If you want your children to know and understand what you really believe in, take them with you to the places where your heart speaks, stretches and is smashed wide open. That’s ten and six-year-old Jem and Brydie, sweating with us in the back of a yellow taxi, ears full of car horns as we join the human tide in Kolkata, none of us sure how to respond to hands outstretched at our windows or nonchalant kids swinging from the back of trucks.
That’s ten and five-year-old Sheldon and River with Revive’s Editor, Heather – hunkered down among school kids in a community serviced by just one tap, where poverty isn’t a detached idea but the air you breathe, a daily challenge you’re determined to beat for the sake of your children.
Four years ago we visited The Church of North India, Durgapur Diocese, to see the way they’re taking seriously the call to love and justice for their neighbours in some of North India’s most disadvantaged communities. They’re Uniting Church in Australia partners through UnitingWorld, a growing church in spite of being very much a minority in India. We took our families because we wanted them to see what it means to live differently – culturally, economically and from beliefs that lead to action.
Last month I returned, this time with a colleague. I met children who remember River, Sheldon, Jem and Brydie and we looked together at photos of them playing cricket, doing their nails together and watching Indian Idol (some things cross all the boundaries!). They’re older now, their English is even better, they’re looking forward to training to become nurses or teachers, and their communities are looking so much stronger.
As I teach my family about what it means to live out a global faith, I’m teaching them to support projects that are seriously smart about the future. Community development projects don’t just tackle one aspect of poverty – they’re committed to taking on each aspect of the poverty puzzle. They support education, especially for women and girls, and they champion women’s and girl’s rights. They show communities how to advocate for themselves: involvement in political decisions, water supplies, pensions, government loans and saving schemes, and they support their knowledge about irrigation and farming techniques.
Even better, our partners are training community development workers from within the communities themselves so that people are learning and sharing valuable skills among themselves that improve their lives.
This is how change happens. And we’re part of it.
Put faith into action this month with a gift that ticks all the boxes to end poverty at www.unitingworld.org.au/endpoverty.
Top image: Cath Taylor with children from Durgapur, North India.