by BISMumbai Correspondent

The Don Bosco Development Society [DBDS] Mumbai founded in 2001 and registered as a not-for-profit charitable trust under the Societies Registration Act 1860, and under the Bombay Charitable Trust Act 1950, has consistently strived to enhance lives over the last 02 decades, in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Working with the most impoverished and underprivileged communities, addressing issues related to women, children, livelihoods, human rights and environment, the DBDS has endeavoured to enable and empower individuals and marginalised communities, to work for sustainable solutions, through mobilization of resources helping people claim their rights and access entitlements.

Even as India is in its Day 28 of the nationwide lockdown, further extended till 03 May, and as the relief and welfare measures promised to ease citizen woes, are difficult to access, DBDS continues its relentless COVID-19 outreach in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, which rank as the 1st and 3rd most affected of the Indian states. Continuing its service during the COVID-19 crisis, DBDS Mumbai which also functions as the MumbaiSalesians' Province Planning and Development Office [PDO], has been coordinating a sustained Relief Outreach, thanks to substantial financial aid from its funding partners. Ever since the imposition of the lockdown, till date, DBDS has managed to reach out to 37, 327 deprived individuals in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

In Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, 10200 individuals have been helped with provision, toiletries and hygiene kits, thanks to the Mahanagar Gas Ltd. and another Georgian benefactor. In Pune and in Chinchwad, 4250 individuals have been reached out to, thanks to the generosity of AXA Business Services and Manos Unidas Spain. In the Maratha hinterlands, 25, 755 most impoverished and vulnerable individuals in Ahmednagar, Parner, Beed, Walvanda, Aurangabad, Karjat and Pen,have been provided essential provision kits, thanks to its donor-benefactors from the USA, Don Bosco Mission Bonn, Bosconet [Don Bosco Network South Asia] and Mahanagar Gas Ltd. In Vadodara, DBDS has been able to reach out to 1500 slum dwelling impoverished, thanks to financial aid from Mix-for-Kids Germany.

DBDS Executive Director Father Rolvin D'mello who is coordinating COVID-19 Relief from the Mumbai Head Office, says, "Its is extremely difficult to coordinate this sudden massive outreach, given the lockdown situation. Yet, we are doing our utmost, thanks to the large-hearted generosity of our funding partners and our implementing partners, We are reaching out to widows, destitute senior citizens, migrant labourers, physically incapacitated, and the youth-at-risk. Thus far, DBDS has disbursed relief aid amounting to Rs. 1, 12, 67,400/- In every place, having notified and taking requisite permissions, we have followed the procedural directives, and have been appreciatively supported by the civic administration. Uncertain as this crisis-situation seems, thanks to our benefactors, staff and collaborators, DBDS is trying to further reach out to those yet unreached."