India: addressing a myriad of challenges

By December 23, 2016

India (MNN) — The demonetization of rupees in India has far-reaching effects. Donna Glass of India Partners says it is one more challenge that threatens to perpetuate poverty in India — something their ministry is trying to fight on many levels.

You see, India Partners, as their name suggests, works with many partners doing a wide variety of things. While they work to address this latest problem, they’ve already been on the ground to help in other ways for many years.

Rupee dilemma
(Photo courtesy of India Partners).

(Photo courtesy of India Partners)

Time is running out for people to change out their 100 and 5000 rupee notes. Unfortunately, the poor will be hit hardest, as we’ve explained before. India Partners is trying to find ways to work through the dilemma and keep their programs fully functioning.

They expect widows to be the hardest hit as they have no family and little chance of changing over what money they do have. India Partners runs a widow sponsorship program that provides basic needs for these women like food and medicine. Since it is a cash-based ministry, there will be some new challenges. However, as they work through it, the sponsorship program remains a great way to help in light of the rupee ban, as many widows will soon be harder pressed to provide for their daily needs.

Extreme weather
(Photo courtesy of India Partners).

(Photo courtesy of India Partners).

When it comes to weather, India Partners works to help people survive both long-term challenges and major emergencies.

Last week, cyclone Vardah hit the city of Chennai, killing 10. They’ve been working with their partners to help people with basic needs like clean water.

Over the last year, India saw an array of deadly weather events. For one, they dealt with a hot summer that further exasperated the thirst and agricultural damage caused by a years-long drought.

In other parts of India, flooding threatened lives and homes and brought along more deadly water with it. In all of these cases, the biggest problem seems to be finding clean drinking water.

Glass says, “What water they can find is often full of microbes. If it doesn’t look dirty, it is dirty. Or it might have excessive minerals that can cause long-term health damages.”

India Partners assists with drilling wells and providing filtration systems in order to provide a long-term solution.

Poverty and human trafficking
(Photo courtesy of India Partners).

(Photo courtesy of India Partners)

Ministries like India Partners realize that in order to help people climb out of poverty, you have to give them long-term solutions. It’s part of holistic community development.

Much of what they do aids widowed or extremely impoverished women. Too often, women lose their husbands at a young age. Because they have little education, their options for an income are few.

“They might be so poor, it’s not uncommon that they will make the hard choice to go into prostitution to be able to support their family,” Glass says.

They are building relationships with women in the red-light districts of India. Many of these women have children who are growing up in brothels. Even if they are unwilling to leave themselves, they don’t usually want their children to grow up in that environment. India Partners offers them a safe place for their child to grow up, learn, and thrive. They will have a much better chance at avoiding poverty than their parents did.

But they also offer programs that empower impoverished women to choose dignity over the desperation of prostitution. Through their tailoring school, for instance, women can learn a skill to help them provide for their families and be able to stay with their children during the day.

The goal

India Partners is working with leaders on the ground to build solid relationships with the poor, the overlooked, and the needy. They want to answer physical needs, and be available to answer the spiritual questions that arise.

Glass says their vision is this: “An India rich in hope, justice, and the compassion of Christ. That’s our ultimate vision for India. India’s a big country [with] 1.2 billion people. The city of Mumbai has over 20 million people in that one city. [India] is only two to three percent Christian — there’s a lot of unreached people there.”

Most of the people they minister to are not Christians. But these same people come to them, asking to know about the God they serve.

God is moving

Glass has been working with India Partners for some time. She has heard many wonderful stories of how God is working in the country. But, one of her favorites took place about nine years ago.

The visiting team had just finished a worship service in a remote church. Attending the service was a group of widows who went up to the team and asked for prayer.

These women were beggars. When they gave their lives to Jesus, their family cast them out.

Glass says, “They still came to church, they still believed in Christ. They did not give up. They did not denounce Christ because they would be more comfortable, so they would walk from village to village and beg. They wanted prayers, and it was so humbling to pray for these women and to see their strength.”

Glass was so touched by this event that she shared it in an email. As a result of that story, someone decided to start sponsoring 20 widows. They have done so for nine years.

Not everyone can do that, but everyone can help. Through the end of the month, a donor is funding a matching grant for $25,000. That means every dollar you give will be matched.

These funds will go to where they are most needed to help fund some of the projects we just talked about. To donate, go here.

And please continue to be praying for ministries in India as they work through the rupee dilemma.

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