In the June 2020 newsletter from the Diocese of Durgapur of the Church of North India, there are updates on the various responses to COVID-19 in the community.
The newsletter shares an update on the Anti-Human Trafficking program, which has been offering relief to migrant workers returning from neighboring states and have been placed in quarantine centers for 14 days upon arrival back to Durgapur. Additionally, the Diocese of Durgapur newsletter shares on how they have been providing kits of food, soap, and presents for children at the safe homes of the Diocese, as well as several other responses within the community.Read more
Jayaraj, 59, and his son Fenix, 31, were arrested and subjected to brutal torture that resulted in death, in Tuticorin, South India on June 19, 2020 by the Sathankulam police in Tuticorin, South India. Their offense was violating coronavirus lockdown rules by keeping their mobile phone store open 15 minutes beyond curfew.Read more
During my visit to Bangladesh, I visited Climate Technology Park. This is a project of Global Ministries partner, The Christian Commission of Bangladesh (CCDB), and it is something that has never been done anywhere else in the world. Climate resiliency and climate education are the goals for this project.
"The Climate Centre is a unique place, located at Sreepur, 60 km north of Dhaka. The Climate Centre offers visitors exciting learning, research, and capacity building opportunities on climate change, climate adaptation, and mitigation. It uses interactive learning methods and demonstrates more than 50 technologies that are suitable for poor rural communities. The Climate Centre, which is still under construction, consists of a Climate Technology Park, a Learning Centre, and a Climate Campus."
CCDB works toward building climate-resilient communities through reducing risk, creating sustainable income-generating options, and introducing climate adaptive agriculture. The Bangladesh Lighthouse Project and Climate Technology Park are among some of the initiatives of CCDB. They are keen on using adaptive technology to help low-income communities. The people of Bangladesh deal with water erosion, drought, monsoons, and other climate change issues.
I was able to see first-hand how the resources and techniques being taught at the Climate Technology Park are directly helping men and women who are fishers and farmers. Periodic and severe flooding during monsoons has grown in frequency and intensity due to global warming and many people in Bangladesh are directly impacted. Climate change and severe weather issues impact the lives and livelihoods of Bangladeshi people.
Climate Technology Park is an initiative by CCDB to exhibit innovative, sustainable, low-cost technology effective for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The park is intended to be a hub for innovative climate change techniques that help farmers and fishers.
To read more information on Climate Technology Park click here.
The Church of the American Ceylon Mission (CACM) strives to provide educational, medical, and social services throughout Sri Lanka. They focus on educational opportunities for children and youth in impoverished communities to help them escape the cycle of poverty. CACM provides services through early childhood programs, after school programs, and vocational training for children and youth. CACM also has a special project for the victims of civil war in the Wanni region.
Wanni and Jaffna have been deeply affected by the civil war. Today, over 40,000 land mines are still left in the region. In addition to being deeply impacted by the war, people in the region are experiencing water scarcity and extreme levels of drought. Churches are doing their best to provide assistance and resources for communities in such dire situations.
The youth groups in local churches help guide and develop children and youth as they navigate these difficult circumstances. Many children come from families that are victims of the civil war. Some of the children have grown up in concentration camps or their mothers are widows. Their families have been fractured by the war. The local churches provide funds to help children pursue education. I was able to sit down and speak with Mani Luke John of CACM who shared, "The youth groups are able to come together for support and encouragement and to discuss their futures."
The goal of CACM is to empower children and youth by helping them receive education and their basic human rights. The ministry accomplishes this goal by providing daycare, evening classes, leadership training, sports, activities, nutritious meals, and school supplies. During the summer camps and youth programs, CACM is hoping to develop this generation into a group that works to heal, grow, pursue higher education, and fulfill jobs through vocational development.
During my visit to Sri Lanka, I visited a preschool program supported by the Church of the American Ceylon Mission (CACM). I saw clearly how the support of Global Ministries goes beyond providing resources for educational needs to providing good food for nutritional needs as well. In some cases, the meals the children eat while at preschool are their only meals throughout the day. Most of the families in this region do not have fathers as many of the men were killed during the civil war in Sri Lanka. In addition to being deeply impacted by war, people in the region are experiencing water scarcity and extreme levels of drought. Churches are doing their best to provide assistance and resources for struggling communities.
Parents and loved ones in this community are deeply invested in the children. Women from the community have signed up to help assist with daycare programs to help enrich and develop this generation of children. Teachers from the community give all they can to ensure the next generation is better off than the one before them. CACM strives to provide education, food, water, medical, and social services throughout Sri Lanka. CACM hopes that through the support of Global Ministries they will be able to provide the necessary needs for the communities they serve.
Christians make up a small percentage of the population in Sri Lanka. Global Ministries partners are involved in national reconciliation in this ethnically and religiously divided nation. In the aftermath of a lengthy civil war, partners in the church in Sri Lanka seek to provide community development, interfaith dialogue, and relief and rehabilitation to those affected by the violence. The majority of the population is from the Sinhalese ethnicity, while the Tamils make up the rest of the population. The large disparity between the two ethnicities has played a major role in the history and instability of Sri Lanka. The areas of Wanni and Jaffna are deeply affected by the war. Today over 40,000 land minds still remain in the region.
While traveling to the region, I met a man named S. Kanthaiya Thampaiya lost hope after he lost his leg from one of the many grenades left in the Wanni region. He is unable to continue working as a fisherman because of his injury. Kanthaiya lives in an impoverished community. Many of the women in his community are widows and the area is ravaged by drought. Churches in the regions are finding that the negatives effects of war can be generational. Global Ministries partner, the Church of the American Ceylon Mission (CACM) works to provide resources to widows, families, and children affected by the war and violence. CACM created an afterschool program for children that works to provide healing for victims of war and deals with issues of trauma. Unable to work, Kanthaiya handed over his fishing business to his children and began to volunteer at one of the after school programs in his community that was supported by CACM. CACM didn't turn Kanthaiya away because he was a Muslim. The church community formed a genuine relationship with Kanthaiya and he began to see how much the church cared for his community.
After time had passed and he began to build genuine relationships with people such as Rev. Kamal with CACM, Kanthaiya gave his life to Christ and converted to Christianity. Vishwanathan saw that CACM was living out the gospel of Jesus to serve people. Rev. Kamal believes, "You have to be the gospel for others to believe it." Kanthaiya found hope in working in the community and helping to care for children.
Rev. Kamal made a deep impact on this man. The local fisherman was able to see how deeply the church loved the community. Their friendship has blossomed over the years and developed into something amazing. Romans 12:10 tells us to "Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." It is clear that no matter the programmatic work of CACM, the church is devoted to building relationships in the community that have a lifelong impact.
While in Sri Lanka, I traveled to a city called Batticaloa. There, I visited Global Ministries partner, The Church of the American Ceylon Mission, where I visited with men and women who are directly impacted by microcredit programs. Microcredit programs are opportunities for people living in extreme poverty access to a small amount of capital to start their own business. Microcredit programs lend small amounts of money at low interest to new businesses in the developing world.
While on this journey I gained a friend named Rev. Jude. He works at a children’s home in Sri Lanka. Rev. Jude took me to meet people whose lives have been transformed after receiving microcredits. Those impacted include fishers, farmers, a store owner, and a peanut farmer. Microcredit loans provide an opportunity for women who are single or widowed to have a source of income and opportunity. One, in particular, is Kirubathas Premila. She is a member of the Valarvily self-help group. Innashi received a loan to open up a peanut farm which can be very lucrative in Sri Lanka. Peanuts are very popular in Sri Lanka and being able to sell them wholesale can provide great financial freedom. The microcredit loan she received has allowed her to start her own business and help those in her community.
Microcredit programs do not just help the individual. They also help small communities. This young woman is like many people in her community who have been given an opportunity. People who receive microcredit loans in her group find ways to support one another. When we visited her farm, her neighbors came over and welcomed us and spoke about how they support one another so that each person can succeed, which will allow another person to be given the same opportunity.
We ended our four-year term of service with our partners, the Protestant Church of East Timor (IPTL), on March 1. Our departure from Lospalos was bittersweet. Friends who have become our Timor family from Imanuel Clinic and Imanuel Church saw us off on the afternoon of our departure from Lospalos.Read more
Sermey Thoesam School is a Child and Elder Sponsorship center located in Karnataka, India. The school was founded in 1976 under the guidance of the re-established Sera-Mey Monastery. The school provides full-time education for children from families living in challenging circumstances, orphans, and newly arrived refugees from Tibet. Today, there are now more than 300 students, aged from 5 to 17 years, who receive formal education using Tibetan and Hindi languages to prepare students for future opportunities.Read more
UPDATE JUNE 10
Bombay Urban Industrial League for Development (BUILD), India is an organization that works tirelessly for the “pavement dwellers” in and around Mumbai, India5214. “Pavement dweller” is a term used to identify people that do not have a home that they either rent space in or own. They don’t all live outside on the pavement as this term implies. They live in slums, abandoned buildings, unused rail stations, and makeshift camps.Read more