Supporting Sugarcane Farm Workers: – A Noble Initiative by Carmelite Sisters of Charity – Pimpari, Gujarat.

Dang is a tribal district in southern part of Gujarat inhabited by the kukana, Bhil,Varli, Kotwalia, Kathodi and Gamit tribesg. Almost 86% of the total families fall below poverty line and majority of the population do rainfed agriculture and are seasonally migrates from October to May in search of livelihood as there is lack of rain and the land is a hilly area and therefore they are not able to do any agriculture during the rest of the year and so they migrate to the sugarcane fields and work as daily wage laborers.

These laborers borrow money from the middleman who hires them and takes theim to the sugarcane fields. They are paid only after the entire harvest is cut which sometimes takes around 6 months and they pay him interest at the rate of 50% and it is very difficult for these tribal laborers to ever pay back, and they remain bonded laborers generations after generation. Due to this practice, our people are permanently exploited, overworked and underpaid.

Knowing the difficulties our people face in the sugarcane fields, we the sisters of Pimpri community have taken a significant step towards supporting these needy people in the sugarcane fields through our medical and nutritional aid. From Pimpri Mission around 150 families have migrated for work. We visited all of them during the month of December and they were happy to see us in their place of work. During our second visit Sr. Dr. Joemol from Subir community joined us and ahse being a Doctor, her visit was very helpful and it gave our people hope and joy, just what the Christmas season is all about and for what Christ was born. Hence, Christmas this year for us was special as the true message became a possibility for us and for the most needy.