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News : India

Thanks a million for your prayers

Thanks a million for your prayers – 14 Oct 2013

The worst of cyclone Phailin is over, and whilst very low casualties have been reported, a trail of destruction to infrastructure, properties, and agriculture has been left behind. The cyclone has been ‘very severe’, severely impacting lives, properties and infrastructure but not a‘Super Cyclone’ as predicted by many. Even secular NGOs think that “It’s nothing short of a miracle that so many lives were spared. We were expecting the worst, but it just shows that all the time and investment put into preparing for such disasters by the authorities, civil society organisations and communities has paid off,” said Save the Children’s Devendra Tak.

Management of cyclone Phailin was a success due to excellent planning done by the state, central government, three defence wings and more importantly excellent coordination between them. According to Chief Minister of Odisha Mr. Naveen Patnaik the experience and learning from 1999 super cyclone helped in saving lives.

This is in contrast to the flooding in Uttarakhand where the government was caught unaware and over 5000 people lost their lives. It underlines that preparedness by the government, communities and aid organisations, while building resilience saves lives.

14,515 villages have been affected. Some affected areas are still inaccessible and the government has prioritised and rightly so to repair roads, telecommunication and power which will enable access the affected area and assess the extent of destruction the Phailin cyclone has caused.

Prayer alert: Cyclone expected in India

Prayer alert: Cyclone expected in India – 11 Oct 2013

Cyclone Phailin is expected to hit India tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 12 Oct) causing large-scale destruction. Odisha state, formerly known as Orissa, and the eastern coastal regions are particularly vulnerable. The country is currently is approaching its harvest season and the government has advised people in these areas to harvest as much as they can within the next 24-hours. The government has also called for evacuations and has put cyclone shelters in place.

India was hit by super cyclone Odisha in 1999 which left 10,000 people dead. Since then Tearfund partners have prioritised preparing people for disasters, including evacuation points on higher ground, access to food and safe water, and ensuring people look out for vulnerable groups such as the elderly and disabled.

Great losses are expected and the cyclone poses a large threat to livelihoods, with a significant economic impact.

Please join us in prayer:

  • Pray that the wind speeds decrease and that the storm will be weaker than expected.
  • Pray that the storm doesn’t move further east where it could do more damage.
  • Pray that the work of Tearfund partners to prepare people for disasters has great impact.
  • Pray that the local church in the region will be able to help communities to deal with the impact.
India flood survivors tell of hardships

India flood survivors tell of hardships – 13 Aug 2013

Monsoon rains in June caused extensive flooding in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, leaving 500 people dead and 5,000 others missing.

Two Tearfund partners, the Emmanuel Hospital Association and Eficor, responded by organising distributions of food, hygiene items, cooking utensils, blankets and tents to the badly affected districts of Tehri, Rudraprayag and Chamoli.

Among those helped was 70-year-old Mrs Chhotidevi, a widow without family, who lives on a pension equivalent to just €6 a month.

The flooding disrupted pension payments and left her unable to buy food: ‘I used to beg and people were giving me left over food,’ Mrs Chhotidevi recalls.

‘But Eficor gave me good quality food. I will not forget Eficor, may the Lord bless Eficor.’

Counselling

An indication of the devastating power of the floods is provided by 40-year-old Anil Bhatt, a father-of-two and businessman from Vijaynagar village who owned six shops.

He said, ‘Water from the river Mandankini came in with huge force and took away my house, shops, and even my land. Within a few hours I was left with the clothes on my body and nothing else.

‘The relief kit is comprehensive and very useful. I thank your organisation for this timely help.’

Lalsingh Pawar, 60, lost two grown up sons who were swept away in the torrents of flood waters.

With so many families losing loved ones to the floods, partner teams are also offering counselling to the bereaved.

Mr Pawar said his family were going through very testing times, but after Eficor counselling visits they were now able to start thinking about moving forward in life.

If you would like to contribute to the relief work and protection for vulnerable families in the aftermath of the flooding you can purchase a disaster survival kit.

Prosecuting traffickers in India – 5 May 2011

In 2006, Debbie Walker visited India for a two-week holiday. Confronted by the horrific reality of child trafficking, she ended up spending four years there with Tearfund’s partner Freedom Firm. Reuben Coulter, Chief Executive of Tearfund Ireland, caught up with her while she was visiting her family in Ireland.

How did you get involved in with helping trafficked girls?
During my holiday in India, I met young girls who had been rescued from trafficking. They were of a similar age to me but their lives were so different. I realised that God was calling me to play a part. Tearfund partner Freedom Firm were looking for someone with legal skills and I had recently graduated in law. I agreed to undertake a role to manage the team of local investigators and ensure that rescued girls received appropriate aftercare.

How do these girls end up being trafficked?
For many girls, it is the desperation of poverty which makes them vulnerable. For example, Laxmi was only ten years old when she was trafficked. Her mother was dead and her father was desperately ill, so she got on a train to Mumbai to search of work. She thought she was being offered a job as a maid but, instead, she ended up as one of thousands of child prostitutes in Mumbai.

What happened to Laxmi?
Fortunately, an investigative team heard that the brothel where Laxmi was working had under-age girls. They sent a team in to investigate and gather evidence. In coordination with the police, the brothel was raided and Laxmi was set free from her horrific life at the age of 12.

How did Laxmi recover from the experience?
Laxmi was incredibly traumatised. She initially entered a government refuge for women but it wasn’t a good place. Eventually she came to the Freedom Firm home where we were able to counsel, support and pray with her. We couldn’t undo the past but we were able to provide her with hope for the future. Today she is completely transformed. She is part of a local church and has a good job in a call centre.

You are back in Ireland now. What will you do next?
In September I’m starting a doctorate in law in Minneapolis, USA. I’m not sure where God will lead me but I’ll continue to use my legal skills to fight injustice. Each of us has God-given talents that we are called to use for his kingdom.

Take action this summer.

Setting the captive free – Karishma’s story

Setting the captive free – Karishma’s story – 11 Apr 2011

It’s estimated that 575,000 children are trapped in sex trafficking in India. Tearfund’s local partner Freedom Firm is battling to stamp our sex trafficking. While the laws in India against sex trafficking are strong they are rarely applied. Freedom Firm investigates brothels suspected of soliciting minor girls, works with the police to raid these brothels, prosecutes the brothel keepers and helps to restore the girls. The work is dangerous and often disheartening but they are seeing successes. Without the intervention of Tearfund’s local partner Freedom Firm, Karishma would still be in captivity.

Help us bring freedom. Give today

Karishma, a young girl age thirteen was discovered in a brothel by a Freedom Firm undercover investigator. She was ‘for sale’ for 70 rupees (€1.20).

Freedom Firm reported it to the police and requested that they intervene. But when they raided the brothel Karishma had been moved. She was no-where to be found. Freedom Firm investigators searched for her over the next five months with no success. Then a local informant gave a tip off that she had been taken to the Sadar Bazaar, a red-light district in the city of Kolhapur. However it’s a massive slum with thousands of people. It seemed she might never be found.

Then the miracle happened. After days of searching, equipped with only scant information and an old photograph of Karishma, an informant was found who recognized her from the photo. The investigators were led to a brothel on the edge of town. The building was raided and Karishma was found, traumatized but alive.

That was over four years ago.

The brothel keeper was arrested but after a long trial was unjustly acquitted despite the overwhelming evidence. It has been discouraging for the team but an appeal has been made. It is hoped that the brothel keeper may still be convicted but bringing justice requires perseverance.

Karishma now lives at a Freedom Firm aftercare home. The scars of her past are deep and recovery from her awful experience takes time. With six other rescued girls she is experiencing emotional healing through counselling and prayer. She is learning to look after herself and receiving a basic education and skills training to set up her own small craft business. Finally she is experiencing the goodness of life.

She is free at last.

Will you help us to bring freedom? Only €22 per month can pay for an undercover investigator to raid a brothel & set a girl free.

Give today or Give monthly

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An unwanted gift - Christmas Appeal

An unwanted gift - Christmas Appeal – 23 Nov 2009

Happy Christmas! There are two children who I’ve spent time with over the past year. One is my nephew Noah, who has just celebrated his second birthday this week. And the other is Peah –whom I met in Cambodia in February.

Noah couldn’t be more loved or wanted. My sister and brother-in-law have albums of photos of almost his every waking hour! My parents love showing him off to all their friends!

In contrast, Peah had a very different start to life. He was an unwanted gift. There are more than 100 million children around the world without a family, living in the harshest circumstances. But there is hope. Tearfund’s amazing church partners reach children like Peah every day, and place them in loving families.

Can we count on you for a Christmas gift of €32, €86 or €125? Donate here

Help us to support Little Conquerors in Cambodia and IMCAREs in India to continue their work next year. Tearfund’s church partners work tirelessly to address immediate needs, while also dealing with the underlying issues that cause children to be vulnerable, that means our work is sustainable and has a lasting impact.

Little Conquerors, Cambodia – €27,300 to fully fund this project in 2010

The Little Conquerors project helps children with disabilities to reach their God-given potential in all areas of their lives: physically, emotionally, spiritually, educationally and socially. This ensures these children get vital physiotherapy, specialised equipment and access to basic education. Read more about their work here

IMCARES, India – €29,500 to fully fund this project in 2010

IMCares works with local churches to care for vulnerable people, including children orphaned by AIDS, in the poorest slums of Mumbai. They provide food, clothing and education, and search for loving foster families to take in the orphaned children. IMCares also supports AIDS-affected families with counselling, home visits, nutritional support and other material help, and helps teach children in the slums about the reality of HIV and AIDS.Read more about their work here

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