People born into the Dalit community are marginalised socially and economically, often enslaved by their work and facing barriers to health care and education. The charity’s Harvest Appeal this year focuses on India’s EcoVeg project which has reached almost 5,000 farmers giving them an opportunity to grow vegetables without chemicals and sell them for a fair price.
Over one third of the farmers are from excluded communities, such as the Dalits, and 47% are women. These farmers are free from the health impacts and expense of buying chemical fertilisers and pesticides and are trained in farming, business and planning skills.
Christian Aid partner ADSIL (The Agrarian Development Institute for Sustenance and Improved Livelihood) helps the farmers with sorting, processing and transporting crops, negotiating fair prices without taking any commission itself.
Christian Aid’s regional coordinator for North & East Yorkshire, Steph Cooper, said: “In India around 6.3 million people have been affected by the floods with many families in makeshift shelters facing huge challenges to find clean drinking water and food. Dalits are among the worst affected.
“People are in desperate need of safe drinking water, food, tarpaulin for shelters, hygiene materials, mosquito nets, and food for livestock.
“Floods such as these can destroy everything in their path – homes, crops, roads and bridges. But the training and opportunities given by partners such as ADSIL give hope and a voice that allows vulnerable people to move to a more resilient place, to pick themselves back up and provide for their families.
“Organic food is not a novelty for the people taking part in the EcoVeg project – it’s a lifeline, and the donations that churches across the Diocese of York give to our appeals help the world’s most marginalised and vulnerable people find a place of dignity and the possibility of life in all its fullness.
“Thank you in advance for any prayers or donations churches can give to help the work these appeals are supporting this summer and at harvest time.”
Funds raised in Christian Aid’s seasonal appeals enable the charity to respond to emergencies such as the current floods in South Asia.
This year churches are encouraged to hold a Harvest Supper for Christian Aid’s Harvest Appeal - free resources are available at www.christianaid.org.uk/harvest-appeal.
Prayers, more information and how to donate to the South Asia Floods Appeal can be found here www.christianaid.org.uk/emergencies/south-asia-floods-appeal. £14 could buy a hygiene kit which includes soap, chlorine tablets, sanitary napkins and disinfectant, £17 could buy the items needed to build a temporary shelter - such as tarpaulin, ground mat, mosquito net, bedsheet, rope and £700 could pay for a toilet and handwashing block.