We organised both a tea party and a curry dinner in St John’s Hall, Tadworth, on Saturday March 30 to help us support a project in India. They were a great success in total attracting over 100 people to hear Revd. Anita Matthews, Trustee of the charity called CRS, which is based at the Cathedral in Kolkata, speak about its work amongst the very poorest slum dwellers in that city. Perhaps the most moving story concerned a community of Dalit people (also known as Untouchables) who had set up a small, “illegal”, shanty town alongside a railway line on a commuter route from the outskirts of Kolkata. The town is “illegal” because the community does not own the land and it is in any case in a highly dangerous location with roughly built dwellings being literally a few feet from fast moving commuter trains. Anita had asked one six year old girls what she thought about the trains rushing by and received the reply “they kill people”. CRS are trying to arrange some sort of basic schooling for the Dalit children to improve their language skills as otherwise they would be excluded from official Indian government funded schools. Anita explained that education is the key to helping the children of slum dwellers to have a chance for a better life. Chairman Mike Fox noted that whilst India was growing as a country in economic strength it was still home to more impoverished individuals than the whole of Africa. The event raised over £1,300, a quarter of which came from extra donations made by participants after they had heard Anita’s inspiring talk.
The Dalit community living by a railway line in Kolkata click on the picture to enlarge it.
Some photos from both events are included below:
Reverend Anita Matthews addressing the meeting
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