Tuesday, 13 October 2009

With MRDF in India, 29th September - 3rd October

I've always been interested in and impressed by what I've seen and read about the work of MRDF, so I was delighted to join their Head of Fundraising, Simeon Mitchell, on a visit to the RAIDS project, at Pulivendula, Andhra Pradesh, in South India. We were made very welcome wherever we went, often greeted with garlands.

During the course of a few days we travelled many miles and met some very impressive people. I was given the privilege of opening a new 'Livelihood Resource Centre'. But a bigger privilege was to meet people who were working together for a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

We met Gangadevi, ther woman who features on this year's MRDF Harvest project literature. She and her partners are now self-sufficient, and are helping other people to develop their land and crops.

We were also shown the seedbank, where villagers are able to store seed for next year's use - so their future is becoming more and more secure.

Having said this, we also became all too aware of just how vulnerable people can be to the effects of climate (and climate change). This year the first rains had not come, so the first harvest was severely affected. And then, the day before we left, heavy rains led to a dam overflowing and many people being killed - just 100km from where we had stayed. The RAIDS project sent an emergency relief team to help with the rescue work.

I believe the Methodist Recorder will be carrying an article about this visit. Please read it. And, as Christmas approaches, consider buying some of the MRDF 'Extraordinary gifts' for Christmas - or asking people to buy them for you. (You'll find them on the website.) Having seen what a difference they can make, and how 'small miracles' really take place, I shall be telling MRDF stories wherever I go around the connexion.

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