Spirit of slums wows German priests

November 7, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Mumbai, November 7, 2016: Last Wednesday, a slum colony in Reay Road lit up with excitement when a busload of foreigners arrived to visit. The little children of the shanties did not know who their guests were, but gaily held their hands and took them home, asking curious questions like “Are you married?”

This group of 19 deacons from Germany was in Mumbai to study a preventive health programme run by the Archdiocese of Bombay. The programme is called the Health Promotion Trust (HPT) and trains poor communities to practise home remedies, acupressure and alternative healing techniques in order to save the cost of expensive diagnostic tests and treatment.

The visitors are members of the Germany-based IDC (International Diocanate Centre) which “trains people to take responsibility as deacons”. It is also a network group and think tank.

Erik Thouet who led them said, “It was inspiring to see large families with limited means putting up eight to a hutment, yet smiling through their day and wearing their poverty with such dignity.” Two of Thouet’s five children have lived in India for a brief duration.

His colleague Stefan Sander said, “Many among our group were taking their first trip outside Europe and adjusted well to the crowds in the street, the traffic, the food – and the warmth. We all marvelled how HPT works for Hindus and Muslims not just Christians.”

Shortly after their arrival last Saturday, the Germans visited HPTs “barefoot health workers” in hamlets in Raigad. “IDC and HPT both focus on the health of the girl child. Here in Raigad our guests saw how poverty and early motherhood deprive teenage girls of education and good health,” said HPT director Fr Rocky Banz. “They also received testimonials from the tribals of how simple kitchen remedies can prevent or cure common ailments.” Fr Rocky is a member of the IDC which is what drove this partnership.

– times of india

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