Was wir tun HEKS
Christian Bobst
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HEKS/EPER is making a difference in the «Church cooperation» in India

India's economic upswing is benefiting only a small part of the population, and some 30 per cent the people continue to live below the poverty line. Development is stagnating in rural areas, while conflicts over land and natural resources are intensifying. The government's pro-business policy promotes land acquisition by large investors and this is leading to ever greater marginalization of smallholders and day labourers. The Indian caste system further accentuates social differences. People who belong to no caste – called Dalits – as well as indigenous groups such as the Adivasis are systematically excluded from society. HEKS/EPER supports these minorities in obtaining land titles, securing their food supply and improving their income.

HEKS/EPER in India

Facts

In 2019, altogether 4850 peasant families received land titles to 3100 hectares, of which 74 per cent received collective rights of use over roughly 2800 hectares. Agro-ecological farming is practised on 96 per cent of the land, and 73 per cent of the peasant families increased their income over the year before. Some 10’280 people who had been affected by extensive flooding the year before continued to receive financial support enabling them to buy food or repair their houses.

Alongside development cooperation and humanitarian aid, church cooperation is the third pillar of HEKS/EPER's international work. For decades in some cases, HEKS/EPER has been supporting, advising, promoting and accompanying Reformed Churches in Eastern Europe, Italy and the Near East in their diaconal work and in building up vibrant church communities. HEKS/EPER supports various church-run social activities, especially for children and young people. In addition, HEKS/EPER is ensuring the continued existence of active church parishes through financial and logistical support for the renovation of run-down church buildings. Lastly, through church parish partnerships as well as exchange and continuing education programmes, HEKS/EPER promotes dialogue between Reformed Church parishes in Switzerland and partner churches abroad.