Food for People Brings Hope to Tribal Villagers in India
August 04, 2007 Lifestyle News(PRLEAP.COM) It has been one year since the inception of Food for People, a 10,000-square-foot custom-built facility funded by The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF). The facility has provided more than 150,000 meals to tribal people in need in the state of Jharkhand, in northeastern India. Developed and operated in consultation with village elders, the assistance provided has brought hope to the people of this remote area where malnutrition until now ran rampant and people struggled just to survive.
After attending the first anniversary celebration, Linda Pascotto, president of TPRF, said, “The children are noticeably healthier and attend school more regularly. In the past, many dropped out of school before they were ten to work for food to help the family survive. Now, school attendance is up, and there is reason to expect that more young people will stay in school long enough to develop marketable skills and earn a better living.
“Many have expressed their appreciation,” she reports. “One thirteen-year-old boy told me, ‘The food always tastes good. I am feeling better now and am starting to do well in school.’ A young father told me, ‘Now that I have enough to eat, I am gaining back my ability to work. Without food, I was too weak to work. Now I have enough strength to support my family.’”
Because they live in a remote tribal area, the needs of people there have been passed over by larger organizations that concentrate on denser populations. And yet, fewer than 10 percent of the people can read and write, and healthcare facilities are nonexistent. The mortality rate for children is twice that of the rest of India, and it is rare for adults to live to their fifties.
As long as the focus of each family is just foraging for food each day, the cycle of poverty cannot be reversed. Recognizing this and understanding that the villagers would need sustained help if they were ever to become self-sufficient, TPRF began work well over a year ago to build a facility where nutritious meals based on local cuisine could be provided. A six-acre plot of land was purchased, and a well-equipped facility was built. Some of the villagers were then trained to operate the facility at the highest level of sanitary and nutritional standards.
Food for People was the vision of Prem Rawat, known widely as Maharaji. He founded The Prem Rawat Foundation, whose humanitarian efforts have also brought disaster relief and food aid to people in need in Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Niger, Ghana, Israel, Lebanon, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Grenada, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States.