Tackling systems of injustice in India
India has the third highest number of millionaires in the world, hot on the heels of the US and China. It’s also home to more than 270 million people who live on less than $2 a day (US). Pretty clearly, it’s a country of extremes of wealth: millions have benefited hugely from the tech industry, yet it’s still the country with the highest number of people in the world who don’t have access to clean drinking water.
Teaching people how to tackle this stark injustice and inequality is key to overcoming poverty. Education, for example, is universal and free, but some sections of the population are overlooked and real access to equal schooling remains a pipedream. Women are theoretically considered equal but they experience violence at high rates and are hugely over-represented among the very poor. Economic, legal and political systems need a major overhaul if any of this is to change.
This is where our partners, the Church of North India, are helping people take a stand. Where children are excluded from school, or where there aren’t enough teachers, they’re training community workers to educate families about their rights, get their kids into school and lobby for trained teachers. Where water supplies aren’t correctly installed they’re organising people to politely but firmly insist they’re properly serviced. They’re teaching families to understand their own health and apply for government vaccinations and health services; where small grants are available to seed business opportunities, they’re equipping communities – especially women – to step up and be entrepreneurial.
“Community Development workers in Durgapur and Amritsar are strengthening the voices of people who have traditionally been only heard in whispers, if at all,” says Project Manager Laura McGilvray.
“That’s important because a seat at the table is what makes a difference to people if they want to change their futures. Our church partners know that to reset the balance of power, people have to be educated and confident to take on systems of injustice. That means more than just giving them access to clean water or food or school. It means giving people the tools, long term, to challenge the whole system of inequality in their culture.”
When you give to Lent Event, you’re supporting long-term change in India, not short- term handouts. You’re equipping passionate, intelligent people in communities who want to give their children well-rounded education; women who are eager to support themselves through small businesses; men who are passionate about learning better irrigation and farming techniques. Together, these communities are working toward overcoming structures that have kept them disadvantaged for generations.