The Lenten campaign helps to sustain the livelihood of poor and marginalised

Diocese of Jowai: “It was difficult for me to sustain my family with the meagre income that I had. Thanks to God for my livelihood saw the light of success with whatever I have been able to do. I dream to grow bigger from here”, says Heimonmi Kharsohnoh, a smallholder farmer from West Jaintia Hills District in Meghalaya. He is now practicing intercropping and multi-cropping to get better yield after local partner and Caritas India intervention to revive his livelihood. He has also developed the skills of poultry farming which gives him alternative source of livelihood which sustains his family needs and requirements.

Livelihood in Rural India has an enormous intensity of unspoken and untold stories of struggles. Every day is a battle to survive and earn to feed the family. The option of livelihood from agriculture or alternative mode of income is slowly diminishing. The root cause is a lack of skills and economic opportunities.

The average annual earning of a small and marginal farmer household was Rs 79,779 in 2015-16. India’s agrarian reforms did not ensure egalitarianism in the agricultural community. Agriculture has become a less profitable source of livelihood.

This lent season, Caritas India is raising awareness and seeking support for the poor and marginalised through its Lenten Campaign against “Hunger and Disease” by running the ‘Sustain Life: Sustainable Livelihood’ campaign.

Most. Rev. Victor Lyngdoh, Bishop of Jowai launched the Lenten Campaign during the Eucharistic mass on the second Sunday of Lent i.e. March 8, 2020. He stressed in his speech that lent donation is meant for the contribution of the church to the poor and needy and the collection during the lent by every Christian has the participation in doing charity work to the poor which also means doing charity to Lord Jesus Christ himself.

The diocese also organised other engagement activities like a marathon, cleaning drive, tree plantation, organic product display, etc.

Diocese of Kohima: Development Association of Nagaland (DAN), the diocesan partner of Caritas India also officiated the launch on the 1st of March 2020 at St. Xavier church, Jalukie, Peren District in Nagaland. Fr. Charles, Director of DAN celebrated the Eucharistic mass with the Liturgy developed by Caritas India for the lent season. He informed about the support of Caritas India in the state and the concept of FARM program which helped thousands of smallholders to revive their traditional system of agriculture to build their livelihood.

Through our women farmer’s club we were able to sell our items to vendors in the markets and earn an income,” says Mrs. Agum from the BATA farmers club, Jalukie B. The economic status of the people has changed, and it is reflected in the confidence and empowerment of the women as they have greater bargaining power . The Farmers are now able to go and approach various Government departments because of the linkages and connectivity showed to them by the Project.

Besides testimony, other activities like street play, organic agriculture produces, women’s collective loin loom products were displayed. 

In Jhansi, the first Sunday of Lent saw the launch of Lenten campaign by Most Rev. Bishop Peter Parapullil along with Vicar General Rev. Fr. Sahay Nathan, Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Kristu Das, Asst. Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Ashok Ekka, Rev. Fr. Jhonson Francis- Director Jhansi Catholic Seva Samaj & Deacon Bro. Ashok Toppo at St. Anthony Cathedral. The poster of the campaign was launched by the priests at the Cathedral.

The diocese also organised side events like procession march, drawing and essay competition to engage the people and send across the message of the Lenten campaign.