Relationships that save lives

If CHETNA hadn’t been there to help his family walk through death, Mr. Bahadur may never have turned to CHETNA to help save their lives.

Mr. Bahadur is the father of 5 children. He and his family live in a village where they own no land or even their own home. Though now quite elderly he continues to labour hard in often harsh weather to earn a daily wage repairing village huts made of mud and straw. Already financially vulnerable, the family’s situation worsened when his wife was diagnosed with cancer. The family spent any available money on her treatment.

It was in these dire circumstances that Mr. Bahadur was connected with CHETNA, a project that aims to prevent non-communicable diseases and improve the quality of life of people with chronic and life-limiting illnesses. CHETNA seeks to share the love of Christ by providing a wide range of services including raising awareness, screening, access to affordable and holistic clinical services, and palliative care. According to the staff at CHETNA, “Palliative care is a relatively new concept to India, and is an area of great need, especially in resource-poor settings where cure is often impossible because of late presentation and limited treatment options.”

If you ask the CHETNA staff what their initiative is all about, they’ll talk about the hard reality of the people they serve alongside, and the hope they press in to. “Despite a booming economy, huge disparities exist in India. It contains one-third of the world’s poor, and 40% of Indians live below the poverty line. Christianity constitutes a small minority, especially in the North, and there are great opportunities to reach out in the love of Christ and build bridges with local communities through Christian development initiatives.”

A little over a year ago, Mr. Bahadur’s wife died. In the time between her diagnosis and death, CHETNA provided palliative care to her and training and support to her family. On March 24th, a nation-wide lockdown was imposed to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, and Mr. Bahadur found himself without work, without income and without food. Because they had helped him when he needed it the most, he reached out to the team at CHETNA again.

Thanks to the generosity of friends around the world, they were able to provide immediate relief through a dry ration pack for the family, with sufficient supplies for a week or so. The CHETNA team were also able to contact the relevant government officials to ensure the family continued to receive government-provided dry rations during the lockdown period. Thanks to the relationship that CHETNA built with Mr. Bahandur when his wife was dying, he and his family are getting the life-sustaining food they need to weather this global pandemic.

*Names changed to protect identity