Poverty is a human rights issue and one that calls each of us to do what we can to educate others on the plight of the underserved in our society. The Caldwell Dominicans’ Economic Justice Committee of the Commission on Global Issues believes the study of economics should begin early on in students’ lives via meaningful curriculum. Through literature, a child can gain insights into the needs of those who are impoverished and how one might respond. Understanding vocabulary terms, concepts of poverty, resources and other issues of economic justice have their beginnings when integrated within interesting stories.
Justice and Peace
Sister Reg McKillip was recently appointed DSI (Dominican Sisters International) North American Co-Promoter of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation by Sister Margaret Mayce, DSI International Coordinator. Sister Reg was elected to this position by the Leadership of the North American congregations and was recommended to Sister Margaret and the DSI Coordinating Council.
Dominican Sisters of Springfield: ‘Dominican Sisters Say Forgo Violent Rhetoric, Break Cycle of Violence with Iran’
Springfield, Ill.—Promoters of Justice for Dominican Sisters and Brothers nationwide call upon the U.S. Government to forgo “violent rhetoric and preparations for retaliatory attacks” against Iran. A statement released yesterday, on the Feast of Epiphany, says it is “critical that the circle of violence be broken and alternative and peaceful pathways to resolving the conflict be found.”
The January 3 assassination in Baghdad of Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani by the US has destabilized US relationships with Iran and Iraq and led to the deployment of 3,000 additional US troops to the region.
Sister Marcelline Koch, who is the justice promoter for the Dominican Sisters of Springfield and the co-promoter of justice for Dominicans in North America, is a signatory to the statement, which will be sent to President Trump and other government officials.
Today we hear from the gospel of Matthew, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us” (Mt 1: 23). As we pray on our final Sunday of Advent for the people of India around the world, may we pray for the way of transformation in India for dignity and respect for children.
Children under the age of 18 comprise 37% of India’s population. Many of them experience deprivation such as lack of access to basic education, nutrition or health care. In addition, many are subjected to various forms of abuse, neglect, violence, and maltreatment which dominate their childhood experience.
Further violations of child rights, legitimized by cultural practices and customs deeply rooted in the male-dominant patriarchal society, involve child marriage, of which 326 incidences were reported in 2015-16, and gender discrimination, which has created significant gender disparity.
This is reflected in the preference for providing educational opportunities for the male child. The perception of girl children as a burden to the family also leads to sex selective abortion which has resulted in an unequal sex ratio in the country with 933 females per 1000 males (Census, 2011).
2015-2016: 32,973 cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act
- 19,765 cases of child rape
- 12,226 cases of sexual assault
- 934 cases of sexual harassment
- 47 cases of use of children for pornography
Additional abuse includes domestic abuse, child trafficking and child labor.
Linked to poverty and other social structures of the society, there are around 10.1 million working children between 5-14 years of age. This accounts for 3.9% of the total child population, and of these children,
- 0% used as peasants/cultivators,
- 9% as agricultural laborers,
- 2% as household industry workers,
- 8% as other workers (Census, 2011).
Under the Dominican Indian Center for Integrated Development, there are a number of programs helping youth.
A prime example of this is an initiative, Project Bloom, of Dominican friars in collaboration with Dominican Sisters of the Presentation and Dominican Laity in the Yuvajyothi Children’s Home of the Indian Centre for Integrated Development (ICID) in Nagpur.
This project strives to rescue children and female youth from exploitative, abusive and other disadvantaged situations such as street and pavement dwelling, work places, children begging, picking waste material and neglected children, and provide a protective environment where a child finds a safe, dignified and child-friendly atmosphere including their rehabilitation with their families.
This is done through various programs, such as street outreach, formation of children’s groups, counselling, life skill education, educational support and sponsorship, provision of safe shelter for children in need, organizing child right awareness and advocacy programs.
The Dominican Family of Friars, Sisters and Laity also work in collaboration with a team of social workers and volunteers in Nagpur district to assist with children who are already living on the streets with adequate and necessary support:
- Providing street-based support, protection, rescue, rehabilitation and integration (with family), maintaining street presence through volunteers, and awareness creation among children about the risks and dangers on the streets.
- Residential care (counselling, food, accommodation, education, life skill development, livelihood training and opportunity, and preparing them for family life). Children are referred to Yuvajyothi or other homes for children.
And to work with economically and socially disadvantaged families whose children may turn to the streets:
- Sensitization visits to the families, life skill education to children in the families, child rights awareness in communities and schools, interventions at the school level in order to retain children in the schools, networking and advocacy.
- Livelihood training and opportunities for women from disadvantaged families at community-based centers.
In addition, all the Dominican entities in India are developing a training project, Safe Childhood: Breaking the silence and preventing incidences of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), to equip sisters and brothers with skills in dealing with child sexual abuse through activities such as:
- Children’s groups and training in safety lessons against CSE
- Increasing the knowledge and life skills of children to understand CSE and appropriately report the same in time
- Awareness and sensitization on CSE in communities
- Strengthening families by assisting parents to understand their children’s issues and how to help them be free from sexual exploitation
- Providing nurturing support by visiting at-risk families at home and ensure family counseling and parenting support
- Training of teachers, counselors and others on child sexual exploitation and enhance their capacity to effectively protect children from sexual exploitation
- Dialogue and networking with schools and Government and Civil Society Organizations
To show solidarity, Dominicans worldwide are urged to act and pray.
- Pray each day for the Dominican Family in India and for the people who suffer and those who work to alleviate their pain.
- According to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyrthi “Over $150 billion is earned annually in the trade (human trafficking). Over half of these are children.” Watch the Video Children for Sale: The Fight Against Child Trafficking in India
From Marcelline Koch, OP and the Springfield Dominicans
Dominican Sisters of Adrian: Dominicans Accompany, Advocate for Displaced Farmers in the Dominican Republic
December 3, 2019, Seibo, Dominican Republic – The plight of displaced farmers from Seibo, in the western part of the Dominican Republic, has drawn the solidarity and advocacy of Dominican Sisters and Friars from both the Dominican Republic and the United States.
About three years ago, the farmers were displaced from their homes and land with the arrival of a sugar corporation. “Every day the media brought news of the mistreatments [the farmers] had suffered at the hands of the landowner, who with his economic power and influence had evicted them from, and destroyed their plantations,” said Adrian Dominican Sister Luisa Campos, OP, a native of the Dominican Republic who ministers at Centro Antonio Montesino in Santo Domingo. She added that 12-year-old Carlos Rojas Peguero was killed during conflicts over the land.