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As nationwide lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus remain in effect, the Baha’is of India continue in their efforts to support and uplift their fellow citizens. 

An initiative in the village of Bookanakere is one example of countless other such efforts under way throughout the country, bringing to light what is possible when people combine their modest resources for the benefit of all.

“Fostering unity has always been a guiding principle for us in the community and is at the heart of what we do,” says Kumar Nayak of the Baha’i Local Spiritual Assembly of Bookanakere. “We have realized the value of working unitedly in overcoming difficult situations.”

Photograph taken before the current global health crisis. Children and parents in Bookanakere, India, participating in a festival prepared by participants of Baha’i educational programs in the village.

Bookanakere is one of many parts of the country where daily wage earners and their families have been severely impacted by the lockdown. Out of concern for their well-being, the Baha’is of this village collaborated with local authorities and other residents to provide some 100 families in the area with food supplies and other essentials.

The initiative was supported by members of the Gram Panchayat—the local governing authority—who participated in visits to the families. Although undertaken without fanfare, the efforts were reported on by a statewide TV news channel in Karnataka in a recent broadcast: “During this time, people who are prosperous are buying necessary materials from shops for their sustenance, but many families who depend on daily wages are facing severe hardship.

“In this situation, the members of the Baha’i Local Spiritual Assembly and other residents of Bookanakere have come forward to help … families in need by distributing food packets.”

Santosh Kumar, another member of the Local Spiritual Assembly, reflecting on the effort says: “Each one of us is responsible to contribute to the well-being of all. When we make efforts to help each other it inspires collective action and creates an environment in which everyone is motivated to contribute. We now see many more groups of people in the village stepping forward to address the crisis in their own way.”


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