[“SHARE” OCT – DEC 2018 ] FOCUS ~ Christian Response to Poverty
Written by: Raymond Kwong (CEDAR’s Chief Executive) and Jady Sit
In recent years, the international development sector began to emphasise the importance of human inner transformation for uprooting poverty. For instance, Cornell University Professor Kaushik Basu, who serves as the chief economist of World Bank from 2012 to 2016, shared in a public lecture, that no matter what kind of models of poverty alleviation is, one of the key factors to its success is whether people are willing to let go of some of their own interests or economic benefits and seek higher purposes, with which human being in general are common, and so, he advocates strengthening values education in society. This is about changing hearts and minds.
Impoverishment is a consequence of mankind’s broken relationship with God, with each other, and with the rest of the Creation. This broken relationship does not limited to the poor, but also to the non-poor. That is to say, for the sake of ending poverty, inner change has to happen with both the haves and the have-nots.
Interviewing and editing: Canace Chiu & Tsun Wan Yan
The rapid economic growth of India did not significantly reduce its population living in poverty. Although halved from the 90’s, the number of poor people living in India still reaches 600 million, with 300 to 400 million of them living under extreme poverty. The country is not spared from the plethora of social problems experienced by other developing countries, such as a large income gap and rural-urban migration. CEDAR hopes to share with you the stories that took place in the lesser known areas of India, and we wish you could remember the suffering people and God’s servants in your prayers in this New Year season.
If you put sheets of raw materials into grinders, weigh them and put them into molds, so on with a total of 22 steps, you would have produced the pads necessary for every woman during her menstrual period. Pushpa was able to learn these steps and sustain her family by selling self-made pads with the help of the Lydia Center in New Delhi, India.
About 1.8 million people in Delhi live in slums. Most of them used to live in villages and rural areas and migrated to the metropolis seeking for a better life. Yet, the slums are overcrowded, unhygienic and lack basic amenities. Most dwellers cannot find regular work as they do not an official identification. These realities shatter their “sweet home” dreams.
Living in a home without much free space is always a hot topic in Hong Kong. High population density and rising land prices make people moan and groan. However when relating to the slum families in India, those in India are suffering from many other problems apart from having no free space. Currently there are 65 million slum dwellers in India who make a very low income and thus every day have to struggle with desperate living conditions, insecure environment, and very limited healthcare protection and education resources.
SATHI conducts the project in a slum area at the outer skirts of Dhaka. There are 7000 families in the area who came from different parts of the country with different cultures and religions, mostly Islamic and Hindu. There is no homogeneity among the residents who do not have any sense to improve their community in concert. Other social problems like child labors, lack of sanitation, bullying & harassment, alcoholic and drug abuses and gambling are not uncommon in the area.
The project aims at emphasizing people’s ownership, community development and sustainability. CEDAR works with SATHI to encourage 1500 individuals to participate in the development activities which enhance their creativity and capability in decision making. They form self-help groups with their own leadership to set goals for the development of the area. Skill trainings in leadership, management and accounting are provided. By way of saving-based programs, the groups set up funds for small business or use in emergency. In addition, project staff conducts healthcare classes and leads discussions on justice and rights issues for the community.