Sandmillers: October & November talks

Nowhere’s Child
On Wednesday 11 October Kari Rosvall spoke to an enthralled Sandmillers’ gathering in Sandford Parish Church. Her story has become known through an RTE documentary and a book, Nowhere’s Child, co-authored by Naomi Linehan.

Kari told us that her life story really began to emerge for her at the age of 64 with the first photograph she had ever seen of herself as an infant. She was born in 1944 in occupied Norway as part of Himmler’s ‘spring of life’ eugenics project to breed a pure Nordic race of blond, blue-eyed Aryan types with robust physical and mental characters. Her mother was Norwegian and her father a Nazi officer. At ten days old she was torn from her mother and sent to an orphanage in Germany. At this stage the course of the war was already set and in 1945 American soldiers commandeered the orphanage for their own use. Kari was rescued by the Swedish Red Cross and taken to Sweden. She was twice adopted by Swedish couples. The first arrangement fell through on the death of the adoptive father. School was a disaster. Teachers branded her an imbecile and a ‘bastard’. Not surprisingly she failed to learn anything in this atmosphere of prejudice and rejection.

But there is the touch of a miracle about Kari. The kindness of strangers, especially a Swedish literary figure, a loving husband and the gift of faith have freed Kari to become the cheerful, well-rounded and optimistic personality that she is. She now tells her story to all sorts of groups including schoolchildren. Her story is of cruelty and redemption and of light shining out of darkness. She especially wishes to encourage young people who feel that their lives have no meaning or purpose. Her message is one of hope.
John Parkin

Christian Aid in India
Revd Canon Gyles gave a very interesting and informative presentation on her travels in India with Christian Aid earlier this year. In particular she described three of the many projects, which Christian Aid initiated with the Dalit community. The Dalits, also known as the ‘untouchables’, are members of the lowest social caste and are hugely discriminated against. For example they are barred from drawing water from village wells because it is believed that their touch would taint the water for everyone. They are relegated to the margins of society, with little access to education, property ownership or opportunities to improve their situation.

Christian Aid has initiated a successful bee-keeping project run by women, which has many benefits: pollinating the local crops, providing much-needed money for families and improving the status of women within their own society. They have also been successful in supporting Dalits in attaining legal rights to their land and in supporting children in accessing education.

A lively discussion ensued and we all came away with an insight into the lives of the Dalit community and the transformative work of Christian Aid.
Irene Barber

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