Posted on

Visiting widows in their affliction

widow in India, Christian Aid Ministries

“Your husband is dead.” To millions of women these words are a curse, a lifelong sentence of disgrace and struggle. In many countries, society regards  widows as signs of bad luck. “Even our own family considers us burdens,” shared a widow in India. Labeled and abandoned, these women face a lonely life of suffering.

India alone is home to more than 40 million widows. Because of arranged marriages, teenaged girls are sometimes married to men twice their age or older. This leaves large numbers of women widowed at a young age.

In past centuries, a husband’s death in India meant that his wife would be burned alive along with his body. It was believed that she could then join and assist her husband in the afterlife. Some women, realizing the difficult life they would face as a widow, voluntarily jumped into the fire.

India’s government has outlawed this practice, but the stigma surrounding widowhood remains embedded in the culture. Relatives often cast out a widow when her husband dies to avoid disgrace and bad luck. Family and friends frequently accuse her for her husband’s death and confiscate her home and possessions. She is no longer referred to as a woman but as a thing.

Widows Care Fund

Destitute and abandoned by their own families, many widows resort to begging to survive. Some leave their communities to live with other rejected widows. Nearly 20,000 widowed women make their home in the city of Vrindavan, India, earning it the name of “the city of many widows.”

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27

Behind the facts and numbers are individual widows with stories of heartache. Kashvi* in India shares, “I lost my husband long ago. I live alone and no one cares for me or helps with my daily needs. I used to go for some work but now due to the pandemic, I am unable to get any work.”

Another Indian widow says, “I have two sons but they do not even think of me.”

These challenges are not unique to India. Many elderly widows in Eastern Europe live alone, forsaken by their children who travel to find jobs abroad. Widows in some Kenyan tribes are forced to marry one of their deceased husband’s brothers, although he may already have at least one wife. In Liberia, a civil war and an Ebola outbreak left hundreds of widows in deplorable situations.

Widows Care Fund
Widows in Kenya

Over the years, our faithful supporters have enabled us to provide food parcels to needy widows around the world. But in seeing other needs of widows—such as housing or self-help aid—we are launching a new program: Widows Care Fund. This program will provide food, shelter, self-help resources like sewing machines and animals, or other aid as needs and opportunities arise. In some cases, help is also given to widowers and abandoned wives.

Perhaps the most important and valued gift we seek to provide is Christ’s compassion, which is denied to so many of these women. After believers in India reached out to widows in one community, a bystander remarked, “As a neighbor, I have never seen anybody from this area taking time to visit these widows, but you never fail to show God’s love to them.”

*Name changed to protect identity.
Posted on

COVID food distributions: Quotes from recipients

Quotes from recipients, Christian Aid Ministries

Thank you for your continued support for COVID aid distributions in India. God bless you for sharing! “I had nothing to eat and was starving,” said one recipient. “I am so grateful . . .”

Following are more recent quotes from recipients.

“I was worried”

A 60-year-old widow said, “For the past few days, I was worried about getting our daily needs met due to the lockdown. I am now glad that I will not lack food for the next one month as I got this ration kit freely. I am very happy.”

“I stay hungry most of the time”

“I am a poor man and I used to stay alone in a small hut, which got broken during the floods. Now I do not have a place to live and I live out on the streets. Due to the COVID-19 situation, nobody is giving me any work and I stay hungry most of the time. I thank the leaders of the church for giving me a wholesome meal.”

“The team came at the right time”

“I am a widow and I have lost my eyesight. Someone helps me sit near the shops every day and I survive with the food and money that people give to me seeing my condition. I was really very hungry and the team came at the right time and gave me the food packet. I am truly grateful to them for their help.”

“I could not meet the needs of my family”

“For the past two weeks, I could not meet the needs of my family. We are happy to receive the [food] kits.”

Quotes from recipients, Christian Aid Ministries


The COVID pandemic has immensely affected the lives of common people, especially the daily wage laborers, single mothers, and waste pickers. They struggle to get work and earn money to take care of their families. In their desperate situation, they are overjoyed to get nutritious food and express their gratitude towards those who provided help for them.

CAM is working with contacts to provide food for the needy and vulnerable of India. It is by your donations and God’s rich blessing, we able to reach out to the poorest of the poor. Thank you and God bless you for your care and support!

Posted on

COVID distributions continue in India

India, Christian Aid Ministries

Thank you for your continued support as CAM seeks to help to those deeply affected by the economic fallout of COVID-19. Our contacts in India are busy distributing food and other aid to those in need.

Many people in the country are facing the devastating effects of hunger and lost loved ones. Your ongoing contributions warm recipients’ hearts. People’s care for them in dire times speaks loudly of the love of Jesus, and what He would do if here on earth.

With India’s population exceeding 1.3 billion people and much of the country facing an economic crisis, your support is deeply appreciated.

Posted on

Overwhelmed with gratefulness

overwhelmed, Christian Aid Ministries

Mrs. Bedi* from India has not heard from her husband for nearly a year since he left their area to look for work. When their country imposed a strict lockdown in response to COVID-19, it brought travel to an abrupt halt. Many fathers were unable to find transportation to return home.

The absence of a father in the Bedi home leaves the mother with a heavy load of providing for her two children. The family was overwhelmed with gratefulness when they received the gift of food from CAM.

*Not actual name

Posted on

The poorest suffer in India’s COVID crisis

India’s COVID crisis, Christian Aid Ministres

As India’s COVID crisis rages on, many of the people that we don’t hear about in the news are the marginalized, the poorest, and others who need a helping hand to bring them and their families through this terrible time. Many lives are at stake and vulnerable families are in crisis.

Government leaders in many Indian states have announced. curfews and lockdowns in a desperate attempt to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Large urban areas, which are home to millions of migrants who search for work, are especially hard-hit by the recent wave of infections. These impoverished migrant workers are far away from their home villages with little to no income to provide for themselves. Many people fear not being able to return home when lockdowns are put in place. Others fear dying miles away from their family.

Various of our contacts in India are working hard to reach to those in need. “As followers of Christ, we must respond whenever people are hurting,” shared one of these contacts.  But the scale of need is unfathomable and those providing help are anxious for assistance.

India’s COVID crisis, Christian Aid Ministres
Food items ready for distribution.

Food continues to be a pressing need. “Twenty percent of India’s people live in extreme hunger, and these people are struggling to feed their families,” writes a CAM contact. “The food kits we are distributing to those communities a massive relief for them.”

Thank you for your caring about the people of India in great need. God bless you for your generosity!

Posted on

India COVID crisis: Fear, hunger, and death

India COVID crisis, Christian Aid Ministries

As the India COVID crisis rages on in India, fear, hunger, and death are day and night companions to thousands. With loved ones dying without help and few jobs available due to lockdowns, life for them looks grim.

Here are some recent comments from our contacts who work in India:

 “The situation in India is far worse than even what the news is reporting. We are grateful for all your prayers and help!”

_________________________

“We are providing basic food and other needs as much as we can, but the need is beyond what words can explain.”

_________________________

“The second wave of COVID-19 is disrupting life all across India . . . Just two days ago a few women came by . . .  asking for plastic or cardboard scraps that they could sell so they would have enough money to buy food for the day. We asked them questions about how they were doing during the second wave of COVID. It was heartbreaking to learn that with the current lockdowns, their entire family had survived the past weekend just by drinking water. Thankfully we had some leftover food from a distribution that we could share with them.

_________________________

CAM continues to process requests for help from India. Almost all these requests include a plea for food. The gift of food is an unspeakable gift of hope in a dark and dreadful time. To know that people care about their situation blesses them beyond words. Thank you, supporters, for enabling us to reach out to those in need.

Posted on

Continued requests for help from India

requests for help, Christian Aid Ministries

COVID-19 cases in India continue to skyrocket and requests for help keep coming from contacts working in various parts of the country. Delhi, the capital city, is under lockdown. Other locations throughout the country also face stringent restrictions.

India, the second-most populous country in the world, is home to more than 1.4 billion people. Cities are packed with millions of people living in close quarters. As the COVID crisis escalates, impoverished people face an increasing need of food, hygiene items, and other basic necessities.

Throngs of Indians are without work. Severe hunger is a grave reality. “We don’t know how long the lockdown will be,” wrote one of our contacts. “We saw after the previous lockdown was over how difficult it was for common laborers and maids to return to work as those who employ them are fearful to allow them in their homes.”

Thank you for your support in providing for the seemingly endless requests for help in India! Your support is a lifeline for those facing hopelessness, hunger, and fear. God bless you for having a heart for the poor of India during this unprecedented crisis.

Posted on

India in Crisis!

India in Crisis, Christian Aid Ministries

COVID spike brings death, hunger, and desperation

India is facing one of the greatest crises in its history. A severe spike in COVID-19 cases in India is overwhelming hospitals and spreading rapidly throughout the country. Night and day, people work to burn the bodies of those who die from the virus. Fear permeates the country. The reports of the virus are grim. But an even more serious crisis is at hand—starvation. Throngs are going hungry as their food supplies diminish. For the past year, desperately poor migrant workers and other impoverished Indians lived in survival mode, hoping for better days ahead. Now, yet more lockdowns, more fear, and more economic upheaval are taking a greater toll than ever on needy Indians.


What our contacts are saying:

———-

Many states in India have put lockdowns in place again to reduce the spread of the virus, especially in big cities—meaning day laborers will yet again be unable to earn money for food, causing their families to starve almost immediately. A day without work means a day without food.

—————

This is a depression and recession combined with a pandemic . . . I have never in my lifetime faced something so drastic.

—————

Things are now far worse in India than at any time during the pandemic.


 “The most serious need right now is to alleviate starvation,” report workers in India. “Millions are starving and without hope for tomorrow. Families are watching their children wither to nothing, and many have chosen suicide as the only hope of escape.” “The COVID situation is so intense and incomparable to any other tragedy we ever faced,” says a pastor in India. “Almost all cities and towns [in this area] are completely under lockdown . . . Deaths by starvation and suicide are on the rise. We are doing all we can to reach out to the suffering people.” In a recent letter of request from a hospital in India, a doctor wrote, “The COVID situation in India is a nightmare now and spreads without any control . . . People are dying in large numbers, especially due to the acute shortage of oxygen supply. We at our hospital are taking care of hundreds of COVID positive patients and many of them are on oxygen.” Our contacts in India are rising to the overwhelming task of meeting desperate needs. As people grasp for hope and plead for food, they are providing help on a large scale. They welcome our support in their response to the constant outcry for help. When workers delivered food to one family, the mother responded, “Thank you so much for your kindness to bring these food items for my family. My husband and I were even thinking to end our lives with our children for we do not see any hope for the future. God sent you to save our lives.” If you wish to help provide food, emergency supplies, and other aid in India, your support will be a great blessing.

Posted on

India’s plight: No jobs . . . no money . . . no food . . .

No Jobs. No Money, No Food, Chrisian Aid Ministries

The economic repercussions of COVID-19 are driving many people in India to the point of desperation. Parents cannot feed their children, people face homelessness because they can’t pay their rent, businesses are unable to operate, and day laborers cannot work to earn an income. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, India imposed one of the largest and strictest lockdowns in modern history. “Because of the lockdown, the need has increased daily,” was the recent cry from India. “No jobs . . . no money . . . no food.”

No Jobs. No Money, No Food, Chrisian Aid Ministries


At a Glance:

India is the second most populated country in the world, with 1.4 billion people (nearly the same number of people as in China).

Millions of people lost their jobs during the COVID-19 lockdown and have no way to provide for themselves.

“I have been waking up at night due to panic attacks as I don’t know how my children are going to be fed.”—aid recipient in India


When India’s government issued this lockdown nearly six months ago, everyone hoped things would soon change and life would return to normal. But now, months later, things are becoming worse instead of better.

Although the lockdown is beginning to ease slightly, the economic damage is severe. India’s economy likely won’t recover for years. Businesses were closed for months, and many don’t have the working capital to get started again even if they would be allowed to reopen.

For millions in India, 2020 has been a year of survival. Many who have received help through CAM live in slum areas. Their major earnings come from vegetable markets, construction work, and household jobs. Now thousands of these impoverished people cannot find work. On top of this dilemma, the price of food has risen. “There are laborers who earn daily and eat their bread daily,” reports a contact in India. “If they don’t work, they don’t eat.”

“We lost hope and were thinking about ending our lives.”

Pleas for help in India have one thing in common—a cry for food. “Food is one of the greatest needs,” reported one worker in India. “People are starving.”

Before the lockdown, Jai* worked as a vendor on a train, selling household items to passengers. But since the beginning of the lockdown, he has no way to earn money. “My wife was expecting and we lost our baby in the womb because we had no food to eat for many days,” said Jai. “We lost hope and were thinking about ending our lives.”

Jai’s friend told him to contact a pastor who was helping needy families with food provided through CAM. This caring pastor soon arrived with food for Jai and his family. “We already lost our baby . . . but I want to thank Pastor Raj and his team for helping us with food,” said Jai. “We are now eating food three times every day.”

Responding to the huge needs in India

It appears that our response in India will be one  of our largest Coronavirus Crisis Care projects. We are working with contacts to provide food and other help for those in desperate need. In addition to India, your generous support is helping meet the needs of thousands in other countries suffering from the economic fallout of COVID-19. Your support is humbling and is an answer to prayer for many in great need. God bless you!

Christian Aid Ministries | October 2020

*Names in this article are changed to protect identity.

Posted on

Helping people affected by coronavirus

affected by coronavirus, Christian Aid Ministries

As the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide top 12 million, many questions remain. What is the origin and severity of the disease? What is the wisdom of lockdown measures? At CAM, we try to leave these questions to others and focus on helping people affected by coronavirus. This is possible through partnership with you.

One thing we know is that the economic impact of this pandemic has been devastating for millions of people around the world! This is especially the case for people who were living in already impoverished countries. This includes the world’s 75-plus million refugees and internally displaced people. A huge number of individuals have lost their jobs and are suffering from hunger. Many fear starvation. The coronavirus pandemic may be the most widespread and simultaneous tragedy the world has seen since the days of Noah and the flood. 

God brings good out of bad

God always has a way to bring good out of bad. The positive side of COVID-19 is the opportunity to share the Gospel. The fear, loneliness, stress, and uncertainty of the future are seriously shaking people’s confidence in the supposed wisdom of man. This is opening many doors of spiritual opportunity as people seek after God in a new way. The Bible tells us that one soul is worth more than all the wealth of the world.

Many of our COVID-19 projects around the world focus on the need for food. But we are also trying to include Bibles, New Testaments, or Bible story books wherever we can. In one restricted country, our contacts are preparing to distribute Bibles to over 100,000 people. Hundreds of billboard messages are being posted in America to point lost and lonely people to Jesus, our Lord and Savior. He is the ultimate solution!

 Largest CAM project

We anticipate the Coronavirus Crisis Care project to be the largest CAM has ever undertaken. Our earlier estimate of needs and opportunities was $2.5–$5 million, but we now expect the total to exceed $10 million. At this writing, your contributions have enabled us to help with more than one hundred projects in forty-four countries around the world. We are working with staff on the field and trusted contacts to distribute the much-needed aid.

Words from some of our many contacts:

Middle East: “. . . an elderly man dressed in his long robe and turban started desperately greeting us and begging us to follow him to his home. He claimed they had no food in the house!” The desperate condition of these Syrian refugees was confirmed by a visit to the very poor abode inhabited by 15 people; only one young man had work. In war-torn Syria, the unemployment rate is 80 percent and food costs have doubled.

Vietnam: “When we supplied food packs to the poor recipients who had no food left and were starving, they were very much touched and encouraged. Why would some people from far away help them?”

Pakistan: “My heart breaks when I see poor Christian families and helpless children. . . . I cried when children were saying that they don’t have enough food to eat.”

Kenya: “In the midst of this crisis, people are longing for help and a place of rest from anxiety and despair. We desire to share hope and point people to Jesus as we respond to these needs.”

Restricted country: “One long-term need I can see will be for more Bibles, as across Asia many thousands are coming to the Lord because of this.”

Malawi: “Orphans . . . had stayed for many days without eating anything since the lockdown, and depended only on water to live.”

India: “. . . people are starving for food because of the lockdown. . . . Since two months the poor peoples lost their daily work . . . so they are all without food. Small children are looking for food . . .”

Nigeria: “An elderly widow burst into tears of gratitude last week when she received a food pack for her family of five. She exclaimed, ‘God has heard my cry! They locked us in for fear of coronavirus only to have us attacked by devastating hunger. What coronavirus could not do, hunger may achieve!’ ”

Thank you for your generous gifts that are helping people affected by coronavirus. One comment from a contact in the Middle East echoes our thoughts: “Words are not enough to express our gratitude for all your love and care! God bless you!”