Friends of Pravaham

Archive for December 2008

Ps. 140:12. I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor.

At IPC’s Alternative Christmas Bazaar (ACB), we raised $1400.00 approx. for Pravaham sponsorships. These sponsorships provide funds for the Nursing Aide  program – girls from the rural, mostly dalit villages that surround Pravaham are given Alpha (Basic) training as well as vocational skills to become Nursing Aides. IPC’s ACB also supported a number of other missions and you can see them all here in these pictures!

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Article published in the Irvine Presbyterian Church, SaltShaker Bulletin, 2008 October (online) and November (print)

 Let justice roll on like a river; righteousness as a mighty stream. Amos 5: 24

I invite you to join us, the IPC Missions Committee for an exciting adventure receiving the Kingdom of God. Add spice to your life and relationships! Come explore Pravaham with us, a community in India for peace, social justice, and human rights, grounded in Christ’s teaching to his “other sheep” who have not yet heard his voice (John 10:16). The Pravaham campus, is six acres of serene greenery, located in the Palamathy Hills in Venkatapuram, a village in a rural area of the state of Tamil Nadu, South India.

Pravaham: An IPC Prayer Partner

In October 2008, Pravaham: A Community for Peace and Justice, became an IPC missions partner. Pravaham means an “ever flowing stream” and was initiated in 1993 by the Rt. Rev. Ananda Rao Samuel, a former Moderator and Bishop of the Church of South India, with a vision of a community of peace and justice. The call to establish such a stream of righteousness was from God’s holy Word: Amos 5: 24 – Let justice roll on like a river; righteousness as a mighty stream.

Mission Statement

The Pravaham mission statement is: A Community which lives to enlighten, receives to enable, with God as its source, Christ as its model and people as partners.

How does Pravaham fulfill its mission? Pravaham serves the needs of the marginalized ‘dalits’ (untouchables), rural, and poor among whom it is situated. The programs are focused around three facets: Education, Health, and Spirituality (Christian). Pravaham also serves the needs of its broader community of supporters, Friends of Pravaham, which includes individuals as well as churches, by hosting Christian spiritual retreats. A retreat center and recently renovated guest-house provide facilities (dormitory and apartment style) for mission teams and families. The beautiful chapel can accommodate 100 people. The rural campus offers participants the rare gift of silence and provides an opportunity for meditation and prayer facilitating inner renewal.

Pravaham Programs

The Pravaham staff is made up of a handful of people who oversee many programs:

1) Nursing Aide program for rural dropout girls;

2) Evening tuition centers in nearby villages;

3) Model school outreach, whereby students are brought to Pravaham for activities such as competitions, Christian worship services, prayer meetings, retreats, and hot, nutritional meals;

4) Free health and medical camps; and

5) Christian ecumenical retreats.

IPC and Pravaham: A Mutual Partnership

IPC can help Pravaham in a number of ways:

  • Pray
  • Provide sponsorships for young women in the Nursing Aide program
  • Visit Pravaham and during visits
    • Teach spoken English
    • Volunteer on carpentry projects
    • Teach sewing and crafts
    • Interact with the students, spend time in prayer, and devotional singing
    • Offer health camps to surrounding villages
    • Participate in ongoing programs
  • Participate in the movement for peace and justice
  • Establish new vocational programs in computer applications/desktop publishing
  • Offer financial and other resources.

What does IPC receive? God’s healing grace – reconciling us to Him and to right relations in the world, near and far – will be one of the greatest blessings from our experiences with this community.

Lives Changed

Pravaham Director Lucy Shyamsundar recently commented, “What a joy it is to see young girls who have been beaten down by life, who come in with gloomy faces, bitterness in their hearts, and frustrated minds because they could not achieve what they wanted, transformed into young ladies, their faces radiant with a new hope and faith in themselves, and in God.” Spending time at Pravaham with these girls, in a Christian retreat setting, will help us get closer to God who serves the poor and oppressed, and doesn’t forget them. It will open our eyes and help us see the world as he does.

An Invitation to Visit India-A Country with a Christian History

Lucy has invited IPC members to visit the safe surroundings of Pravaham anytime. India is not usually thought of as a Christian country but traditions about Christianity go back to the first century. The Apostle Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, is said to have brought the gospel to South India. According to tradition, Saint Thomas landed on the Malabar coast in the state of Kerala (southwestern India) established seven churches, was martyred and buried in eastern India on the Coromandel coast, in Chennai (formerly Madras). The Christian communities he established are the Mar Thoma Christians or Syrian Christians (classical form of Aramaic) in view of the liturgy used.

Pravaham Nursing Aide Program

The Pravaham Nursing Aide program is an opportunity to dropout students, particularly girls, to get vocational training and gain employable skills in nursing. It is a 10-month residential program, followed by a two-month internship in reputed health-care institutions, and guaranteed job placement upon completion. Students are taught the Alpha Christian faith course and are also encouraged to complete their high school diploma while at Pravaham. The Class of 2009 has 30 students, 24 of whom need sponsorships. Job placement is 100%. Think about it: We can help a young woman become self-sufficient in just one year. Many of the girls accept Christ and some have sent a portion of their salaries back to Pravaham.

IPC Involvement

The Missions Committee invites you to come alongside us as servants of God. Pray, search your heart, ask God if he’s calling you to become a Friend of Pravaham. Visit the Pravaham website – www.pravaham.org – for more information. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Blessings and peace in Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.


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