already suffering from poverty and disadvantage that are most vulnerable in the present crisis.
The fundraising by supporters to our appeals for emergency food and medical supplies in response to the COVID-19 lockdown and Cyclone Amphan was remarkable. As a result, thousands of people received basic assistance in a time of great need.
Most recently supplies were distributed at two non-formal schools located at Bhowanipur Cemetery and Scott Lane that are run by the Cathedral Social Service, a sister organization of CRS. 150 families received food packages and medicated soap.
The help given to poor communities in Kolkata and surrounding rural areas has been facilitated by CRS working in close collaboration with the Diocese of Kolkata.
The Church has been able to utilize its wide network of parishes, projects and people to reach so many needy communities. We’re also very grateful for the commitment and leadership from Bishop Paritosh, who has personally joined in many of the distribution events.
Last autumn we issued a fundraising appeal to extend the CRS centre at Pally Mangal. The tiny one-roomed building was a real squeeze for women attending empowerment and training classes.
CRS supporters Paul Stuttle and Jo Whitehead generously gave £2,400, which with recoverable gift aid, was enough to cover all the costs to build an extra floor.
Renovation commenced in March but had to stop when the coronavirus lockdown started. However, as of June, work resumed and good progress has been made on building a staircase and an upper floor.
Two of the Trustees of the UK Friends of CRS, Alison Brown and Anita Matthews, have written a book about the experiences of setting up partnerships between schools in the UK and India.
They have been actively involved in building the links between the Diocese of Derbyshire and the Church of North India over recent years, including the group visits by headteachers, teachers, classroom assistants and trainee teachers each year which have paired primary schools in Derbyshire with CRS education centres.
Sustaining Global School Links, which is available from Grove Books for just £3.95, explores some of the theological and educational reasons for setting up and maintaining global links between schools. Reflecting on the partnership between Derby and Kolkata, it seeks to give an honest appraisal of benefits and challenges that are involved.