The Maltos and Santhals, two different ethnic groups living in Jetkey, a small village in India, were each struggling to provide food and income for their own groups.
The communities developed a joint venture committee consisting of both Maltos and Santhals to help them work together on their common challenges. The committee proposed creating a Peace Garden as a way to address their food and income needs.
The project included anyone from the two groups who wanted to be involved—Malto people, Santhal people, and others from the lowest income groups. Project participants were surprised and grateful when one community member from the low income group heard about the Peace Garden proposal and offered his land to the project at no cost.
World Renew is committed to supporting individuals and communities with many different ethnic and religious backgrounds as they overcome poverty and embrace justice. World Renew and its local partner, Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR), helped project participants as they began working together on the land.
After clearing, tilling, and watering the land, they planted vegetables such as potatoes, garlic, radishes, and tomatoes. The relationships within and between the two groups grew as they worked and ate together.
The Peace Garden not only brought the two communities together, it also produced a bigger yield of vegetables than the villages had ever harvested before.
“It was an eye-opener for us,” said one community member. “The garden is helping us build relationships while also providing income for everyone involved.”
The fruit and vegetables from the Peace Garden are helping families in the community supply healthy meals for their children, and the extra food sold at the market is allowing some families to earn a larger income.
The Peace Garden experiment is living up to its name. It provides a relaxed environment for both communities to work together and build relationships with one another.
“This kind of work project is very successful,” said Lakhinder Malto, leader of the joint venture committee. “We hope that it will soon become a model for other communities to work together across ethnic and social barriers to build food security and improve income across the region.”
Please pray that as the Maltos and Santhals are working together, sharing meals, and enjoying the harvests, they may begin to experience the true peace of Christ.