COVID-19: Velankani's Story

In the face of the COVID-19 crisis our ministry partners are continuing to show God’s love to the outcast and forgotten in their communities.

The most vulnerable like Velankani.

Velankani is currently living under strict lockdown conditions in Bangalore, India. Her home is a small hut made of discarded materials like plywood, corrugated iron and plastic sheets. Like millions of other Indian day labourers, her husband can no longer find work to put food on the table each night. And so Velankani joins the millions of Indian mothers who are unsure of where their next meal is coming from and living in fear for the survival of her children.

This seems a cruel twist as Velankani had just begun having hope for the future for the first time since she was 14.

Velankani’s family forced her into marriage when she was only 14-years-old.

Once they were married, her husband forced her to leave school, at the beginning of year nine, in order to start a family.    

Recently, after the birth of her third child, Velankani fell into a deep depression. She was thinking about how to end her life when one of Bangalore City Mission’s (BCM) social workers arrived at her door.   

That conversation saved her life.   

“For the first time I could remember someone asked me what I wanted. All my life I had been forced into other people’s plans for me.”

Velankani wanted her children to have a better life than hers. She wanted her two daughters to be able to finish school and not be forced into marriage like she was. And she wanted to learn a skill and feel useful, to have a purpose of her own.

BCM’s social worker listened to Velankani and immediately enrolled her three children into BCM’s childcare centre, where they enjoy the daily lessons, activities and the meals that aren’t guaranteed at home. 

Velankani volunteers most days at the childcare centre, which she says, “gives meaning to my life”, and recently enrolled in vocational training classes so she can earn a living and support her family without depending on her husband, who struggles with alcohol and has an erratic income, for her family’s survival. 

“BCM saved my life, has given my life meaning and is giving me hope for a better future for me and my children. I thank God for them every day.”

Velankani said those words just two weeks before a strict lockdown was introduced across India to try curb the spread of COVID-19.

 

BCM is committed to showing God’s love to the outcast and forgotten, like Velankani, now as much as ever.

While they have had to temporarily shut their school, close the childcare centre and cancel their vocational training classes, they have refocussed their efforts into providing meals for thousands of vulnerable families, like Velankani’s, who are at serious risk of starvation during this lockdown.

The scale of the COVID-19 crisis in India is hard to grasp. Millions of vulnerable people are at risk from the disease and consequences of lockdown.

But we are not without hope. It is in the darkest times that God’s love and light shines brightest and we have faith that God may work through His people at this time to shine His light and bring hope, particularly to the most vulnerable.

And there are things we can do.

As Jonathan, director of BCM, says, “Yes, this is a huge humanitarian crisis… but one of the greatest feelings in the world is knowing that we as individuals can make a difference and ending hunger during this lockdown is a goal that is literally within our grasp.”

BCM is committed to playing their part in ending hunger and sharing Jesus’ love during this lockdown.    

But they need your help.