Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Rice scheme reaches those most in need
Subsidy extension means three meals a day for rural poorBangladeshi poor people line up to buy government-subsidized low-price rice
- Uttom Stephan Rozario, Rajshahi
- February 18, 2011
The Open Market Sale (OMS), a subsidized rice scheme, was first established in April 2008 when the cost of food in Bangladesh began to rise sharply as a result of global price hikes.
The price of rice, the staple food for Bangladeshis was particularly affected.
Originally, the scheme allowed people to buy rice at 24 taka (USD 0.34) instead of 40 taka in 2,500 centers in district towns across the country.
However, the scheme only benefitted those with easy access to the towns and meant villagers in more remote areas were left struggling to feed their families.
Many could only afford to eat one or two meals a day.
But with prices rising to what a recent World Bank report called â€śdangerous levels,â€ť the government has extended the program so that it is more easily accessible for villagers in sub-districts.
Itâ€™s made a big difference for as many as 4.5 million poor people.
â€śWe used to have three meals a day, but soaring prices saw my family starving,â€ť said Tapan Hembrom, 56, a tribal Santal Catholic from northwestern Chapai Nawabgonj district, in Rajshahi diocese.
He can now have breakfast again before going off to work each day, he said.
Caritas Rajshahi agricultural officer Jillur Rahman lauded the scheme extension.
â€śThis is appreciated because it enables poor people to eat properly. Food price rises hit the rural poor hard and if they spiral out of control weâ€™ll face an ominous future,â€ť he said.