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Bishops to teach 'right to food'

8. March 2010

    Posted By jessy On March 2, 2010 (6:45 pm) In Indian News <http://www.cathnewsindia.com/category/indian-news/> , Newsletter <http://www.cathnewsindia.com/category/newsletter/>

    The Catholic bishops in India yesterday [March 1] released a trainers’ kit as part of its campaign to educate people on their right to food.

    “Although India is rich, its people live below the poverty line,” said Father Nithiya Sagayam, secretary of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Development of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).

    Speaking with UCA News after the release of the Right to Food Campaign, Trainers’ Kit, the Capuchin said many Indians die of starvation although the country has excess food grains.

    The Food Corporation of India stores are overflowing with food grains but many die because of inadequate relief, the priest explained.

    In 2006, some 100,000 farmers committed suicide because of starvation and debts.

    The priest said such incidents made him realize the Church’s “old charity methods” were not appropriate for modern challenges. “We have to promote human rights methods and we are using the food crisis to empower people,” he asserted.

    The Church official pointed out that the Indian government has several schemes for the welfare of the poor, but few have access to them because of their illiteracy.

    The worst affected are the dalit, (former “untouchables” in the caste system) tribal people, slum dwellers and rural poor, Father Sagayam said.

    “These groups have to be taught their basic rights,” he said, and added that the Church project also aims to help the poor utilize government welfare schemes.

    The kit includes a trainers’ manual on the use of such schemes and a PowerPoint CD for training.

    The commission aims to have the content available in 10 languages. Content in three languages has already been completed.

    “This campaign is non-violent. We do not confront those oppressing the poor. We make the poor assert their rights,” Father Sagayam explained.

    Father Sagayam said his commission next plans to educate children from the sixth to twelfth grade. “If the children are motivated, they will fight for their rights when they grow up, besides pressuring their parents to assert their rights,” he added.
    Source: Bishops teach people of their right to food (UCAN)

    Article taken from CathNews India - www.cathnewsindia.com <http://www.cathnewsindia.com/>
    URL to article: www.cathnewsindia.com/2010/03/02/bishops-to-teach-right-to-food/

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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