dimanche 29 mars 2020
MESSAGE FROM ECOLES DE LA TERRE TO GODPARENTS, SPONSORS, BENEFACTORS AND FRIENDS
MESSAGE FROM ECOLES DE LA TERRE (EDLT) ENGLISH VERSION
Martial for EDLT on March 27, 2020
I hope with all my heart that you are well and follow the instructions carefully. Right now it's a good thing to do, as a priority. Health to live is health to act. So, take care of yourself. Give preference to relaxation; we are probably at the beginning of a tempest.
For “Ecoles de la Terre” the month of March was very busy. I was still able to stay the first 3 weeks in Calcutta and the Sundarbans Islands in South West Bengal. I visited and especially participated in our programs in the Sundarbans; I consider it a chance for me to meet and exchange with students, teachers, families and mothers in particular. Today I can get a better idea of what these people are living from the point of view of confinement; I have a fresh memory of their living conditions, their habitat, their means of subsistence, their accommodations.
From March 15 the uncertainty frankly set in, the tension increased and the fear of the virus clearly appeared. Because of the force of events and the imminence of unpleasant events, I had to find a solution to return to Switzerland as a matter of urgency. Many people were unable to get on a return flight, as several companies were closing down their operations in Asia. I found myself in Geneva at the beginning of this week, without being able to visit Bihar, Delhi and the Thar Desert.
After the largest increase in the number of new coronavirus cases in India in one day, it has never been clearer that the pandemic is about to happen and the next few weeks will bring a scenario that many still find difficult to imagine.
The number of confirmed cases in India is now doubling in less than five days, up from six at the beginning of the month. India is following the trajectory of countries around the world: in the United States, the number of cases is now doubling every two days. Many people still don't realize the seriousness of the situation ahead, especially in the context of India where the majority of workers have no job protection.
With a ratio of only 0.5 beds per 1,000 people as from 2017, the existing health infrastructure in India will be overstretched very quickly. At the current rate of growth in confirmed cases, by the beginning of June India will no longer have any hospital beds.
And then what can our organization "Ecoles de la Terre Welfare Society" do in this context which appears to be catastrophic. I am participating with our existing management team in discussions about the possibilities of intervention in terms of aid and the plan of action for support of all kinds that we can carry out throughout the pandemic.
We can already say that our educational programmes, all the schools have been closed by government order since 16 March, are being bracketed for as long as it will take; these programmes are frozen for a while and their funding will be reduced in favour of the FOOD AND MEDICAL aid we will have to organize. The rural populations that we support in India are beginning to face major health, economic and food difficulties as a result of the spread of the virus. More than 90% of our schools are in rural areas.
As another NGO, the Karuna-Sechen organization created in the year 2000 by Matthieu Ricard and which also works in India, has just said, "this time of crisis shows us more than ever the importance of our holistic approach and the culture of altruism"; I would add that the interdependence of Ecoles de la Terre's support programmes justifies today, as never before, its purpose.
Dear Sponsors, Dear Godparents, Dear Friends, I wanted to send you this message. I will make another point of information during this spring from Switzerland and not from India as it has been the case all the past years. Thank you for all that you bring to "Ecoles de la Terre". May God bless you! May Life protect you and your Near Ones, your Country. Sincere regards.
Martial Salamolard for ECOLES DE LA TERRE