What does our work in Odisha look like?
We work in two of the 30 districts in the state of Odisha: Koraput and Nabarangpur. In both districts we support “bare footed pastors” – also called social workers – with a basic income, and build community centers. We used to call these buildings “churches”, but we want to be there for the entire population, hence the name change.
We run a leprosy camp; we collected all lepers in and around the town of Nabarangpur (main town in the district of the same name), and offer full service all year round.
For a long time already, we visit the beggars camp in Nabarangpur. We especially pay a lot of attention to the youngsters in the camp. We try to persuade them to learn a profession, and teach them Christian values. Almost all of the 300+ dwellers are Christians. An important fact is, we organize ‘childrens’ church’ every afternoon. The children do not attend school, and it is not only a useful experience for them, but also a nice time commitment.
Pastors training and elementary education
An important activity is training of Pastors. We offer a two years’ course and it lasts three days per week, and it is free of charge for the students. They are simply too poor to be able to pay even a pittance of the cost themselves. Till now we have educated – or are educating – over 200 Pastors, and the students all come from the concerning area. They speak the native languages – predominantly Kui and Kuvi – and are familiar with the region and the local customs. This is of great importance, for the residents are very detached of strangers.
There are quite some villages where no one is literate, and we started teaching little children elementary education: reading, writing and counting. Currently we do this in quite some villages, and teach over 500 children. Since there are no buildings fit for schooling, we will start a building program for more community centres in 2020.