March 3rd – April 3rd, 2014
During this season, many agricultural labourers in Andhra Pradesh are at risk of starvation because there is no work. To help them, ICM, along with Paya Lebar Methodist Church of Singapore and Communion of Covenant Churches, held an emergency rice distribution.
Communion of Covenant Churches identified the highest-risk families in the slums and villages of Krishna District, Paya Lebar Methodist Church raised funds, and ICM facilitated the distribution. Each 25-kg back will feed a family for a month, and 400 bags were distributed, feeding around 2400 people. These were the villages that received rice: Nehru Pet, Potharra Padu, Nagvarappadu, Sobhanadhri Purnam, Kothuru, Ganguru, Uddhandarayuni Palem, and Ibrahim Patnam.
This came from a recent World Racer working with ICM, Jenny Kuehn, on what India was teaching her. You can read her entire blog here.
Counting the Cost.
When your feeling uncomfortable or things don’t seem to go the way you had imagine them, just remember: those are the moments that reveal where we need to grow.
“And you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.” Hebrews 10-34
When we realize the reward it doesn’t seem like sacrifice.
As I write this, it is the 8th of March, International Women’s Day. However, as far as our nation is concerned, it feels like a huge farce. Appreciation for women rings hollow in a country where girls are killed inside their mother’s wombs simply because of their gender; where, even if they survive, they are abandon somewhere; where every moment they are treated as second class to males and receives less food, education, medical care, and still does the majority of the work. All her life, an Indian woman is told she belongs to someone: her father, husband, or even her son. And this doesn’t even include the horrific abuses like rape, acid attacks, honour killings, and other forms of abuse that stalk every woman in India.
Survey after survey has revealed that India is still one of the worst places in the world for women. Despite attempts at modernization and equality, sexual violence and extreme gender inequality are some of the worst in Asia.
ICM celebrated International Women’s Day with a rally and city walk to honor the women of India. They also distributed 30 sarees to poor widow women. It was held in Ongole, Prakasam District, under the leadership of ICM Director James Rebbavarapu on March 8, 2014. DTC-DSP Mr. Ashok Kumar’s wife, Sneha lata garu joined us as the chief guest, speaking about women’s rights. She said it was about time we stopped accepting abuse as a way of life, and that until we can treat women with dignity, India does not deserve to be called a democracy.
Indians take great pride in their so-called values, where women are expected to dress and behave in a certain way. Sneha said, however, that these expectations are not Indian by any stretch of the imagination, but 19th Century Victorian English values, known for their narrow-mindedness and conservatism. She called for India to move into the 21st century, where everyone is treated as equal, as the Indian Constitution promises, irrespective of their gender, religion, caste, skin color, or creed.
Sneha also appreciated ICM and its leadership, saying that ICM is the best social service organization for the poor and needy people in Ongole, Prakasam.
ICM would like to sincerely thank all of the great women who have helped advance God’s kingdom, especially those in the office staff, volunteers with our CCDC, SCH and international volunteers.
Because of heavy rainfall and floods during the rainy season, water tends to stand and stagnate. Poor drainage and bad roads contribute towards a very fertile environment for deadly mosquitoes. During this season, a lot of people are attacked with Malaria, Chikungunya, Dengue fever, etc, because of the mosquitoes.
ICM conducted awareness training in the villages during the season, encouraging people to use nets, coils, liquids, and creams. It included the proper clothing to wear. They also gave training on how to discourage mosquitoes from breeding by clearing out stagnant water pools that are near the home. Pamphlets were also given out at each of these seminars.
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 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.