Shackles Broken

Umesh, a middle-aged man, lives alone with his 13-year-old son in a small thatched hut. His wife died five years ago, leaving him alone to raise their young son. Blind in one eye, Umesh works as a daily wage laborer, doing whatever physical work he can find. At one point, he could not make ends meet, so he borrowed some money from the local money lender. Since he was unable to repay the loan, he and his son were told to work in the lender’s fields. What they earned was barely enough to repay the money lender, let alone fill their stomachs.

When the COVID-19 lockdown was announced, Umesh and his son were no longer allowed to go out and work in the fields. Although they received some rice from a government program, it was not enough to sustain them for more than a few days. Nearing starvation, they almost went back to the money lender for another loan, even though it would have meant serving him as bonded laborers for the rest of their lives.

Then a relief team from Madhipura Christian Hospital came to Umesh’s village to survey it for the Emergency Relief Fund. Hearing about the needs of Umesh and his son, the team immediately provided them with 55 pounds of rice, 11 pounds of lentils, 2 pounds of salt, and a quart of cooking oil. They also supplied them with 5 pounds of detergent and 4 bars of soap.

Umesh and his son are greatly indebted to the team because their timely help saved the father and son from a lifetime of debt to the moneylender. Over 100 families in the area echo their gratitude for the help they received through EHA.