Catholic Herald Reporter
MEXICO'S National Centre for helping the country's Indians, many of whom live at or near starvation level, has been given a bonus grant in the latest list of Oxfam grants published this week. Although they had only asked for £250 to start a pilot nutritional project among 20 Indian families. they have been allocated £3,000.
noodles, soup and biscuits as a The money will provide protein supplement among some of the neediest Indian families. A recent survey showed that in some areas up to four per cent of the children were suffering from serious undernourishment and 40 per cent were under weight.
In addition, the mortality rate from measles is 20 times .higher than in the United States, bemuse the children have so little resistance, and the calorie intake is only 60 per cent of that needed to carry on even moderate work.
Oxfam's grant brought a reply which called it a "miraculous answer to our many efforts and prayers . . . it heartens us in our most difficult task of trying to channel nutrition. clothing and medical assistance to these. whose extended arms beg pitifully foi help".
The latest grants lists allots over f20.000 to he distributed through Catholic agencies. and in future all the many small requests that come from Indian missions are to be channelled through Catholic Charities India. under the direction of Mgr. Ignatious Lobo. who receives £5.000 to distribute this month.
A training centre for health workers is to be established with an Oxfam grant of £4,750 at Zonkwa. in Northern Nigeria. and these workers will then be assigned to mission dispensaries to work on village and home visits while the nurse carries on the work on the dispensary. A further £2,700 will be provided during 1963-64 if reports are satisfactory.
Two six-ton diesel fishing boats are being provided for the poor Huk San Islands of the South Korean coast. and it is anticipated that each boat will be able to support at least seven families. Fishing prospects are good. and profits will be used to buy new boats through a co-operative and thus expand the industry.
When rains failed in the Lawa River Valley in the Indian province of Madhya Pradesh. famine spread through IS small villages in the area, affecting some 1.200 families. An emergency grant of £4,350 has been made to meet initial requirements.
The total amount of money allocated to Catholic agencies since the beginning of the financial year in October 1962 now amounts to practically 1100,000.
Meanwhile, Rev. Robert L. Child, Chairman of Oxfam's Grants cornmittee, this week inspected the hospital and clinic now being built in the Flekaa Valley, in the Lebanon. He was accompanied by Fr. John G. Nolan and Fr. Denis Mooney. 0.F.M., of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine.
Both Oxfam and the Pontifical Mission have made substantial contributions to the new clinic. which provides medical care at minimal cost to hundreds of thousands of poor people every year. Brother Elie Marnary, S.J., is in charge.