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Bangalore: Caritas India Promotes 1 Lac Village-based People's Groups in 50 Years


Bangalore: Caritas India Promotes 1 Lac Village-based People's Groups in 50 Years

From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network - Bangalore

Bangalore, Oct 12: Caritas India, the social action group of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), New Delhi, has been instrumental in promoting about a lac village-based people’s groups across the country through its partner organisations during the last 50 years.

Caritas India, which is celebrating its Golden Jubilee by organising a two-day workshop on ''Rights Based Approach for the Integral Development of the Society through Better Governance” of about 100 delegates comprising representatives of partner organisations, experts, social activists, community leaders and government officials at John’s Medial College Auditorium on October 12 and 13, has taken the lead in protecting the rights of the unorganized segments of people.

Addressing a news conference on the various activities of Caritas India since its formation in 1963, Caritas India Chairman Bishop Dr Peter Remigius, said ensuring the right to work and food to the primary stake-holders, intensive implementation of MNERGA to meet the unemployment crisis, participation in National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to address health needs, ensuring smooth functioning of public distribution system were the major activities of the organization in the country.

The major interventions of Caritas India during the last 50 years, according to Bishop Remigius have been the Bangladesh Refugee Relief and Rehabilitation work in 1971, Uttarakashi earthquake in 1991, Latur earthquake 1993, Andhra Pradesh cyclone 1996. Orissa super cycle 1999, Gujarat earthquake 2001, the Tsunami devastation in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala of 2004, Jammu and Kashmir earthquake 2005, Bihar floods 2007, Kosi river breach, Bihar 2008, Khandamal communal riots of Orissa 2008, Aila cyclone devastation of West Bengal 2009, Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh flood havoc 2009 and the Leh cloud burst havoc of last year.


Leading NGO in Disaster Management

Bishop Remigius said Caritas India has been recognised by the Government of India as a leading NGO in disaster response for its efforts in relief, rehabilitation and follow-up development programs and HIV/AIDS p ention programs, Malaria Eradication Programmes in North East and Bihar state. Over 20,000 houses had been constructed in different states as part of the relief and rehabilitation works taken up by Caritas India through its partner organisations.

Pointing out that Caritas India believes in providing compassion and love to humanity irrespective of the caste, creed or colour of the beneficiaries, Bishop Remigius explained that over 95 per cent of the beneficiaries were non-Christians. ''We simply rush to help the needy and work for formation of a just and sustaining social order nurturing the values of love, equality and peace,” he said.

Archbishop of Bangalore Dr Bernard Moras mentioned that Karnataka Region Social Service Society (KROSS), which is the implementation agency for Caritas India’s activities for the 13 different dioceses in the State, said barely 11 out of the 420 houses that have been already built and handed over to the beneficiaries in the State’s worst-ever flood havoc of 2009 were Christians and 17 were Muslims while all the rest were non-Christians. The same situation p ailed at the national level too with bulk of the beneficiaries belonging to non-Christian groups.

In Karnataka, Caritas India reaches out to about 4,500 villages of 153 taluks through its partner organisations to protect the rights of unorganized segments of the people and has supported 1,405 projects involving an outlay of over Rs 31 crore, said Fr Frederick D’Souza, Designated Executive Director of Caritas India.

He said Caritas India had signed an MoU with Bihar government recently for training its Asha workers in NRHM activities in 10 districts.

Fr Peter Brank, KROSS Director, said out of the 300 organisations supported by Caritas India 20 were from the State and 40 out of the 500 ongoing development projects were in Karnataka. Over 800 staff and 1500 volunteers were engaged in the service of the poor and marginalized in the state, he said.

Caritas India has planned a series of programmes and many initiatives to commemorate the Golden Jubilee year (1962-2012), including national workshops on various thematic issues besides organising ten regional level celebrations to enlighten the people and create an awareness on the various activities.

'3-D Approach' Needed: Dr Shalini Rajneesh

Earlier in the day, the inaugural function of the Golden Jubilee celebrations was formally held at the St John’s Medical college Auditorium with Karnataka’s Government’s Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department Principal Secretary Dr Shalini Rajneesh as the chief guest.

Dr Shalini Rajneesh congratulated Caritas India and emphasized the need for a time-bound approach to eradicate poverty. In this effort, the voluntary organizations were the gap-fillers with the effort of government and bureaucracy to know the facilities and make it available to the needy.

Outlining a ''3-D approach” involving Democracy, Decentralization and Development , she said good governance and the role of the voluntary organization to lead people to organize themselves as groups to ensure their rights was necessary. ''There is something very important to make rural sanitation and skill based livelihood a reality for the people. Joy comes out of service; 50 years is not the end but a beginning to do better and do more,” she said.

The other dignitaries at the inaugural function were: Bishop Peter Remigius, Chairman Caritas India; Fr Fredrick D’Souza, Ex. Director, Mar Giorgies, Bishop of Puttur; Bishop Derek Fernandes, Bishop of Karwar; Dr Aloysius P Fernandes, MYRADA, Bangalore; Fr. Peter Brank, Director of KROSS, Ambrose Christy, Zonal Manager, Caritas India; Henry Tiphagne, Ex. Director, People’s Watch, Madurai and Jimmy Mathew, the state officer.

State Officer of Karnataka Jimmy Mathew welcomed the gathering and Fr Faustine Lobo, Director of Pontifical Missions India, conducted the programme.


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