Four pillars of Diakonia explained to Tamilnadu partners

“Trend of regrouping of people based on race, caste and religion is taking place,” alarmed Fr. Frederick D’Souza, Executive Director of Caritas India to the partners of Tamil Nadu during the perspective building workshop at Chennai.

He was sharing his views on the changing global scenario and advised that we should change our approach to long-term, programme, ownership and multi-stakeholder approach.

Caritas India is holding perspective building workshops with focus on volunteerism in different part of the country for their partners to orient them on socio-economic and political scenario and training them to strategise their actions accordingly.

Supporting the cause, Bishop Yvon, Archbishop of Tuticorin reiterated that engaging multi-stakeholders is very important keeping in mind the local and national issues. Citing the example of Tamil Nadu, he said the state is dealing with disasters and how it is affecting the people as they are grappling with a drought situation for three consecutive years.

He also highlighted the lack of appropriate sewage treatment issue which create havoc for the people. He suggested to tap human resource which is abundant and unutilized towards tackling these issues. He urged the partners to build a strategy where people can resolve their issues while we partner with them.

“Caritas India is not just an NGO but a core component of the Gospel and Diakonia is an action that unfold the love of God,” shared Fr. Paul Moonjely, Assistant Director of Caritas India during his presentation on Diakonia.

Explaining ‘Diakonia’, as Gods outpouring of selfless love, both a gift and a duty, Charitable activities based on compassion, he said that it is a mission to promote charity and justice.

He said, “In our country, poverty and marginalization has become a huge issue. Infact, the extreme and extensive poverty in the country is a scandal. Poverty is a symptom of the deeper problems of injustice, greed and the massive accumulation of wealth encouraged by the neo libral paradigm and implementation”.

According to WHO report on Nutrition situation of the country, India will become the world capital for malnutrition by 2035.

Fr. Paul shared that the dangers of modernity have made church less communitarian, less organic and more institutional. The church and her institutions are made understood as organization to be managed than to be lived in the prophetic and radical ways of Jesus.

Taking nuances from Amartya Sen’s definition of Poverty, Fr. Paul raised certain questions on how do we tackle poverty and what is our role.

Further he suggested that we become just the facilitators while the people become the subjects of change and not objects, they are no more treated as beneficiaries  but as partners.

Later, he shared four pillars of Diakonia that can be used to practice in the development programmes which were Empowerment Animation, Dialogue, Volunteerism and Giving community.