FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 29, 2010
Five Talents International
P.O. Box 331
Vienna, VA 22183
Archbishop of Canterbury Secretary Visits India Program
Vienna, Virginia – The Rev. Rachel Carnegie, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for International Development, visited Five Talents’ program with the Diocese of Madras in South India on Oct. 15.
“It was profoundly inspiring to witness the transformation achieved in the lives of these women from the poorest coastal communities, rebuilding their lives after the devastation of the tsunami,” Carnegie said.In December 2004, the devastating tsunami that hit Southeast Asia did not spare the rural fishing villages of South India. Within minutes of the waves crashing to shore, livelihoods were destroyed and hopes smashed.
In response to this tragedy, Five Talents started a Self-Help Group program – in partnership with the Board of Socio-Economic Concerns and the Diocese of Madras – and within a year more than 500 women had access to training and loans as small as $33 to start new businesses. Today, the program has nearly 4,000 clients.
“Through Five Talents’ business skills training, self-help savings schemes and small group loans, these women were now standing confidently on their own feet, sending their children to school and maintaining their families,” Carnegie said. “No longer living vulnerably from hand-to-mouth, they showed me their joint business initiative – crab fattening ponds – with great pride and hope for the future. This is truly Kingdom-building work.”
During Carnegie’s visit, she met with the Board of Socio-Economic Concerns, and Rev. Asok Kumar, the program leader. She also met with several women’s Self-Help Groups on the island of Pulicat, near Chennai, India.
Established in 1999, Five Talents International has provided funding for business training and thousands of loans, ranging from $50 to $300, in 14 countries across Africa, Asia and Central and South America. A majority of loan recipients are women. Five Talents’ ongoing work is supported by a staff based in Vienna, Va., and an office in London. Hundreds of volunteers across the United States and United Kingdom participate in the organization. For more information and to donate, visit www.FiveTalents.org.