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.
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.
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.