Results!

The Online Quiz was a great success.

Many congratulations to the winning team – the Why Nots? who managed full marks on the section on India – and had put their Joker on that section gaining double points!

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We are grateful for all the donations coming in from the Quiz and so far have made £239.66 which will be sent to Delhi in early December as part of our final transfer of the year.


Online Quiz – Come and join us!


Spring sale results! Beyond our dreams…

Last month trustees held a Spring sale of plants, cakes and preserves to raise support for the schools in Delhi. We were excited, not to say staggered, that sales on the day and subsequently raised a total of £1978.03 and donations on the day and subsequently reached £949.79. This gave us a massive total of £2927.82, much more than the usual ‘Coffee Morning’.

We would like to thank the many people involved who provided plants, cakes and preserves, those who bought the many excellent goods, and those who contributed the extremely generous donations. This is enough to support the education of about 30 children for one year.

We know that awareness of the COVID situation has boosted people’s interest in India. We know that the effects of COVID will be long-lasting.

Anyone interested in becoming a regular donor to enhance the sustainability of children’s education in Delhi can contact us through these pages. Regular donations and legacies are immensely helpful – thanks again.


COVID in India: the Lancet medical journal

Information about COVID in India was published in today’s Editorial of the Lancet medical journal (07 May 2021). We quote below a small section:

“The scenes of suffering in India are hard to comprehend. As of May 4, more than 20·2 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported, with a rolling average of 378 000 cases a day, together with more than 222 000 deaths, which experts believe are likely to be substantial underestimates. Hospitals are overwhelmed, and health workers are exhausted and becoming infected. Social media is full of desperate people (doctors and the public) seeking medical oxygen, hospital beds, and other necessities. Yet before the second wave of cases of COVID-19 began to mount in early March, Indian Minister of Health Harsh Vardhan declared that India was in the “endgame” of the epidemic. The impression from the government was that India had beaten COVID-19 after several months of low case counts, despite repeated warnings of the dangers of a second wave and the emergence of new strains. Modelling suggested falsely that India had reached herd immunity, encouraging complacency and insufficient preparation, but a serosurvey by the Indian Council of Medical Research in January suggested that only 21% of the population had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2… The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that India will see a staggering 1 million deaths from COVID-19 by Aug 1.”

Editorial (2021). India’s COVID-19 emergency. The Lancet 397(10286): 1683 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)01052-7

You can read more by searching for the DOI above or searching for the following web address in your browser:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)01052-7/fulltext


Delhi update

Many of us are aware of the dramatic and tragic situation that has emerged in India regarding COVID. This second wave has taken almost everyone by surprise. We heard a while ago that everyone has friends, colleagues or family members who have been ill.

Accurate news is difficult to come by, but on Tuesday 4 May we heard from Father Solomon how many in the Brotherhood have been suffering from COVID, some of them in hospital and on oxygen, but that most of the Brothers were recovering. The exception was Bishop Collin, who had underlying health conditions, and passed away on the morning of 15th April. We have posted an obituary elsewhere on this site.

Father Solomon writes: ‘Delhi has been under lockdown since 16th April and this has been extended till the morning of 11th May. The situation is very critical and most of the people we know are either positive or critical and many have lost their lives…. Every hospital has exhausted their capacity as they have scarcity of beds, medicines and oxygen.’

Schooling has continued online since the pandemic started, but it is hard to imagine beyond the news reports how people are being affected. It was said this morning that there were more than 300,000 new infections every day in the past week, with mention of 400,000 new cases reported yesterday 6 May. Total cases by today are almost 18 million. Perhaps we are now seeing that no-one is safe until we are all safe.

Thank you for your interest. There are many ways to support India. Giving to the Wye and Brook India Trust is an effective and efficient way to support the work of the Delhi Brotherhood. Continuing schooling for girls and boys from poorer families will help to rebuild individual lives, families and society in India.

Become a donor! And leave a permanent legacy by giving to the Wye and Brook India Trust in your will. Contact us at wandbit@aol.com


Bishop Collin Theodore: obituary

We have just heard from Delhi that Bishop Collin of the Brotherhood passed away last month. Bishop Collin was a visitor to Wye and Brook on various occasions, and will be remembered by many with fondness. I met him here and in Delhi. He was larger than life, and indeed was very large in life: I can’t imagine him travelling round Delhi on a motorbike!

The obituary following has been issued.

Nigel Poole, WBIT Chairman

——

Bishop Collin Christopher Theodore

Bishop Collin Theodore spent his life serving the church in Delhi, except for the time when he was consecrated as Bishop to serve the Diocese of Rajasthan. From his childhood till his death he remained a faithful son of the Church of North India.

In Delhi he joined the Brotherhood of the Ascended Christ, which is a monastic-missionary community of the Church of North India. After completing a period of two years as probationer in 1979 he made his final promise for life-intention as a member of the Brotherhood in 1981. He was trained at Bishop College Kolkata and was ordained as deacon in his home parish of St. Mary’s Church Ajmer in 1979, and then returned to the Brotherhood where he was admitted as a probationer. In Delhi he served at St. James Church Kashmere Gate and Holy Trinity Church Turkman Gate as the following year he was ordained as presbyter in the Diocese of Delhi. He continued to serve in these churches, serving and visiting the members on his black Rajdoot motorcycle.

In 1985 Collin was appointed CNI Youth Director; consequently in the following year which was the International Year of Youth, he played an important part in planning conferences at Diocesan and regional levels. The most important one was at St. Stephen’s College in Delhi for the delegates from each diocese of CNI. This was part of the moderator’s “Transfer of Vision” programme, and the Moderator, the Most Revd. Dinesh C. Gorai was present.

Due to his active ministry as a pastor and youth director, he had become widely known among all sections of the people of Delhi Diocese. Moreover his involvement was beyond the confines of the diocese, particularly in the administration of the Christian Study and Retreat Centre at Rajpura Dehradun and Fr. Wyld Memorial Retreat and Study Centre at Tezpur Assam. As a very active Secretary of the Delhi Christian Pastor’s Fellowship he was in touch with the local churches. His experience in pastorates was very wide having ministered only in small Hindi-Speaking Churches like St. Stephen’s Church Fatehpuri, Christ Church Basai Darapur and Prabhu Prakash Sadan Nandnagari, Mukti Aradhnalaya Pitampura but also in multi-lingual Congregation of the Cathedral Church of the Redemption in New Delhi.

At a meeting of the Chapter in November 1997 Collin was elected as the eleventh Head of the Brotherhood of the Ascended Christ. He took over his office as Head from Fr. Amos Rajamoney. Later, he served as Bishop of Rajasthan for a decade 2001-2011 stationed at Ajmer. He did his best to build up the diocese under most difficult circumstances. After his retirement he was called upon to take charge as the episcopal commissary of the Diocese of Lucknow, which was also a very challenging ministry. Thereafter he retired at the Brotherhood House and served as the Guardian of the St. Stephen’s Community, and also built up the ministry of the North West Region of the National Council of Churches of India. As an ecumenical minded person he was loved and respected by Bishops of the Roman Catholic and Methodist Churches.

On the last week of his life he was at St. Stephen’s Hospital Delhi where Fr. Monodeep Daniel (Head of the Brotherhood) was also admitted under the same condition. At the same time Fr. Solomon was also tested corona positive and was quarantined in his rooms in the Brotherhood. They shared the same floor in the hospital but could not meet in person due to health regulation of isolation. Fr. Monodeep called him on mobile each day from his hospital room. Collin spoke very little as he had become very weak. “Yes, Mono” … “still going on, slowly” he would say. He died on the morning of 15th April 2021 in the hospital. According to his wishes he was cremated and his ashes were divided; half were buried at the Nicholson Cemetery Delhi along with Fr. Ian Weathrall and Bishop Christopher Robinson both members of the Brotherhood, and the other half in Ajmer among his family graves.

We will remember him for his very strong voice heartily singing hymns during Sunday Services and the Brotherhood Chapel, his sense of humor and love of mughalai cuisine.

Fr. Monodeep Daniel (PhD)

Head

Brotherhood of the Ascended Christ


Sale of Garden Plants, Cakes and Preserves

In these very difficult times, your help is needed more than ever and your support has been amazing – thank you.


‘Education is the only ladder…’ Update on COVID and education

Following up to the previous blog on child marriage: I have just seen an article in that most respected health journal, The Lancet, which comments on the connection between the pandemic and education:

‘…The economic crisis is pushing poor households into greater poverty, with families turning to early marriage as an alternative form of income. This predicament further perpetuates intergenerational poverty and inequality. Education is the only ladder out of poverty for many children and adolescents, and it is crucial to empower girls to economic independence and resist violation of their rights…’ (The Lancet (2021). COVID-19: the intersection of education and health. The Lancet 397(10271): 253 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00142-2).

Help us to keep up the good work!


Let’s stop child marriage!

Child marriage – that is, any formal or informal union of a child under the age of 18 – causes devastating health and economic consequences for individuals, families, and societies, particularly in South Asia. Globally, 12 million girls under 18 are married each year, which is about 23 cases every minute. For girls in many disadvantaged families, early marriage is the only option. A recent study reported that in India, about 40% of girls under the age of 18 are married and have children. Thankfully, this rate is reducing, but not fast enough to reach the target of the Sustainable Development Goal to eliminate early and forced marriage by 2030. For the full reference to the research report which is publicly available, see the end of the article.

A lack of education and employment is known to be a significant cause of early marriage and early childbearing. The research findings suggested that secondary school completion reduces early marriage, and is greatly helped by improving family incomes.

The British government has recently recognised this: check out the BBC item on 16 January at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-55680955.

The Wye and Brook India Trust (WBIT) has been supporting the education and employment prospects of poor children in Delhi since 1978. Many girls now attend school who would not otherwise have done so. And boys matter, too!

There are many reasons why early marriage and early childbearing persist in South Asia. Complex marriage laws and customary social pressures, customs, and beliefs encourage parents to marry their young daughters. It can avoid high dowry payments, which increase as girls get older and more educated. The social and economic costs of not marrying off a daughter are perceived to outweigh the benefits. In times of economic stress, marrying daughters can reduce household costs and bring income.

Where improvements for girls were found, the study showed that increasing secondary school completion, defined as completing 10 years of school, explained a large part of the reduction in early marriage and early childbearing. Households in urban slum areas were often worse off in terms of education, wealth, girls’ safety, and living conditions than elsewhere. It is increasingly recognised that there is no single solution to the problems of early marriage and early childbearing, but providing education is the first, foremost and most effective action to take.

The report concludes: ‘When girls marry as children and give birth during their teens, there are devastating health and economic consequences for individuals, families, and societies. Child marriage is a human rights violation and a drain on human capital that the global development community is committed to eradicating, but the reality is that policies and interventions have not been effective enough to accelerate progress… The protective nature of girls’ schooling is clear and efforts to increase higher education among girls need to continue’ (pp12-13).

Please join us in supporting the education of vulnerable girls and boys by setting up a standing order: £10 per month or £120 per year will provide much of the cost for a child to complete one year of schooling. One-off gifts are welcome, and you can also sponsor an individual child to go through school. Please consider a legacy, too.

Contact WBIT at 28 Oxenturn Road, Wye, tel 01233 812496, or wbit.treasurer@gmail.com.

The research referred to above was led by the International Food Policy Research Institute, published in December 2020 in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences and is publicly available. The full reference for the research is:

Scott, S. et al. (2020). Early marriage and early childbearing in South Asia: trends, inequalities, and drivers from 2005 to 2018. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences n/a(n/a) DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.14531


Work in Delhi during the pandemic

The Delhi Brotherhood have been busy serving the poor in Delhi during the pandemic – see the report at this link for recent photos and further details.