Introduction / History
The Kandha Gauda tribal people are found in east central state of Odisha. They have lived in the deep forests of Odisha for hundreds of years away from the general population. Their primary living comes from small scale agriculture, raising animals and gathering forest products. Hunting was a source of meat in their diet, but the government has outlawed hunting in the forests where the Kandha live. Some Kandha fish in the rivers and lakes. Kandha speak many languages but their main language is Odia. Unfortunately, most Kandha are unable to read and write. The gospel will have to be presented to them in oral and visual forms. A small fraction of the Kandha claim to be followers of Jesus.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The vast majority of the Kandha live in poverty in remote villages with no electricity or indoor plumbing. According to recent sources the nearest school is 10 km away from where the Kandha live. The closest medical clinic is also 10 km away. As a result, most Kandha children do not attend school. Child mortality is high due to the lack of modern medicine. Flooding is a yearly event during the monsoon season. Water frequently washes away Kandha crops and homes. Crop failure can lead to starvation. The Kandha marry within their groups. Families and young people arrange marriages. Sons inherit the property of their father. A few Kandha men are able to speak Hindu which allows them to communicate with outsiders. The Kandha sell lumber, fish and animal products to get cash to buy the things that they cannot make for themselves.
What Are Their Beliefs?
There are no schools or hospitals in the areas where the Kandha live. The Kandha rely on their village shaman for their spiritual and medical needs. The adult and children need to learn to read and write to have any hope of bettering their lives. They need new job skills. Most of all the Kandha must hear and understand the message of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and give them hope for this life and the next.
What Are Their Needs?
The Kandha claim to be Hindus. However, their Hindu faith is heavily influenced by folk religion and ancestor worship. The Kandha believe that spirits inhabit the objects of nature. These spirits can only be appeased by charms, magic, prayers and offerings. They live in fear of these evil spirits and of offending the spirits of their ancestors. The Kandha celebrate Hindu and their own holidays. They employ village shamans and priests to help placate the evil spirits that they believe bring illness and poor harvests.
* Scripture Prayers for the Kandha Gauda in India.
Pray that the government and NGOs provide schools and medical clinics for the Kandha people. Pray that Kandha parents are able to provide for their children. Pray for a disciple making movement that will bless the Kandha people this decade. Pray for the Lord to send out workers to the Kandha people to help meet their spiritual and physical needs.