PAHUNCH, the initiative of the Redemptorists of Vice-Province of Majella, organized a webinar on the Migrant Ministry Outreach Program on 26th September 2021.
Towards an ever wider “We” is the call of the Holy Father as we are reminded to be mindful of the migrants who are around us. 26th September, the Church celebrated Migrant Sunday in order to spread the awareness, that the migrant population and the local Community of the place are not separate people, but are one body of Christ. With the Covid-19 pandemic in India, the situation of the migrants has never been good. The migrant population especially the poor, have struggled to make ends meet. The various issues of their survival like food, jobs, healthcare, education is struck badly. It became an added burden to their existing problems of Land alienation, lack of identity as tribals, job security, etc. However, in order to survive, they must struggle, and that is why the Webinar was scheduled, in order to bring to light the issues and the concerns of the Migrant Population and try to resolve together concretely what can be done to help them.
PAHUNCH (The Vice-Province of Majella’s Outreach Program for Migrant People has always strived to seek out new avenues in order for us Redemptorists to be more effective in our ministry towards the migrants. The purpose of the webinar was to find new insights in the field of Migrant ministry. The webinar centered around the theme “Towards an ever wider WE” With the speakers talking on Issues like’ Land alienation, the importance of the Documentation, laws that safeguard the migrants, and the struggle to secure the identity of these migrants as Tribals.
The four Speakers, Dr. Bipin Jojo, (Dean. School of Social Sciences, TISS, Mumbai), Advocate Gayatri Singh (Bombay High Court), Mr. Arvind Oraon (A well-known Social Worker and Activist), and Phd Scholar Mr. Praveen Kachhap. All of them spoke briefly on the topics and shed light on the issues as well as the possibility of resolving these issues with the resources available in the current situation.
They brought out the points of how landlessness is increasing among Tribals, the issues relating to the Public Distribution System, ration cards, the importance of registration on the Government portal, etc. The speakers also proposed a way out suggesting that we help people to get their identity documents ready, help them to register on the Govt Portal with set Migrant Desks, keep a record of their movement from source states as well as their entry into destination states, also to ensure that the laws are in place so that these migrants are not ill-treated at their workplace and are duly paid.
These along with few other points became the highlights of the Two hours’ webinar. It was an experience of enlightenment, of learning, and understanding the dire need of reaching out to the Migrant population as they are the sheep without a shepherd in our country. They are the vulnerable ones who move out from place to place in order to survive and at times are treated as belonging to nowhere. In this wounded world of ours, these are the wounded people that the Lord wants us to work and unite with. At PAHUNCH, this is what we Redemptorists of the V. Province of Majella and our team of Lay Partners for mission strive to do, uniting humans as one body of Christ, in a special way, trying to reach out to the poor abandoned migrants especially in the city and suburbs of Metropolitan Mumbai and the area of Vasai in Maharashtra.
It is our hope and prayer that the Spirit of the Lord accompany us as we joyfully build a society that unites us as One so the dream of Towards an ever wider We become a reality in our time.
Fr. Joseph Ivel Mendanha, C.Ss.R.
Fr. Ivon D’Souza, C.Ss.R., (PAHUNCH Team)
An article published in asianews.it too.