A new economic report on India revealed a lower poverty rate in the world's second most populous country. At the same time, more than half of the population still cannot meet their basic needs. With that, the Roman Catholic Church in India echoed Pope Francis' call to devote itself to serving the poor and those marginalized by society.
"The Catholic community intends to improve its services to education, making schools and other educational institutions closer to the poor. It also aims to combat the culture of well-being, which leads to 'globalization of indifference,' as Pope Francis defines it," Agenzia Fides reported on Thursday, citing comments by the "Justice and Peace" Commission of the Indian Bishops.
The McKinsey Global Institute report, commissioned by the Indian government and released this month, revealed mixed economic news for the South Asian country. While the official poverty rate has gone down from 45 percent of the population in 1994 to 22 percent in 2012, it was found that 56 percent of the population, or 680 million people, still lack the means to meet essential needs, such as food, energy, housing, drinking water, sanitation, healthcare, education, and social security. more >>
A Michigan church made their vision a reality when they gathered thousands of volunteers to prepare over two million meals in three days to feed hungry children around the world last weekend.
Pastor Brad Powell of NorthRidge Church led the "2 Million Meals" project with nearly 9,000 helpers who assembled the meals consisting of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and 21 vitamins and minerals. The meals will be shipped to El Salvador, Haiti and the Philippines, where 5,560 children will be able to eat a meal every day for one year.
"The truth is, this has been an amazing experience because of the impact it's going to cause in the lives of every child and every person who's going to eat these meals," said Powell, according to ABC News. "But I think you can see from the energy in this room and all that's going on it's going to change more than just the lives of those who will eat this food." more >>
The recent devotion of churches to caring for orphans has changed the lives of not only the children they saved, but the communities in which they serve and the churches themselves, panelists pointed out at a Wednesday event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute. With 400,000 kids still in foster care in the United States, though, there is more work to be done.
When churches get engaged in the orphan care issue, it changes whole communities, explained Jason Weber, national director of foster care initiatives at the Christian Alliance for Orphans.
The outcomes of those who "age out" of foster care, or reach age 18 without being adopted by a family, are terrible, Weber said. They end up costing the government a lot of money in social services because of these poor outcomes. Weber cited an article by Bloomberg noting that the 20,000 to 25,000 kids who age out each year cost taxpayers almost eight billion dollars. The cost, therefore, of churches not getting involved in orphan care is "enormous," Weber reasoned. more >>
A group of Christian bloggers is partnering with South African-based organizations and local churches to raise $150,000 to build a community center in the city of Muabane that will benefit adults and orphans in need of food security and employment opportunities.
Lisa Jo-Baker, a Virginia-based mother and blogger considers herself the storyteller of the initiative and hopes to rally moms with the same heartfelt need to help raise the funds between Valentine's Day and Mother's Day.
"It's a terrifying amount! There's no way I could possibly accomplish it myself. But as scared as I get and as much as I wanted to hide from this call, I felt certain that I heard God's quiet challenge to me and it sounded a lot like Him saying, 'I dare you to lose face.' So I'm all in," said Baker to The Christian Post. more >>
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) presented his new bill on higher education reform, attacking the current accreditation and federal loan system as a "higher education cartel."
"Restrictive policies artificially narrow America's path into the middle class and into economic opportunity," Lee declared at The Heritage Foundation on Monday. "In effect, the federal government today operates a kind of higher education cartel — federally approved accreditors act as a gatekeeper to keep unwanted providers out of the market."
Lee argued that the current rules do not protect students from "bad actors" so much as they protect "incumbent colleges from innovative competitors." He explained that, in America's information economy, college education is more important than ever before but also blocked by many barriers. more >>
NEW YORK — Gary Haugen, founder and CEO of human rights organization International Justice Mission, recently visited the American Bible Society in NYC to talk with Gabe Lyons of Q Ideas about his new book, The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence.
"Beneath the surface of the world's poorest communities, common violence — like rape, forced labor, illegal detention, land theft, police abuse and other brutality — has become routine and relentless. And like a horde of locusts devouring everything in their path, the unchecked plague of violence ruins lives, blocks the road out of poverty, and undercuts development," reads a publisher description of Haugen's The Locust Effect, co-written with Victor Boutros.
Haugen has led International Justice Mission for 17 years in its mission to protect the world's poorest and most vulnerable from violence, exploitation and oppression. Haugen, formerly a lawyer at the U.S. Department of Justice, saw the horrors of unchecked and systematic violence firsthand when he served as director of the U.N. investigative team in a post-genocide Rwanda. more >>