The Director Revd Paranjyothy Sedala (Paran) and his wife Krupa Devi stayed in Derby from 15th – 28th May. During that time, they enjoyed a varied programme visiting local groups and activities as well as attending the AGM of the Church of North India in Ashbourne. Here Param gave a presentation on the work of the Social Services Institute in Nagpur.
St Paul’s was involved in this visit and on 23rd May Paran and Krupa enjoyed a day out in Derbyshire with the Nagpur Link rep for St Paul’s. Despite the unseasonable weather it was a super day and all enjoyed Dovedale and Monsal Dale as well as travelling to Eyam. At Eyam it was good to share the story of the plague outbreak of 1665 and how the people made such sacrifices by sealing the village off to prevent the disease spreading. Paran and Krupa were very interested in this and were also able to go to the museum, view the various “plague” cottages and take a look around the church and churchyard.
Paran and Krupa at St Paul’s
On Sunday 26th May, Paran and Krupa joined the congregation at St Paul’s for the Morning Worship service. During the service there was an opportunity for Paran to speak about the work of the Social Services Institute (SSI) and the situation in Nagpur. Paran has been Director of the SSI for 8 years and has continued the work with the poor and marginalised in the area. He spoke about the ragpickers that try to make a living by salvaging items from the waste dumps and offering them for sale. These families live in slums, and during the day the young children have to accompany their parents, whilst older children take part in the ragpicking. The SSI has set up shelters that allow young children to be cared for, and also has built a community centre where children can be educated. Currently 85 children are undergoing education there under the National Literacy Programme.
Paran also told us about the Self Help Groups that have been set up to allow women to campaign for their rights, for example for proper pay and conditions for house maids; these women work for rich families who do not always care for their well-being - by joining together the women can fight for a better future.
The SSI works with farmers in rural areas. Paran told us about the plight of farmers who rely on cash crops such as cotton or turmeric to try to improve their income, rather than growing subsistence food. When the weather fails, the farmers have lost their livelihood, and many become suicidal. The SSI has set up networks that enable farmers to support each other, and is also establishing a community centre where training can take place.
We were very fortunate to welcome Paran and Krupa to St Paul’s. It was lovely to meet them and also to share lunch with them in the Church Hall. For this we also welcomed members from St Nicholas church and all enjoyed a tasty buffet and good conversation.
Nagpur Link rep for St Paul’s