CRS continues to work with partners in India to address fundamental issues of social justice, inequity in access to resources and empowerment of marginalized groups. CRS programming in India focuses on emergency resilience, relief and recovery; strengthening agriculture livelihoods; improving health systems and services; and preventing human trafficking and supporting trafficking survivors.
Kirtimayi Mishra is the current Head of Office at Catholic Relief Services (CRS) India. As a long standing humanitarian, she has seen her community and country become transformed through the work of CRS.
While studying for her degree in India, the area Kirtimayi lived in was struck by a super-cyclone, a natural disaster that deeply affected the livelihood of the state. At this time, CRS was a main responder and Kirtimayi said that, “the work done by civil society organizations to reach out to the affected population was a great inspiration for me and I always wanted to serve vulnerable communities. CRS India was one of the biggest actors in responding to the needs of the affected communities providing lifesaving aid, food, water, clothes, shelter etc. and when I got the opportunity to work with CRS, I readily accepted it.”
Since joining CRS in 2002, Kirtimayi has held multiple roles with the agency. After working with the Nepal Earthquake response she assumed her current role as Head of Office. In this role she oversees programs that build community resilience, reducing the impact of floods on the livelihoods of vulnerable communities in the most disaster stricken and food insecure states of India.
When asked what she would like others to know about CRS, Kirtimayi said “[If you] give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; [if you] teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. While it is important to have humanitarian response in the aftermath of disaster, it is worth investing in community preparedness and building resilience so that communities are not dependent on external assistance or relief. This is what CRS is doing in India and countries around the world. CRS is most thankful for your help; we would be unable to carry out our lifesaving work without it.”