Focolare Little Town
The Indian subcontinent has more than a billion, 170 million inhabitants. Its population could soon exceed China’s. It is a rapidly developing country with one of the biggest economies in the world. At the same time there is tremendous illiteracy, poverty and malnutrition. Its enormous religious variety includes the 80% Hindu majority and a 2.3% Christian minority. It is understandable that among the Focolare dialogues in process in this land, the most developed should be in the interreligious field, especially with Hindus. The Focolare Movement has been in India since 1980. Today there are centres in Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa, New Delhi which promote various activities: Mariapolises, monthly meetings for adults, families, and young people. In various cities – Vasai, Pune, Panaji, Margao, Vasco, Trichy – there are groups actively following the Focolare spirit. Various small social projects are flourishing around the Focolare communities. These are engaged in educating children, improving conditions for women, supporting families in difficulty, with support also being given from people in other places. The best know are ‘Ilanthalir’ (Tamil for tender shoots) in the South of India and in Mumbai ‘Udisha’ – the sun ray that announces the new dawn. Set up to ‘offer a practical response to the poverty around us’ they now look after about 2400 children and their families. There is a particular emphasis upon spreading the values of universal fraternity in the world of adolescents, reaching out to young people of all religions with various events, included ones of an international nature.