In Kerala, in the South of India, there live most of Christian Indians. Ca. 20% of the population are Christians, which is very high in comparison with most of all other Indian regions. From there come most of the Christian Sisters and Brothers working all over India – as priests, fathers, social workers, sisters and brothers.
One is the Gharwal region in the North, where they have started more than 30 years ago to build up schools, dispenseries and social programmes, even in the most remote parts of the Himalayas. Their engagement, esp. in health, education and social work has a huge impact on the population.
I have spent a few days with the Karuna society of development and visited several projects and institutions, even in the areas where disasters as the Himalayan tsunami from 2013 has happened. Due to their immediate support and local network they could reach where other organisations couldn’t. They risked to bring medicines in the most remote and dangerous areas at that time. The schools they have set up are well accepted as the educational level is rather high. Due to low fees it is accessible even to the poor. In the high mountain villages Karuna society started children clubs, agricultural and awareness programs and care about disabled children in their convents.
We have seen caring institutions of mentally and physically ill children also in other parts of the Gharwal, even integrated teaching institutions. These children wouldn’t have survived without the sisters’ and fathers’ support as the parents are often ashamed and just leave them in railway stations, on the roads and in the woods.
Another big project by the dioceses is going to become reality: a hospital with some modern equipment that will mainly help the poor people to get a high quality health support when needed. For low cost. A visionary approach!
I was very impressed by all these activities and the way on how they collaborate with each other. A big community, friendship and trust in God.
On the day trip to Ghat we stopped every two hours. Sisters expected us with tea and food. A lot of food …
On the last day I was invited even by the bishop for a dinner. Whoever had the opportunity to meet a bishop in Europe if not part of the clerics? It was impressive to know and talk to him. Funny that he had came just from Germany and had spent the day before in my home town with sisters working in a hospital there.
The world is big, but people’s dedication and care as demonstrated by these Christians can make it even very small and cosy.
Wishing Karuna and the fathers, sisters and brothers all the best. I hope that one day we will meet again!
We are still looking for some financial support to develop further projects in the mountain region. If you are interested to learn more, please contact.