Partnering the Palani Mission in Tamil Nadu, India
The Palani Mission is in a remote part of the southern province of India called Tamil Nadu and belongs to the St Thomas Evangelical Churches of India. The Palani Mission has two objectives: firstly, to provide religious teaching based upon the life and work of Jesus and, secondly, to relieve the poverty and suffering of the poor. In the case of the latter it is very much a charity, providing shelter, food and clothing, the very basics of life.
In the province today Christians are tolerated by the Indian Hindu majority, but often they are restricted to the lower caste orders, with few work opportunities. They often suffer discrimination and abuse, and remain as outcasts on the edge of communities. To many the Palani Mission represents hope, and with its open generosity provides a welcoming place to shelter. Reverend John Abraham and his wife Sheeba devote their lives to tending the needs of the congregation.
The Minister also works full time at the nearby Mission Hospital as a pharmacist, and it is this relationship that allows the possibility of training midwives. Infant morbidity is much higher than in the western world, and the work of qualified midwives is very much appreciated to ensure the survival and aftercare of new born babies.
Our partnership with the Mission is initially based upon the funding of two young women to train as midwives at the Mission Hospital. At the end of two years of theoretical study they will be given the opportunity to continue for a third year, where practical hands-on experience of deliveries and aftercare will be gained. Ultimately they will be admitted to the staff of the hospital and begin careers as salaried midwives.
Currently we at Fleet URC have committed to fund fully the first two years of the student midwives’ training; and if there is a need for additional midwives then we are prepared to raise money to facilitate that. This is a long term partnership, enabling the churches in Fleet and Palani to develop a closer relationship, whilst improving significantly the quality of life, spreading the Good News of Jesus, and helping alleviate poverty within the local community of Palani.