Deichmann, a giant in the footwear retail industry in Germany and Europe has been funding evangelism in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu. The charity arm of the company, Wortundtat, has been exploiting the pity for poor children to collect money for its missionary work. Wortundtat funds AMG India International, a Bharatiya missionary organisation to convert Hindus and plant churches.
Charity tins in Deichmann stores
Deichmann, a reputed footwear retailer in Germany and other European countries, has been found to be sponsoring conversion in Bharat. Deichmann’s stores have been found to place charity boxes in which Bharatiya children’s pictures are put on display.
Wortundtat- the Charity Arm
The collected money goes to Wortundtat which openly declares itself as a Christian aid organisation. It was found by Dr.Heinz-Horst Deichmann for whom “meeting leprosy sufferers in India was the catalyst” to establish it.
There are proofs for conversion on their own website. Implications of people begging on streets and the white man’s aka Christian’s burden to alleviate Hindus out of ‘poverty’. Wortundtat doesn’t directly get involved in missionary work and rather enlists the help of local missionary organisations.
What Wortundtat Does?
Their website says “The “national workers“ are Christians. They were trained at the wortundtat Bible School and prepared for their work”. It further says that apart from material support these “national workers” also propagate Christianity. As per their claim 100,000 copies of the New Testament, magazines and flyers with Christian content have been distributed to “the needy in rural areas”. They also “spread the Word of the God” through retreats in the name of educating people about health, nutrition, etc.
Caste System Used As a Fault line
Even though it claims to work for the marginalised regardless of their racial or ideological identity, Wortundtat admits to running “schools for pupils from the lower castes”. Wortundtat gives the caste system as the main reason for poverty in Bharat and mentions it in many places to justify its “work” aka conversion. It also says that “hundreds of thousands of” Bharatiyas would have to be labelled “bad parents” accusing them of sending their children to stone quarries, cotton fields and factories creating a bad impression of Bharat
Arun Kumar Mohanty, the Director of AMG India International, the local partner of Wortundtat says, “Education is the only way for people to manage to escape the Indian caste system, which divides them into firmly established groups. These groups are often associated with certain professional activities. Children of coolies also become coolies, unless they have a good school leaving qualification, which enables them to find their way out of the caste system. Our aim is to help the poorest families here in India”.
AMG India International
The US based missionary organisation AMG(Advancing the Ministries of Gospel) International calls itself as a “gospel-first global ministry”. As per the German Central Institute for Social Issues, Wortundtat “forwards the majority of its funds to AMG India International”. It further says these funds are used to “maintain schools, vocational training centers, old people’s homes, Bible schools, medical facilities, social centers and leprosy villages” and also to “conduct evangelism events”. Even more shockingly AMG also works with the government agencies in “combating child labour”.
AMG India International recieves crores of rupees every year from abroad with license obtained based on the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act(FCRA). We glean from the website of AMG College of Education for Women in Visakhapatnam that “AMG India International is an NGO founded on Christian principles to share Christ’s love and compassion with the poor and needy”. The FCRA NGO runs several multi-specialty hospitals, General, T.B., Eye, Leprosy hospitals, etc. It has also invested the foreign funds in establishing 8 high schools, 3 Junior Colleges, 1 Degree College, 1 Industrial Training Center and 2 Colleges of Education.
Founded by late pastor John David now, now pastor Arun Kumar Mohanty takes care of the NGO. It is spread over the 7 coastal districts of Andhra. In the financial year of 2019-20 alone AMG India has received Rs.72.81 crores from Wortundtat’s Germany and Netherland offices and the AMG International office. All of it supposedly goes toward ‘secular’ causes like running schools, day care centres, vocational training centres, etc.
However we know the truth from the donor’s mouth that even though it is used for ‘secular’ purposes, the main goal is to preach the gospel. In the 5 years from 2015-2020 AMG India has received
Rs.331,73,62,750 through FCRA as per the annual returns filed by them with the Home Ministry. But curiously AMG India doesn’t even have a proper working website and AMG International’s website is under construction now as they are migrating to a new website.
The Deichmanns have the right to fund whatever values they hold dear. But do they have the right to violate the law of the land while doing so and beg for funds by putting up pictures of innocent children on charity tins?
By utilising the funds received from Wortundtat through Deichmann and other organisations, for proselytising, AMG India has violated the conditions of section 12 (4) of the FCRA act 2010. According to the Foreign Contribution Registration (Second Amendment) Rules, 2019, each office bearer, functionary, and member of an FCRA registered entity has to declare that they are not associated with religious conversion or booked for communal disharmony.
As said above, Wortundtat itself has provided information through beneficiaries’ testimonials that they “accepted Jesus” after they came in contact with AMG. AMG International’s annual report for the year 2019 gives information on church planting and conversion. While 5001 children are said to have converted to Christianity by “putting their faith in Christ”, 9443 people are said to have converted in total.
Apart from the FCRA rules, AMG India has also violated the rules of the Juvenile Justice Act. As per the act children can be placed in child care institutions, such as ones run by AMG India, for an extended period only in the case that they require medical attention, psychiatric and psychological support. Many such institutions have been found to violate the laws and use it as a means to earn money.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the apex child rights body, found through a case study that FCRA NGOs receive upto Rs.6.6 lakh per annum for a child, while the estimated expenditure including the recurring expenses comes around only Rs.60,000. It also found that many children who had parents were shown as orphans to beg for funds from abroad. Based on this study NCPCR has directed the local child rights bodies to work on reuniting such children with their families.
The Deichmann-Wortundtat-AMG India network seems to be exaggerating the situation in Bharat to not only show it in bad light but also to achieve their religious goals.
The details about foreign funds received by AMG India has been taken from fcraonline.nic.in