India (MNN) — Today is a day to celebrate half the world: it's International Women's Day.
Many people across the globe are taking time to recognize the contribution of women to society today. India Partners specifically wants to focus on women whose worth is seldom celebrated.
"Many women in developing nations are not honored in the way that they are in developed nations," explains Donna Glass with India Partners.
India Partners, of course, works specifically in India, a place where women are often undervalued to extremes.
"In India, just being a female puts you at risk," says Glass. "If a husband is dissatisfied with his wife for any reason, he can actually literally set fire to her."
India Partners has been working for over 27 years to help these oppressed women find hope in vocation, health, motherhood, and mostly in Christ. The ministry has come to admire the strength of women in India who have overcome many challenges to persevere in tough times.
India Partners addresses three obstacles women face in particular: healthcare, work, and prostitution.
Less than half of India's women can read, making even education about healthy lifestyles difficult. India Partners works to teach women about health and prevention. Partner ministries also provide medical attention to women who cannot afford it.
The second prong of India Partners' outreach addresses the inability to pay for basics like healthcare or nutrition. Few women work, and those who do often earn about a third of the wages a man would earn at the same job, says Glass. India Partners links arms with two tailoring agencies which teach women, at no cost, to repair clothes. The ladies come away not only with the skill to sew and make a wage, but also with a new sewing machine.
In desperation for money, some husbands prostitute their wives, and some mothers even prostitute themselves freely. India Partners is dedicated to doing all they can to assist the 2.3 million women who feel they have no other option. The ministry has a Christian safe house for the children of women who work in the commercial sex trade. They can take their kids there to free them from the red light district. When mothers do choose to leave the trade, there is a safe house for them, as well, where they can choose to be trained as tailors.
India Partners is dedicated to helping women in their earthly lives, as well as teaching them about God's love. Women know that the various outreaches are run by Christians–the tailoring schools even have daily devotions. And the women often ask these believers why they do what they do. Opportunities to share the Gospel are abundant.
The biggest hurdle for ministry is funding. Consider celebrating International Women's Day by supporting these strong women in India and telling them about Christ. To learn more, click here.