Jun 13 2008

Priest who empowered women in India honored with award

This week, Father Francis Thumma, along with the Hyderabad, India mothers groups and staff, were honored with CFCA’s Pilgrimage of Faith Award. The award is given annually to honor those who exemplify CFCA’s core values—answering the Gospel call to serve the poor, serving with integrity and accountability, recognizing the dignity of every person and fostering respectful relationships.

The concept of mothers groups originated in CFCA’s projects in southern India in 2001, pioneered by Father Thumma. Now more than 240 mothers groups operate in and around Hyderabad.

The mothers organize into small self-advocacy and livelihood groups that offer members solidarity and support in life’s challenges, as well as low-cost loans to start family businesses. The women approve loans and oversee repayments. They also help administer program benefits for their families, including education, nutrition and medical assistance. The benefits are made possible by support from people in the U.S. who sponsor children through CFCA.

The mission of the mothers groups goes beyond financial needs, however. Meetings provide a forum for health-care education, for development of children and families, and for spiritual orientation seminars. Separate seminars are held for Catholic and Hindu members out of respect for the faith traditions of sponsored members.

The CFCA mothers groups are transforming lives all throughout India… giving mothers the opportunity to provide for their families and lift themselves out of poverty. And the movement is spreading to other CFCA countries. More on that next week…

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