Updated March 23

The coronavirus (COVID-19) was recently declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, and continues to spread around the world, causing major upheaval in travel, business, supply chains and financial markets.

Because we know you are concerned about a lot right now, including students and the entire global community of LPGM, I want to update you on how the pandemic is affecting our programs and how your continued support is helping us respond as quickly and effectively as possible.

LPGM programs have been severely disrupted by the spread of the coronavirus. The state of Tamil Nadu, India, (where LPGM-sponsored boarding homes are located) has closed all educational institutions through March 31st, and all but the oldest students (who are finishing their government exams) have been sent home. We anticipate the closure will be extended. Currently there’s a lockdown in 80 districts across India that affects nearly everyone in the country of 1.38 billion.

Likewise in Guatemala and Tanzania, schools are closed and transportation is severely limited as the governments attempt to contain or slow the spread of the virus.

The people most affected

With our special focus on providing education for people on the margins — especially women and girls — we know that this crisis will disproportionately affect them, especially in places with closer social ties, greater levels of poverty, fewer resources and more fragile healthcare systems.

During this period, LPGM will continue to support our partners and programs to ensure that all the women, girls, men and boys we serve have the resilience they need to get through this crisis and return to school in a safe and timely manner.

What LPGM is doing

  • LPGM staff in Minneapolis is in close contact with program and partner staff around the world to provide support and monitor the local situation.
  • In each boarding home, there are a couple of students who are staying on campus because they have no place to go. LPGM is ensuring these students are cared for during this crisis.
  • In our Minneapolis office we’re working and conducting meetings remotely, with individual staff stopping in the office to pick up mail or deposit donations as needed.
  • Following guidelines from the CDC, the WHO and the governor of Minnesota regarding office and work recommendations, both for our local office and our global partners.
A poster of "do's and don'ts" related to COVID-19, used by LPGM-sponsored boarding homes in the Kalrayan Hills of Tamil Nadu, India
A poster used by LPGM-sponsored boarding homes in the Kalrayan Hills of Tamil Nadu, India

How you might be affected

  • Communication with your sponsored student(s) will be delayed while schools are closed in India.
  • You may reach our voicemail instead of a person if you call our office number. We will be regularly monitoring voicemail to call you back as soon as possible.
  • Responding to emails, depositing checks and acknowledging your gifts may take longer than normal.

How you can help

  • Pray daily for the students and partners we serve globally, as well as for healthcare workers, scientists, government officials and all those who are working for the health and wellbeing of all people.
  • Write or send a photo to your sponsored student using the online form on our website. We’ll deliver your message as soon as students can return to the boarding homes.
  • Please give. More than ever, we need you. If you’re in a position to provide the most vulnerable of our neighbors with the necessary support they need, please make an additional gift today.

I know this is a difficult time for many of you, and I wouldn’t ask for more than you can give. But adequate funding ensures we can respond quickly and effectively to our partners’ needs. This crisis changes daily, and we’re working hard to ensure all people have the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.

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Give us this day our daily bread

In Luther’s Small Catechism, he describes “daily bread” in this petition of the Lord’s Prayer as inclusive of all those things we need to support a healthy life and body.

Today, we ask you to join with our global partners and pray for the healthy life and body of all people, especially those who are most vulnerable in this pandemic.

Please take a few minutes today to pray for wisdom, communication, and healing among all those involved with the fight against COVID-19.

Support this work

Your special gifts to Project Education India will help these and future programs that support the health and education of all the students who live and study in LPGM-sponsored boarding homes in India. Your ongoing funding helps us respond quickly and effectively as soon as needs arise.

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Author Dan Ruth

Dan Ruth is the executive director of LPGM and an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

More posts by Dan Ruth