In mid January, the new Martha Kindergarten in Chaibasa has finally been finished and inaugurated with about 150 guests.
The last weeks before the opening have seen a lot of stressful work, in order to finish as much as possible on time. For this purpose, several members of our partner organisation SARJOM, the current ‘weltwaerts’ volunteers, as well as one ex-volunteer had come from Ranchi.
The kindergarten committee in Chaibasa decided relative spontaneous that a “small” opening ceremony with the members of the congregation could be held on Sunday. A “big” inauguration is planned for March, when a partner group from the Lichtenberg-Oberspree church district will be on visit in Chaibasa, amongst them also the kindergarten initiator Helga Ottow. The goal is to finish all remaining works until then.
The first children are coming to kindergarten regularly since 15th January 2019, and the business has officially started. A big relief not only for the parents, but also for the kindergarten teachers which, due to several delays, had already waited for quite some time to start their practical work.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of our association’s official founding, we conducted our long planned members trip to India in November 2018. Seven new and old members visited different places in this amazing country, with a focus on our project area in the state of Jharkhand. There, the German travel group took part in the Gossner Mission Day in Ranchi, participated in a church inauguration in Gowindpur, and visited the Martha Kindergarten in Ranchi, where currently two German volunteers of the ‘weltwaerts’ program are working. The most important part of the trip was the two day visit to Chaibasa, where most of our projects are located. Amongst other things there, we organized a meeting with the children and adolescents of the scholarship program, during which we ate and played together, but also found time to talk about individual problems with the students.
On 13 October 2018 we welcomed Rimil Topno as our new “weltwaerts” volunteer in Berlin. Within the framework of the South-North component of the German weltwaerts program, it was possible to get Rimil, who had been working in Ranchi and Chaibasa for our partner organization Sarjom, to Germany with the support from the German-Indian Cooperation (DIZ). Here, he will be active for the Indian Forum for one year, especially in and around Berlin. First, however, he will attend a 3-months German course.
After a longer break, we are happy to present our newly designed website to you today. Many categories are still empty at the moment, but within the next weeks, the pages will slowly be filled with content and many smaller details will still change. So please be patient, but feel free to have a look around already.
On Saturday, 9 September 2017 we participated once again in the annual harvest festival in Alt-Marzahn, Berlin. Many people there visited our booth. Aside from turning the fortune wheel, they had the opportunity to acquire traditional handicrafts from India for a small donation, and to try some Indian food cooked by us.
Parallel to the student and teacher group to Chaibasa in 2002, a mixed group went to Delhi. Three students, Jana Sommerfeld, Christina Lüdtke and Sebastian Keller, as well as two teachers , Edith Daling and Andrea Schubert, participated in the journey. They wanted to spent three weeks with the students and teachers of the Springdales School, learn together and get to know the customs and practices of the respective country. All members of the group lived in guest families. This enabled them to have a look into the daily life of the of the upper middle classes in Delhi. In tours to Agra, Mussorie and Haridwar they got to know people and sights outside of Delhi, too.
Motivated by their experiences, Jana Sommerfeld and Sebastian Keller became two of the founding members of the Indian Forum.
In autumn 2002 the first students journey to Chaibasa was organized by the Ecumenical Forum Berlin Marzahn and was financially supported by the Evangelical church development service (EED) and by the “Nord-Süd-Brücken” foundation (North-South bridges). The experiences collected during this journey finally lead to the foundation of the Indian Forum. A short field report by Roman Bansen follows:
After a rather strenuous journey, we started our tour in the former capital of the British crown colony of India, in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). Instantly we got to know the extreme discrepancies and contrasts of this city, that on the hand produced all four Nobel prize winners of India and still has some of the Victorian glamour of the British rule, but on the other hand is overcrowded with waste, dirt and pure poverty almost everywhere you look. For example we watched a family with several children in the alley bordering our hostel, vegetating beneath a few wooden boards and having to live from leftover food and dirty water.
After a few days we went on to Chaibasa, where several hundred very enthusiastic and cheerful people welcomed us on the following day. Apparently endless dancing and singing, just out of pure delight about our coming, really plucked our heartstrings.
After we had settled in in the guesthouse, the oldest building on the compound, built by the first German missionaries in the mid 19th century, and after the general interest in us had seized at least a bit, we started to put our program into practice, which included visits to multiple congregations, which were partly pleasantly isolated far in the mountains, from where we enjoyed wonderful sunsets and sunrises.
Furthermore we had brought two computers with us and purchased five more on a tour to Ranchi. They were installed in a computer room, that had been especially equipped the preceding days, and first introductions were given to the computers.
Several times we visited the single classes and schools on the compounds and spoke with the students. Helping with the rice harvest in terms of having a look how it works, was also part of the programme, as well as the participation in the church services in the church that is located on the School Compound.
After leaving Chaibasa and therefore also leaving our newly obtained friends there, our journey went on to Khunti first and from there on to Ranchi, where we spent a few more days in the Human Resource Development Centre (HRDC). Finally we went on by plane to Delhi. After another day of sight seeing there we went home to Germany.
Some time before the arrival of the Chaibasa group, another group from the Gandhi School in Berlin Marzahn, consisting of five students and one teacher, visited the Springdales School in Delhi. Alexander Nitschke and Sebastian Keller accompanied and took care of them. Both were already in India when the group arrived and did stay there afterwards, just to take care of the next group, mentioned above.
Students of the Springdales School in Delhi on the school yard
On the fringes of the Ecumenical Church Congress 2003 in Berlin, the teacher Kiran Horo and the representative of the school committee of the Lutheran High School Chaibasa, the Lutheran bishop Hansda, did also visit the Mahatma Gandhi School in Berlin Marzahn. Students took care of the other guests of this church congress too, the Anglican bishop Terom and the Catholic archbishop cardinal Toppo.