Sister Magda of the Missionaries of Charity has been providing medical care in an isolated village since western India was devastated by an earthquake in January. The quake left thousands dead.

"We have provided the people with hope and support," says Sister Magda, who is working in the tiny, remote village of Momay Mora in the western Indian state of Gujarat. "They are in terrible need with gangrene and serious injuries, suffering in pain. We work from 9 a.m. to late in the evenings. We have established a good relationship and made [a] good impression. We have seen people who lost everything, but not [their] hope."

Long-term Commitment

Since her team works in remote villages, Sister Magda does not face resistance from Hindu fundamentalists who have attempted to gain attention and political mileage out of disaster in the cities. Hundreds of forgotten villages, however, remain leveled after the quake, and the smell of corpses, still lying under the debris, hangs heavy in the air.

Many Christian agencies are focusing on these remote villages, where the poorest people live. "My house collapsed in the quake," Cries Ghansham, a young man from a low caste in the village of Chobari, told Christianity Today. "I have no place to sleep, and nothing to eat. No one has come to help us."

Upper-caste Hindus in that village openly demanded that relief workers distribute food and tents to them only and not to Dalits (also known as untouchables).

Gujarat, a Hindu-majority state, is a stronghold of the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which seeks to transform India's government from a secular to a pro-Hindu model. Gujarat is notorious for atrocities against minorities.

Samson Christian, executive member of the All India Christian Council (AICC), ...

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