A few weeks ago many riverside dwellings were removed from around the church in Chennai. The houses were demolished and the area along the riverside has been bulldozed leaving the place a total mess. The river these houses were next to is very dirty with human waste and so the local government has a big project to clean up the area, make the river clean, and in many ways this is a good thing.
But, there has been a human cost. Many of the very poor people who had been living there have been relocated miles away, in the countryside, and disconnected from the community. Many have no means of communication and so nobody even knows where they have been moved. These families included sponsored children who had been coming to the after school club at SKM. These children are no longer able to receive what Grassroots sponsorship was giving them and so it is with sadness and reluctance that we have had to cancel their sponsorship.
In this context, today, we enrolled 50 new children onto the Grassroots child sponsorship scheme. These children are also desperately in need of help. Mothers came crying asking for their children to be included. It is humbling to be able to say yes, when in the past we had had to say no as the scheme had been full. But we are still very concerned for those who we are no longer able to contact.