This was a part of awareness training given to all ICM volunteers in 2013. This series of posts will focus on the demons that India is facing, and has been facing, for many years.
Especially in rural areas of Andhra Pradesh, daughters are viewed as a burden, not a blessing. The dowry system forces a girl’s family to pay the boy’s family a large price at the wedding. Horrible, horrible things can happen if the girl’s family refuses to pay. Also, girls are never a good source of income. They cannot support themselves, and, until marriage, are completely reliant upon their families. Especially in the villages, modern ideas like a woman working respectfully and even literacy haven’t caught on.
As a result, women are actually afraid to give birth to female children. They will often kill them. Oftentimes, this is encouraged or even forced by the mother and father-in-law. Because of this entire attitude, India’s female-to-male ratio, especially in rural areas, is as little as 6 to 10 (only 6 females for every 10 males born), according to the 2011 Census.
In 2013, ICM campaigned throughout Andhra Pradesh among the volunteers, villagers, and especially those who help with birthing. ICM tried to bring awareness of this issue and why it is wrong. We will continue to educate, bring awareness, and show the love of Jesus to these areas. It is our hope and prayer that one day the killing of girl children will be stopped altogether.
On the 26th of January, India Christian Ministries was recognized for its work for social justice with an award for the Best Social Service. The award was given by the Prakasam District Collector, a division of the government of A.P, India.
ICM Director Mr. James Rebbavarapu accepted this award on behalf of ICM and all the staff, partnerships, and volunteers who made it possible.
The Inheritance Scholarship Awards Programme was held at the head ICM office in Ongole, under the leadership of Mr. James Rebbavarapu, ICM Director, on the 18th of February. Thirty-seven children and their guardians attended, along with the chief guest, Mr. I. Prakash Kumar, Assistant Joint Collector for the Prakasam District.
So far, ICM has distributed 492 scholarships to poor children, who earn them through exceptional performance. Each student is given 3,000/- rupees (around $50 USD) annually to help give them access to an education that would be impossible without this scholarship.
Education is vital in stopping the vicious cycle of poverty in India. Many rural and persistently poor do not see the value in education. It is expensive and doesn’t put rice on the table today. Many simply cannot afford it when they are struggling to feed their families every day. However, an educated child can not only make a more reliable income in the future, but they can also feed their entire families through this income. Instead of simply repeating the life of their parents, they can change the entire status of their family line.
Mr. Prakash Kumar encouraged the children to use the scholarship properly and only for their studies so that they will come up with a bright future. He also commended and thanked ICM and Mr. Rebbavarapu for their support of child education.
On January 27, 2014, ICM showed love to 350 poor and street children who attend school by giving them good shoes. This was a late Christmas for these children, many of whom have never had a good pair of shoes. It happened at ICM headquarters at Gandhinagar, Ongole, under the leadership of Mr. James Rebbavarapu, director of ICM.
One of the costs of poverty is that items like shoes are neglected. Poor children do without or wear very cheap or worn shoes, only when necessary. This distribution helps close the gap between what the rich can afford and what the poor cannot afford. The children were given the same good shoes as the rich children can buy. This made them very happy and also shows them that they are just as valuable as their wealthy schoolmates.
The chief guest was Mr. M.S.S. Ashok Babu, Deputy Superintendent of Police. He praised ICM for their kindness and care for these poor children. Mr. Rebbavarapu added that ICM always tries to fill the needs of the most vulnerable, especially children, in society. He said that education and health were one of the most important physical needs.
The programme was led with songs, games, and cultural activities for the children, who enjoyed the event very much.
India Christian Ministries, along with Run 4 Rice and Communion of Covenant Churches, stretched out a helping hand in the month of January, 2014, in the form of rice for the poorest of the poor. Covenant pastors and others working in the slums selected the most vulnerable and needy families (around 700 people) for this emergency relief in order to stop starvation. They were selected out of Kukunur of Madak District, Gaddapaka of Karimnagar District, and Kottapeta of Madek District.
Rice is a staple food in India. A $13 bag of rice can feed a family of six for almost a month, yet among the poorest of poor, $13 is too much. Pastors with Covenant Churches and slum workers chose the people in their districts who were the most in need and partnered with ICM and Run 4 Rice to take care of them this month.
ICM Director Mr. James Rebbavarapu assured the people that whenever ICM had the funds, they would always try to give holistic support where it was needed most, and that ICM staff, along with Covenant Churches, will always strive to help the poor and needy.
India Christian Ministries distributed sarees to the poor women of Ongole, Prakasam district, on the 16th of December, 2013. It is the custom of ICM to hold a free saree distribution for the poor women before Christmas. These women need new clothing, but often neglect themselves because they want to make sure their children and husbands have nice clothing. Simply giving them special clothing makes them feel valued and loved.
Mr. Ashok Kumar (DTC-DSP) joined in the occasion as chief guest, along with ICM Director James Rebbavarapu. Mr. Kumar gave warm appreciation to ICM and Mr. Rebbavarapu for the distribution.
In the rural areas of the Kurnool district, a flood hit in November, 2013 due to severe rainfall. The Brahmana Kotkur village, about 20 km away from Kurnool, was badly hit. and many people lost everything in the disaster. ICM distributed 60 bags of rice (25 kgs each) to 60 families on December 3rd.
This distribution will help keep these villagers alive while they try to put their lives back together. Without it, recovering would have been an extremely difficult process.
The next day, ICM went on to help another village, Bhaskarapuram (35 km away from Kurnool headquarters), which was also badly affected by the flood. The poor there did not even have proper clothes to wear, so ICM distributed 270 sarees.
ICM believes that loving and caring for people is one of the highest commandments of Jesus. Therefore, regardless of religion, ICM seeks out those in need and tries to fill those needs.
In the wake of flooding in Ongole in November, 2013, ICM helped with distribution of food, clothing, and also blankets. Many families lost everything in this flood, which was caused by heavy rain. On November 5th, 2013 ICM continued to help these victims by giving blankets to those who have lost theirs to the heavy rain.
ICM Director Mr. James Rebbavarapu spoke to many residents about the flooding and expressed his concern for those affected. Because of ICM’s concern for those in need, they have distributed rice to the same flood victims. Due to the change in weather since the flood, ICM decided this was a great opportunity to also give blankets to the poor and less fortunate.
This takes care of their physical needs and also helps them to feel that someone loves and cares for them. ICM believes in caring for others, regardless of their religion, the way Jesus cared for people.
The distribution took place at Sriram Colony, Chaitnaya colony, and other colonies. ICM is here for community development, to help those in need and show them love.