India (MNN) — India's president, Pratibha Patil, recently announced a
plan to free the country of slums within the next five years. The ambitious project involves a housing
program, financial assistance, and the assignment of property rights for
The movie "Slumdog Millionaire" recently depicted the plight of children
in India's crowded slums. The children
live in deep poverty and lack stable housing, explained Gypsy Meadows with
Worldwide Christian Schools.
"They don't have a place that they're legally able to live, so they may
come back the next day and find that their house is gone," said Meadows. "The government may bulldoze their whole
community, because the neighbors who have rented or own property have
complained. So it's a life that has no
security. And for children, obviously
that creates a lot of problems."
Worldwide Christian Schools has launched "The Slumschool Project" to
help these children. The campaign aims
to recruit 1 million people to raise $1 million by December 31, to support three
schools for impoverished children in India.
"We've had a really good response so far," Meadows said. "We have about 260 members of our facebook
fan page, and we've raised $1,000 online through that. We've also raised $33,000 offline, so that's
been a really good response off the bat, without even having brought it that
public yet. So we're really pleased."
The money raised will support three Christian schools in India that
have been operating for several year, and have grown to serve hundreds of
children. It will provide permanent
buildings, computer labs, internet access, and business support to the schools.
"We work with school leaders in India who are reaching the poorest and
most vulnerable children," Meadows explained. "There are 26 million children in India who are orphans; many of our
school partners were orphans themselves. They were introduced to Christ at a Christian school and orphanage when
they were young, and now these leaders live out their lives in gratitude and
serve the children, to give them back what they received."
The schools provide education, nutritional lunches, shoes, uniforms, a
home for orphans, and English language instruction.
"They are giving these children the love of Jesus and then taking care
of their needs so that they can become productive, successful citizens as well,"
In addition, the project will set up sustainable business enterprises for the
schools, in order to decrease their dependence on outside funding. The enterprises will be simple for the
schools to run and appropriate for their location in the community. They will help the schools continue charging families
very little or even nothing for their services.
"The schools that we're working with specifically reach out to these
children and provide education to them for free, or for only what the parents can
pay, which may be only a couple of rupees," Meadows explained. "So they don't let anything get in the way of
that child receiving an education."
The Slumschool Project will also provide computer labs and internet
access, to allow the schools to communicate with their sister schools in the
United States. The "New Village School
Friends" project allows Christian schools in the United States to support Christian
schools overseas with at least $300 US per year.
"They get to know each other through the internet, they blog, the
students can send pictures, artwork, whatever they want to do, develop a
relationship," Meadows said. "And then
they can meet each other's needs…raising money to pay for lunches for that
school, or to pay for a playground, or something simple that school students
can relate to. And that also creates a
long-term supporter community around that slumschool."
Meadows said Christians can support the Slumschool Project, and they
should pray for the children of India.
"Pray for the children of India, especially those 26 million orphans, that
there would be safety for them, and that God would put His angels around them. Also pray that
there would be donors and supporters who would provide places for them to live
and safe places for them to learn, and especially in those places to be
introduced to Jesus."