India was one of the first areas of activity for the Basel Mission, Mission 21's largest supporting association. About 80% of India's people are Hindus. Christians account for 2.4% of the population. With support from Mission 21, the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS) works with the Church of South India (CSI) to provide protection and support for disadvantaged members of society. Special emphasis is placed on the advancement of girls. Our partner church has a long tradition of social commitment.
A future through education
Although India is now an emerging economic power, the country's illiteracy rate (for both genders) is about 30% (as of 2018). Girls and young women are particularly affected. The CSI advocates better educational opportunities for girls and practice-oriented learning for the disadvantaged population. The church runs hospitals, schools and kindergartens. With almost four million members and 15,000 congregations, the CSI numbers among India's largest Protestant churches. As well as supporting the CSI's work for the advancement of women and girls, Mission 21 supports the church's efforts to promote religious diversity and interfaith dialogue in India.
School education for girls
India has seen strong economic development in recent years. Nevertheless, there are millions of people who live in slums and have very hard lives. It is difficult for children from economically disadvantaged families to find a way out of poverty. Poverty prevents children from attending school – instead, they have to help with earning money. Education is still out of reach for many, and especially for girls. They are the first to help in the household, work in the fields or hew rocks in the quarries for a few rupees – or else get married. Mission 21 supports its partner church in South India, which builds children's homes and educational facilities.
Protection and security
The children's homes offer better life prospects, especially for girls. They can escape from child labour or difficult family circumstances and attend school. Education enables them to break free from the vicious cycle of poverty and violence. Children from Christian, Hindu and Muslim families live together in the homes, where interfaith dialogue is encouraged and peace is promoted. These institutions make it possible for children to attend school, and give them a genuine home that offers protection and security.
The EMS belongs to Mission 21's network of partners. The EMS and Mission 21 are linked by many years of professional collaboration. Mission 21 provides financial support for the work of the EMS and the CSI in India. The projects in India fall within the responsibility of the EMS, which reports regularly to Mission 21.