Jan 10 2013

What the Santals can teach us: Sreekanth, CFCA communications liaison for India

Sreekanth, CFCA communications liaison for India

Sreekanth, out on location, wearing a traditional hat of the Santal tribe.

By Sreekanth Gundoji, CFCA communications liaison for India

Each CFCA sponsored friend and family has a story to tell.

For the families of the Santal tribes living in remote areas of India between Nepal and Bangladesh, the story is especially compelling.

As CFCA’s communications liaison in India, I have the honor to tell their story.

The Santals depend on nature for their survival. Agriculture is their way of life.

As their villages are spread across four Indian states and are miles away from towns, they create their own communities with whatever resources are available. They build houses with mud and clay supported by bamboo sticks and cover the roof with grass, straw and tiles made of mud.

The Santals are wrongly considered “behind the times” by many in India, and their way of life may seem rugged to you and me.

But the Santal people can teach all of us important lessons. They take nothing for granted, and they have a lot to share about using scarce resources in the most sustainable ways.

Their culture and religious observances are colorful, dynamic and unique. To the Santals, dancing is essential to life.

Slowly their agricultural lands are being usurped, leased for other purposes on a long-term basis, putting their way of life in jeopardy.

Bhagalpur, India

Several women sit outside a home in Bhagalpur, India.

That is why CFCA sponsorship is vital in this region. CFCA serves nearly 8,500 people in the Dumka and Bhagalpur projects, particularly in the Bihar and Jharkand states.

The support families receive from CFCA and our sponsors gives people new hope to raise their children and prepare them for future challenges.

Along with poverty, “gender inequality” is a concern since women and children are the most vulnerable citizens in India.

To address that, CFCA mothers groups educate women so they can plan ahead for their families. And with the help of group loans the mothers are able to fulfill the dreams that so many parents around the world have for their children.

CFCA support empowers women and girls to participate in family decisions, and gives them control of financial resources. Now fathers are realizing the mothers’ talents and encouraging them to develop businesses.

A mothers group meeting in Bhagalapur, India.

A mothers group meeting in Bhagalapur, India.

And the gift of sponsorship allows these often forgotten children the opportunity for an education that has the power to change their lives.

Telling stories like this one is my job. Working with these families is a real honor.

Thank you, CFCA, for this opportunity!

Sreekanth Gundoji has been working for CFCA since 2010. He works in CFCA’s project in Hyderabad, India, and travels to various parts of the country for his work in communicating the stories of sponsored friends and their families.

CFCA has five communications centers in El Salvador, Guatemala, Kenya, India and Colombia. Although we call them centers, which sound like a big operation, they actually consist of one or a few local staff members.

This is one in a series of blog posts to introduce you to each communications center liaison. See previous posts here:

ï CFCA Communications Centers: San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala
ï CFCA Communications Centers: Santa Ana, El Salvador
ï CFCA Communications Centers: Bogota, Colombia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We reserve the right to approve or reject any comment. We do this manually, so you will not see your comment immediately after posting. Read our full comment policy.