Christian Aid March for Justice
Despite the growth of India’s economy, hundreds of millions of Indians remain trapped in extreme poverty. Access to land is vital in helping communities support their own livelihoods. Lack of access results in exclusion of poor people and discrimination against them. Christian Aid’s partner, Ekta Parishad started campaigning on this issue back in 2007. They say that land reform could set as many as 400 million people on the first step out of poverty. With land, the poor would be able to feed themselves and others instead of being dependent on welfare hand-outs, charity or the competitive ‘day labour’ market.
Ekta’s peaceful protests have resulted in the government setting up a special land-rights commission to make sure that poor people don’t face discrimination as they pursue their fight for land rights. But progress is slow and Ekta believes that the Indian government now needs to be reminded of the urgency to implement land reform if India is to end poverty for millions of its people. To do this they are organising a march of 100,000 people from Gwalior to India in October 2012. This will be preceded by 25 local marches beginning in Kerala in October 2011.
During the march in 2012, most marchers will not have shoes; those from the south will suffer from the cold. 100,000 people will need to be housed and watered in sanitary conditions. The marchers have already begun to prepare by saving two handfuls of rice each week so they have enough to eat whilst on the march. It’s a massive undertaking, with potentially huge implications.
To support the marchers in India, Christian Aid has organised a number of sponsored walks across England. Not only will walkers in England be walking in solidarity with the marchers in India and raising awareness, but they will also be raising money which will go to support the work of Ekta Parishad and other Christian Aid lands rights projects across Asia.
Christian Aid in Peterborough have organised 3 simultaneous sponsored walks from Burghley House, Wansford and Ferry Meadows on the 1st October. Each walk will end at Peterborough Cathedral for a short service and refreshments.
Rajagopal, President of Ekta Parishad says:
“A country like India where problems are so many will demand larger mobilization to bring about basic change. We are trying to address change at the social and economic level. We are also interested in strengthening a process of democracy and responsible governance. Though the action is in India, we want the world at large to join this process.”
The walkers were welcomed in the Cathedral at the end of their march. For details click here