From Chilli Powder to Rights & Justice Oriented Education- Vaccine of Gender Based & Sexual Violence- Jessica Borgoary Promote 16 Days Activism Campaign

Jessica Borgoary Promoting 16 Days Activism Campaign

When I was in school I watched a Hindi film know as ‘ Mirch Masala’ ( Chilli Powder) The film was directed by Ketan Mehta. It starred Naseruddin Shah and Smita Patil in the lead roles. The film is set in colonial in the early 1940s. The plot begins with an arrogant Indian local tax collector and with his henchmen exploiting villagers. The tax collector and his men were harassing women . The village headman who was not strong to oppose him even supplied him with women from the village for his pleasure. No one had courage to protest against such violence.

However the story takes a different turn when the tax collector boldly asks Sonbai a young woman from the village for sexual favours, and harassed  her. Enraged, Sonabai, in an act of defense,  slaps the tax collector. She then had to flee immediately with the soldiers and henchmen in hot pursuit.She takes refuge in a spice factory where red chillies are grounded into powder. The women of the village worked here. Sonabai and the women were supported by a watchman and male school teacher who strategize to end such violence.

Sonabai organized women in the factory and when the tax collector and his men raided the factory the women in factory mount a sudden and surprising defense. They attack the tax collector with freshly ground red chilli powder in teams of two. The film ends with the tax collector on his knees, screaming in pain as the chilli burns his face and eyes.

The situation of women and girls being ‘eve teased’, bullied, harassed and sexually abused has not changed in India. In fact such violence has increased. Now when women  are no longer confined within homes and are out in the world,  they face harassment and abuse schools, colleges and workplaces. 

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“Violence on Women & Girls Betrays the Teachings of Jesus”- Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of NCCI Promoting White Ribbon Campaign

Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad – General secretary NCCI promoting White Ribbon Campaign

Men and Boys should take action to end men’s gender based violence on women and girls” states Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad – General Secretary of National Council of Churches in India” ‘Towards Just and Inclusive Communities’ is NCC India’s Quadrennial Theme 2016-2020. Rev Dr Gaikwad states “We cannot build just and inclusive communities unless we seriously address the issue of violence on women and girls in India.”

Gender based violence and sexual violence has become pandemic in India. India 4th dangerous country in the world for women to live and girl child to survive. 53 percent of children in India face sexual abuse. Times of India reports every 20 minutes a woman or girl is raped in India. India witnesses one of the highest female infanticide incidents in the world as revealed in a first ever global study on female infanticide by Asian Centre for Human Rights, a Delhi-based NGO in 2016. The BBC reports about once every five minutes an incident of domestic violence is reported in India, under its legal definition of ‘cruelty by husband or his relatives.’

Gaikwad further states that “The sign of hope is some of our member churches and church leaders are engaging in various forms of ministry to end violence on women and girls. However we need to understand empowerment of women and girls alone is not solution to this problem. Men and boys can play crucial role to end gender based and sexual violence. Gender justice, gender equality and gender equity is not ‘women’s issue’ alone. We need to empower men and boys also regarding gender justice so that they understand the scale of the problem, and become part of the solution, alongside women. If women are empowered alone and not men violence on women will increase more”

Restrictive gender roles and stereotyped gender norms harm men as well as women, boys as well as girls though girls are more vulnerable. . Men and boys have a crucial role to play in creating a culture where male violence, abuse and harassment against women and girls are simply seen as unacceptable. Men also need to support survivors of gender based violence take a stand against gender violence in their workplaces, schools, communities and families.

In 2015 during Quadrennial Assembly of ‘All India Council of Christian Women’ (at present known as Women’s Concern Ministry of NCCI ) Rev Dr Gaikwad promoted ‘White Ribbon Campaign’. He invited men church heads and leaders to take action against violence on women and girls in their own home, church or society.

Church Heads Promoting White Ribbon Campaign during Women’s Assembly in Kerala 2015

The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) is a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls. It was formed by a group men in Canada in November 1991 as a response to the École Polytechnique massacre of female students who was shot dead by Marc Lépine . The campaign was intended to raise awareness about the prevalence of male violence against women. White Ribbon symbolizing “the idea of men giving up their arms and violence.” This campaign is active in many counties in the world. ‘White Ribbon Campaign’ is a the movement that seeks to promote healthy relationships, gender equity, and a compassionate vision of masculinity

Rev Dr Gaikwad opines “Discrimination and violence on women, girls and children betrays the teaching of Jesus. Jesus broke the silence regarding culture of gender based in his society . Jesus showed the world compassion to women and girls through positive masculinity as opposed to patriarchal masculinity. Hence it is prophetic duty of the church to promote such positive masculinity and empower men and boys to end violence on women and girls .”

In 2015 National Council of Churches launched ‘365 Zero Tolerance to Gender Based Violence: Make it Happen Now Campaign: Make it Happen Now !’ NCCI also conducts various Capacity Enhancement and Human Rights Training in partnership with member churches and ecumenical partners to promote gender mainstreaming. ‘Certificate Course for Gender Justice’ is one such initiative of Women’s Concerns Ministry is to train pastors and lay leader ,youth ,community leaders both male and female.

As we commemorate ‘16 Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Girls Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad invites churches, congregations and individuals “TAKE ACTION NOW. DO NOT REMAIN SILENT REGARDING GENDER BASED VIOLENCE ,SEXUAL ABUSE OF WOMEN , GIRLS AND CHILDREN .”

#16 Days Activism @ NCCI

Reported by Moumita Biswas – Executive Secretary – Women Concerns Ministry – National Council of Churches in India

‘Because I am Precious in God’s Eyes – I will Not Keep Silent about Gender Based Violence – Shyreeti Daveena Shares her Story

Shyreeti Daveena

The colour of my skin is black and I love my body. My mother says my eyes are dark and bright as the doe and I am lovely. But yet I faced discrimination in school because of my body and colour of my skin by my teachers and peers. Though majority of Indians have brown, dark brown and dark skin yet women and girls with lighter skin are regarded beautiful.

Whenever there was school function, plays or dance drama the fairer and thinner girls were given chance to be main characters in the play or dance drama. Talent was not the criteria of selection. Girls like me with darker skin were discriminated and not given opportunities. However boys with darker skin did not share the same plight as girls.  Dark skinned boys were regarded as handsome. I always felt rejected. I lost self confidence, had low self esteem and I became an introvert person. This affected my academic performance in school. Teachers ridiculed me and called me ‘dumb’. My teachers failed to realize psychological abuse and discrimination is also a form of gender based violence.

Even  now when I go  for my tuition classes  many boys tease me calling me names like  ‘Kalla Khatta’ ( Black and Sour), ‘Moti Kali’ ( Black fat woman ) and even use sexist language. Eve teasing is quite common phenomenon in India and culture of gender based violence exists in our country.

It took me a long time to gain back my confidence which was broken by my teachers in school. My parents helped me to gain my confidence as they reminded me ‘I am beautiful created in image of God’. My involvement in various Sunday School and youth group activities in our church helped me to discover my own leadership qualities and talents.  Galatians 3:38 inspired me “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”Today I am proud of who I am.

There are many like me in India who face discrimination because of stereotyped gender norms which moulds minds of people and culture. In India girls with darker skin becomes often burden for their parents. In an arranged marriage system which still prevails in India parents have to pay more dowry during marriage for their daughters with darker skin.

The media also portrays women with lighter skin and thin body as beautiful. Whitening creams have been promoted through racist advertising. For years, advertisers of skin-lightening creams and other products have shown people — mostly women — with dark skin as having problems when it comes to finding jobs, getting married and generally being accepted by society. The makers of these advertisement include behemoths like Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and Proctor & Gamble . The so-called ‘Fairness Cream’ industry in India is booming .There is even a fairness cream named ‘ Fair and Lovely’.  I strongly believe advertising should not communicate any discrimination as a result of skin colour.

As youth leader I feel church can play a crucial role in deconstructing stereotyped gender norms, ideologies and transform mindset of people. I often wonder why is colour white always associated with purity and black is regarded as dirty or evil. Even today we sing in the church ‘Jesus like lily pure and white’. All colours are created by God are beautiful. From childhood we are conditioned about an arche type image of Jesus as man with light skin  in white robe. We are hardly taught to imagine Jesus as an Asian man with sun tanned dusky brown skin. His clothes must have been soiled with mud and dirt as he traveled from place to place.  Just as white – Black is also beautiful.

25th November is the UN Declared International Day International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence begins on 25 November and end on 10 December, Human Rights Day.

16 Days of Activism Campaign provides me the opportunity to share my story. I have pledged ‘Because I Am Precious in God’s Eyes – I will not Keep Silent about Gender Based Violence and Sexual violence ’.  I invite all of you to join this campaign and  ‘Break the Silence’ and ‘Take Action’ to end any sorts of gender based violence whether in our home, school, church or society.

 (Shyreeti Daveena is a young adolescent girl an active youth church leader – residing in Nagpur and is studying class XI  )

 #16 Days of  Activism@ Shyreeti Daveena 

Women’s Concerns Ministry ,
National Council of Churches in India

DECLARATION by Engage Disability Partners

During the Engage Disability Conference 2014, NCCI-IDEA was called on to lead the Regional Hub Engage Disability in India. NCCI-IDEA is also one of the core members of Engage Disability Advisory Committee and was also the acting secretariat for Engage Disability 2014-2016. Rev. Christopher Rajkumar, the executive Secretary of NCCI and director of IDEA served as the Chairperson of Engage Disability, India so far.

DECLARATION by Engage Disability Partners

We believe…

As the Body of Christ, we affirm that all people, including people with disabilities, are created in the image of the Triune God. The church is “OF” all and “FOR” all. Thus, a church that excludes persons with disabilities is incomplete. The Body is made up of different parts and the seemingly weaker parts are indispensable. (1 Cor. 12:22)

The Mission of God is an imperative;along with and for the disabled; who have potential to be full and active members of the Church, community and society at large.

We repent…

For treating the person with a disability as an object of charity; or of a lesser class. Though disability is prevalent in the world, it is less prevalent in the church. We have accepted traditions and imposed structures, processes and attitudes which prevent those who are affected by disability from accessing the church, the Christian community—and our own programs in India. If we are not actively including people with disabilities, we are passively excluding them;and we have missed the opportunity to show the heart of the Gospel.

We are challenged…

By the Gospel of Christ, in establishing the “reign of God” to work toward justice, love and peace for all; including persons with disabilities. We are motivated by the holistic healing narratives in the Gospels to minister both to and alongside persons with disabilities. For us as a community of Christian faith, it is a mandate that we accompany one another in reaching the highest potential for which God created us.

We are guided by Christ…

Who furthered this message by coming “to preach good news to the poor and proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind…to release the oppressed.” (Luke 4:14-21) Jesus saw people with disabilities, challenged their marginalization; and He responded with Love. He showed great concern for both physical and mental challenges as He addressed their spiritual condition.

We are committed to:

  • Stand with our Brothers and Sisters who have disabilities, ensuring that they are centrally involved in this process and movement.
  • Promote inclusion of those with disabilities in all aspects of the church, our programs, and community.
  • Further a theological understanding of disability: that ALL are created equal and in the image of God; and that disabilities are not a result of a person’s sin, lack of faith, or an unwillingness to be healed
  • Engage together for advocacy and inclusion of persons with disabilities in their local communities and society at large
  • Be personally and corporately blessed by people with disability serving alongside those without disability

 We are guided by the Scriptures…

  • We value people as being created in God’s image and as being called to abundant life

“For You formed my inward parts…I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Ps. 139: 13, 14)

“I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

  • We acknowledge that God’s purposes are often worked out through those whom the world has rejected and despised.

“…God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it…” (1 Cor.12:24-25)

“…My strength is made perfect in weakness…” (2 Cor. 12:9)

  • We acknowledge that societal structures, including those in Christian communities, can prevent God’s people from playing a full role in the body of Christ.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6)

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed” (Luke 4:18)

  • We value team work and acknowledge that the body of Christ is incomplete without our Brothers and Sisters affected by disabilities.

“…in whom the whole body is united and held together by every ligament with which it is supplied. As each individual part does its job, the body’s growth is promoted so that it builds itself up in love.” (Eph. 4: 16)

“But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” (Corinthians 12:18)

  • We believe that we are loved by God and are called to express His love to others, including those who are marginalized. We exhibit this love through both word and deed.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12) “Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy” (Prov. 31:9)

 Conclusion

If persons with disabilities are a full part of our church, then we will be blessed

There is blessing when we include those with disability in the church, our programs and in our communities where we work. Created in the image of God, they can enjoy the right to “wholeness”; no longer simply being objects of our benevolence, but enabled to be “givers” themselves. In this way, our paradigm shifts from giver-receiver mode to the “accompanier”mode; and as a result, we all can truly experience abundant life. 1Corinthians 12:22 says that the seemingly weaker parts of the body are indispensable. Luke 14:13 says, “Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits those with disability,. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing”.

– Cynthia Shinde
Coordinator, Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment (IDEA),
National Council of Churches in India.

Together We Can End Gender Based Violence in Education! 16 Days of Activism 25th November- 10th December

“As a mother, every morning I take the biggest leap of faith when I wave to my child as they leave for school. The fear that lurks in my heart is : Will anyone touch the body of   my child? Will anyone bully her in school? Will  she face corporal punishment for not being able to answer ? Our roads are not even safe to send our daughters and children walking to school.” shared a concerned mother  from one of the Women’s Fellowship of Member Churches of National Council of Churches  during World Day of Prayer  event  in Delhi while reflecting on the WDP theme “Receive Children , Receive Me.”

Such fear looms large in the heart of many mothers and parents in India.  Violence in educational institutions in India and  school-related gender-based violence is a recurring phenomenon in India. Such violence  refers to acts of sexual, physical or psychological violence in and around schools because of stereotypes and roles or norms attributed to or expected because of sex or gender identity. GBV in education is perpetuated by teachers, school administrators, other school employees, fellow students, and community members.

Women’s Concerns Ministry of National Council of Churches in India invites member churches, church managed and run organizations/institutions to promote 16 Days of Activism Campaign against Gender -Based Violence. The theme of the  16 Days Activism Campaign 2017 is “Together We Can End Gender Based Violence in Education!”

16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. The aim of this Campaign is to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

The right to education and gender equality is central to human rights and development objectives. Nobel Prize winner renowned  economist Amartya Sen  rightly points out  that there are two main inequalities: educational inequality and health inequality  These are the indicators of a woman’s status of welfare. In India irrespective of the caste, creed, religion and social status, the overall status of a woman is lower than that of a man. Therefore a male child is preferred over a female child; a girl child is considered as a burden.

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‘Water for life’ – Joint program of VCLC-NCCI and the EWN-WCC

‘Water for life’ –

Joint program of VCLC- National Council of Churches in India and the EWN-World Council of Churches

3rd November 2017 | NCCI Campus, Nagpur.

A one-day consultation on ‘Water for life’ was organized in the NCCI Campus on the 3rd of November 2017. It was a joint program of the Vidarbha Centre for Labour Concerns – National Council of Churches in India VCLC – NCCI) and Ecumenical Water Network – World Council of Churches (EWN – WCC). The 50 participants in the consultation were from the Church of North India, Mar Thoma Church, and the Orthodox Seminary, from faith-based organizations and also people (people of different faith traditions) from Butibori – MIDC and Totladoh who have been affected by developmental activities in the region. NCCI Secretaries and Interns also participated in this consultation.

The major focus of the program was on the International, National and Local issues of the Water Crisis as water is being commoditized and therefore this natural resource is made available unequally.

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An Ecumenical Commemoration of 500 Years of Reformation

“Reformation is a Process and we need to adopt and adapt to…”

said Fr. Peter, a Catholic Rector at the Ecumenical Commemoration of 500 Years of Reformation.

The Churches and the Christian Communities and Organisations in Nagpur gathered together at the All Saints Cathedral of the Church of North India in Nagpur, to participate in a commemorative Eucharist worship on 31st October 2017 at 6.30 pm. remembering Martin Luther and his colleagues, who advocated reformation in the Church 500 years ago on the same day.

Over hundred people, including persons with disabilities, clerics, theologates, mission and social workers, participated in this ecumenical worship representing different ecclesial confessions from Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Methodist, Lutheran, Church of North India,  and Free Church Traditions.

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Disability Advocacy Sunday 2017

NCCI –IDEA (Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment) is an Ecumenical Initiative of National Council of Churches in India accompanied by Unity and Mission. NCCI – IDEA theologically motivates ministerial interventions of its constituencies  in encouraging and facilitating the Indian Churches to be inclusive and disabled-friendly. Considering the importance of inclusivity, the XXVIII Quadrennial Assembly of NCCI has chosen a theme ‘Towards… Just and Inclusive Communities for this Quadrannum thus, the Members of NCCI would be encouraged to ensure that their ministerial interventions result in inclusivity.

Since 2009 the Disability Advocacy Sunday (DAS) is being organized by NCCI – IDEA along with ecumenical organizations, local congregations and institutions. NCCI-IDEA has been a facilitator of conversations with communities in Church and Society in regard to advocacy for disability rights. The recently concluded interfaith roundtable on disability has propelled the work with significant stride towards just and inclusive communities. Considering the importance of observing this day, the NCCI Executive Committee in 2011 officially approved of designating the Sunday before the Advent as DAS, since 3rd December the International Day of People with Disability.

From its inception, DAS has focused on ‘An Inclusive Church’, through its sermons, urging the Church, to move from being charitable, to becoming an accompanier seeking justice ‘for’, ‘by’ and ‘with’ persons with disabilities . Surveying the past celebrations and the positive responses from the Churches and the local congregations to the observance of DAS, NCCI-IDEA expects that the congregations have become more open to PWDs and more Disabled-friendly.

This year Churches and the Congregations are encouraged to contemplate on the theme: ‘Creator of the disabled, reform your creation’. Persons with disabilities reflect God’s image and likeness. Hence, we are praying to this Creator God to reform creation through the persons with disabilities, with the 500th year of reformation as the background.

Every year, NCCI – IDEA assists the Churches and the Congregations with the Order of Worship for DAS observances. Since 26th November 2017 is the Sunday prior to the Advent season, IDEA recommends to churches to observe it as DAS.  In case you are not able to observe the DAS on 26th November, please feel free to observe any Sunday that is convenient to you and your congregations.

We are glad to inform you that the NCCI-IDEA have already planned to celebrate ‘Christmas of the Disabled’ on 3rd December 2017. Therefore, we encourage you to organize and celebrate along with us in your respective Churches and Congregations.

Kindly,  share with us the inspirational stories and the divine interventions through the DAS 2017 in your Church or Congregation.

With Prayer and Wishes,

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar

Director, NCCI – IDEA

Mrs. Glory Cynthia Shinde

Coordinator, NCCI – IDEA

Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh

President, NCCI

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

General Secretary, NCCI

 

Downloads:

  1. Disability Advocacy Sunday 2017 Order of Worship – English
  2. Poster to print (in .pdf)

2nd National Engage Disability 2017 Conference

National Council of Churches in India

Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment (NCCI -IDEA)

Most Respected Church Leaders,

Greetings from the NCCI – IDEA!

This is for your kind information that, the ‘ Engage Disability’ Network is holding its 2nd National Engage Disability 2017 Conference in Chennai from 14 – 16 November 2017 jointly hosted by the Church of South India Synod.

Hence, on behalf of the Engage Disability Team, the NCCI – IDEA  would like to invite you and your organization to be part of the 2nd National Engage Disability 2017 conference.   

See the brochure at https://www.dropbox.com/s/4do3ghaktt3bxvc/Brochure%20FINAL.pdf?dl=0

Date: 14th – 16th November 2017 

Venue: Laity Institute for Transformation Education (LITE), 17, Balfour Road, Chennai 600010.

Registration www.engagedisability.com

This 2nd National conference builds on the Engage Disability movement which began with the 2014 Engage Disability Conference.  This was a watershed moment with nearly 450 people  from 100 organisations and churches coming together to strengthen the response to disability in India (declaration attached).  This moment turned into a movement.  Since 2014 the Engage Disability Network has been working with Christian partners across India to train Christians, produce resources and tool-kits, and meet in the regions to form a Christian response to disability.

The objectives of the 2017 conference are:
·       To bring together like-minded people and organisations who have a heart  for disability.
·       To develop strategies for ministry alongside those with disabilities in Christian Community.
·       To equip church leaders for disability inclusion in the Christian Community.
·       To identify leaders with disabilities who can speak about disability issues in the Christian Community.

For further information contact Jessica (jessicaprakash@gmail.com 9841198695) or

Sylvia (sylvia@engagedisability.com).  They will endeavor to help you as soon as possible.

 

Respectfully,

Mrs. Glory Cynthia Shinde

Co-ordinator

NCCI – Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment

NCCI Dalit Liberation Sunday 2017 – Religious Freedom of Dalits.

Respected Ecumenical Leaders,

Warm greetings from National Council of Churches in India!

Dalit Liberation Sunday has become an important feature in the calendar of Indian Churches and Ecumenical movements. Over the years, there has been a positive response in sensitizing the local congregations towards concerns of Dalits, for no longer caste issue is visualized as a sociological issue or an issue outside the purview of church but more seen as an issue challenging the core of our faith and gospel.

Dalit Liberation Sunday is a joint programme of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India (CBCI), aiming at the empowerment of the local congregations for Dalit liberation. Dalit Liberation Sunday is observed by the member churches of NCCI and the churches under CBCI in their local congregations across India.

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