Raghu is a 15-year-old boy who lives with his parents and sister in a shed made of tarpaulin sheets in an impoverished community in Mumbai. The condition and hygiene of their slum is terrible. Like many other children in the slums, Raghu’s parents work as rag pickers. His whole family walks around the main urban areas collecting rags and selling them in the recycling plants for an extremely small income. Once they have the money, only then can the family buy some food. Raghu was admitted to a local school but, soon after, he had to drop his education to help support his family. Raghu’s story is all too common in Mumbai.
GMP partner Hosanna Ministries are expanding their work in Mumbai to include education and livelihood initiatives in the slums. We are happy to announce that in response to some of the needs in the slums, we have established a day care centre for underprivileged children. There are approximately 40 children who attend the program. Programs are free of charge, children can learn songs, Bible stories, basic reading and writing skills, crafts, dance, and subjects like science, math and computing. Each day we provide a small snack or some fruit. Like Raghu, the parents of these children work as rag pickers and are happy that their children are receiving the opportunity to learn to read and write.
There is hope for Raghu! Hosanna Ministries have also started a special program in the evening for children, teenagers and women who work during the day and are interested in learning how to read and write. Here Raghu has started to read and write in Marathi, his own vernacular language. He is an obedient and sincere boy and shows eagerness to receive an education. His mother is very happy to see him come to our centre. She says, “Our situation forced Raghu to drop schooling but, with this new child care centre right in the middle of our community, it has given me hope that my son will get a good education and bring the whole family out of this extreme poverty.”
Our prayer and hope is to engage with and help more children like Raghu. We praise and thank the Lord for his faithfulness, grace and provision over us.