Posts Tagged ‘India’

Mother Teresa Inspires Still

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Dear Friend,

Monsignor Andrew Landi, who served with CRS for over 35 years, is greeted by Mother Teresa and her charges at one of her welfare centers in Calcutta. Photo by CRS Staff

Monsignor Andrew Landi, who served with CRS for over 35 years, is greeted by Mother Teresa and the children of one of her welfare centers in Calcutta. Photo by CRS Staff

In the 1950s, Monsignor Alfred Schneider, who was director of Catholic Relief Services’ work in India, kept hearing about a nun working in the slums of Calcutta. Father Al, as he was known, was curious about this woman, who was also helping the poor.

One day, while visiting makeshift schools CRS supported there, he noticed children gathered around a nun, chatting cheerfully.

“I went over to find out who she was, and when she looked at me I knew. This had to be Mother Teresa,” Father Al wrote in his memoir My Brother’s Keeper. “Christ was in her face—in her shining eyes, in the lines of patience and laughter around her mouth, in the ineffable glow of love which surrounded her.”


India Polio Free: A World Health Breakthrough

Friday, January 10th, 2014

India polio

In Uttar Pradesh in northern India, cases of polio were reported in 2010. Because of misconceptions, some parents are skeptical about the polio vaccine and other vaccinations. A Catholic Relief Services program informs parents of the benefits and encourages them to immunize their children. Photo by Laura Sheahen/CRS

India – once considered the hardest place to eradicate polio – celebrates three years without a single “wild” case of the disease.

The milestone opens the World Health Organization to declaring India officially polio free.

India is now a case study for how to mount a successful disease response effort under the most complex circumstances. India’s triumph over polio is a significant public health achievement, leaving a lasting impact on children’s health in India and around the world.

Health officials say it’s now clear that the disease can be eliminated in even the most challenging of circumstances.

India’s success provides confidence, inspiration, and technical guidance for stopping polio in the three remaining countries where polio has never been stopped – Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.

Capitalizing on India’s achievement to end polio globally and protect the health of children everywhere for generations to come should be a high priority for the global community.

Official WHO certification is set for late March and a high-level celebration is planned for 11 February. India’s third polio-free year provides an opportunity to recognize the importance of India’s achievement, highlight the power of vaccines and encourage continued political and financial support for polio eradication.

Worth noting: The few cases that did occur in India in the past 3 years were caused by a rare mutation of the weakened but live virus in the oral polio vaccine (OPV) that can cause paralysis. This happens to 1 out of every 2.7 million children receiving a first dose of OPV.

CRS works to eradicate polio as part of the CORE Group Polio Project.

Related CRS information

Battling Polio On the Streets of India

At the Crossroads in the Polio Wars

Rescuing Children from India’s Sweatshops

Friday, July 1st, 2011
India sweatshops

Children at Mukti Ashram, a center for exploited children run by CRS partner Bachpan Bachao Andolan. At the ashram, children receive counseling and care before being reunited with their families. Photo courtesy of Bachpan Bachao Andolan

Salim, now 11, was about 8 when he ran away from his rural home in India. His father had started beating him, and there wasn’t money for school. A man from his village assured Salim he could find him a good job-so he went.

But like thousands of India’s children, Salim ended up in a sweatshop-in this case, a zari (embroidery) factory making items for foreigners. Salim would start at eight in the morning and worked late, sometimes until midnight, in a dingy room without windows. He lived and ate in the factory, and at night he slept along with other children on floor. His bosses beat him and scolded him for making minor mistakes. As a “trainee,” Salim received 50 rupees-one dollar-a week.

Salim’s servitude lasted two years. But when he was ten, a Catholic Relief Services partner, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), rescued him and hundreds of other childrenworking in factories. Following leads to find sweatshops and raid them, BBA workers put themselves in harm’s way to save children; in one case this year, they were beaten during a raid.

Women with HIV Working for a Future in India

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
Women working with HIV in India

Women living with HIV learn skills such as sewing and tailoring during a six month program at a teaching center in India. Photo by Stephen Cunliffe for CRS

Freelance writer Steve Cunliffe reports on a CRS program for HIV-affected women in India:

“Two years ago my husband ran off and I was forced to take my two children and move back to my parent’s home. Last year I became very ill; I was supposed to die, but God saved me. After recovering, I decided that I needed to improve my life and circumstances for the sake of my children,” says 30-year-old Sumati. “A friend brought me to Bosco Mangaal, where I received further antiretroviral treatment until I was healthy and strong enough to begin training in tailoring.”

Mangaal, meaning ‘light’ in the local language, seems a very apt name for a social services partner of a major Catholic Relief Services HIV project in India, LIFE AID. Women living with HIV learn skills such as sewing and tailoring at their teaching center. The six-month training program culminates with an opportunity for the most skilled, committed and productive ladies to band together and form a co-op that receives ongoing support, such as interest-free loans and marketing assistance, from Bosco Mangaal.

India’s AIDS Orphans Catch Up on Classes

Monday, February 7th, 2011

“The sisters are like our parents. I love this place and am very happy here. I want to stay, but soon I will be ready to go because I will be done with class five.”

Nelson*, 13, lost both his parents and a sister to HIV-related illness. After the death of his parents, Nelson and his siblings were sent to live with relatives. Severe financial constraints forced all the children to drop out of school; however, after his younger sister succumbed to AIDS, child welfare finally intervened. When they discovered that he too was HIV-positive, Nelson was referred to Carmel Jyoti Care Centre and enrolled in the Breeze Course School, a part of Catholic Relief Services Project LIFE AID, which helps vulnerable children catch up on schoolwork they may have missed.

Sister Regina explained, “Carmel Jyoti cares for HIV-infected and -affected children. Almost every child you see here is an orphan. The Breeze Course School, staffed by nuns, operates on a five-class system that takes the young students two to three years to complete. The aim is not only to equip these children academically, but also socially, for reintegration into regular schools by the time they complete their final exams at the end of class five. Upon completion of the Breeze Course, the children return to their relatives, ready to continue their schooling in the local community.”

In Northern India, CRS Fights Flooding on Two Fronts

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
Flooding in India

Traveling by car, by boat, and on foot, CRS and its diocesan partner teams have already reached hundreds of families with buckets, water purification tablets, soap and more. Photo by CRS Staff

Catholic Relief Services continues to respond to severe flooding in two areas of northern India, where thousands of people have lost homes, crops, livestock and more.

Earlier this month, major rivers overflowed in an area called Uttar Pradesh, flooding hundreds of villages and breaching embankments. Thousands of people were evacuated to government relief centers and thousands of acres of crops were submerged. Though some villagers have returned home, many have lost property.

“At a time when the monsoons are normally coming to an end, weather forecasts continue to predict substantial rainfall, and additional flooding in the coming days,” says Deepti Pant, State Representative for CRS India in Uttar Pradesh. “Inhabitants of the area are on high alert.”

In a region called Uttarakhand, which like Uttar Pradesh is near Nepal, continuous rain has caused heavy flooding and landslides for the last four days. Over 500 miles of highway are blocked in different places, cutting the area off from supplies from major cities like Delhi. The rains, floods, and landslides have also disrupted power supplies, water sources and communication in the area. Many homes collapsed from the rains and floods, and in areas near a major dam, some houses are submerged. If the dam overflows, massive damage is expected.

To keep villagers in Uttar Pradesh from getting sick from polluted water, CRS has been distributing hygiene kits with buckets, water purification tablets, soap and more. Traveling by car, by boat, and on foot, CRS and its diocesan partner teams have already reached hundreds of families. In Uttar Pradesh, CRS also plans to build bathing cubicles and temporary latrines. In Uttarakhand, CRS is working with its diocesan partners to assess what people need.

“The monsoon rains this year in Uttar Pradesh have been heavy, steady and relentless,” says Ms. Pant. “People are going to need a lot of help.”

–Compiled from field reports

CRS Staffer Rescues Woman From India’s Floodwaters

Monday, September 20th, 2010
Rescue in India

In the Gonda area of northern India, CRS staffer Elizabeth Tromans guides a woman she rescued from the floodwaters. The woman fell off her husband’s bicycle into rushing water and was pulled under; Elizabeth, a former lifeguard, jumped in to save her. Floods have affected thousands of people in this area of India. Photo by CRS staff

On the morning of Sunday September 19, Elizabeth Tromans, a Catholic Relief Services Fellow in northern India and a former lifeguard, was hiking with a CRS team to get humanitarian aid supplies to flood survivors in an area called Uttar Pradesh. She says:

“We were on our way to distribute kits to clean water. We went as far as the car would allow. Then we took a boat, and then we walked 2 or 3 kilometers [about 1.5 miles]. In between, there were a few areas where the road was washed out or there was standing water.

“We came to a road with a bridge that was washed out. We crossed over that in about knee-deep water–it was rushing pretty quickly. On the other side, we stopped because a phone was ringing in my backpack.

“I turned back and saw a man coming by bicycle with his wife on the back. He pedaled into the water. I thought, ‘What is this guy doing?!’ The current was strong; you couldn’t see the road underneath.

Pulled from the Wreckage: Surviving India’s Storm

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

CRS is helping people whose homes were destroyed by a severe storm that hit northeast India in April. Here, CRS India staff share one family’s story:

Mrs. Azgari Begum, 65, lives in a thatched house with her son, daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren. All the family members were sleeping in the house on April 13th. When a powerful storm and heavy rains started around midnight, the family members took shelter under one wooden cot. As the force of the wind increased, they felt that the thatched, mud-plaster walls of their house were trembling and might fall at any time.


Supplying India Flood Survivors

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
India flood

In southeastern India, villagers whose homes were destroyed or damaged by flooding receive CRS-funded plastic water jars, water purification tablets, pots pans, tarps, rope, and more. Severe flooding struck in early October, 2009. Catholic Relief Services is funding the aid items to 7,400 families in this area alone, and helping many more in nearby Karnataka. The government of India is providing some food rations. Photo by Laura Sheahen/CRS

India Flood: Sisters Are Lifeline of Care Amid Desperate Poverty

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
Flood relief

Catholic Relief Services is distributing aid items to flood victims. The aid packages include kitchenware like pots and plates; sleeping mats and blankets; soap, detergent, and water purification tablets. Photo by Laura Sheahen/CRS

Sixteen-year-old Renuka works twelve hours a day in a garbage dump in southern India, sorting cans, bottles, and glass. Each day she earns about 80 cents, enough to bring a few pounds of rice home to her family’s house in a slum area of the city of Adoni. Her parents don’t work, so she and her sister support the family by working at the dump. She sifts through a lot of trash, but says the needles don’t poke her.

Renuka could take Sunday off if she didn’t need the money, but she does—so she works every day. She took the day off on Tuesday this week, however, to travel two and a half hours to receive a package of aid items from CRS. Most of the beneficiaries live closer to the CRS distribution site, but Renuka and others from Adoni were added to the beneficiary list: not only is she HIV-positive, but her family’s home was destroyed in a devastating flood that hit India a few weeks ago.

It’s a triple whammy of crushing misfortune: impoverished, sick, and now virtually homeless, this teenager’s life seems impossibly grim. Renuka has someone on her side, though: a short, determined woman named Sister Lilly Lobo.