India (MNN) — Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and you may be wondering what to do for your mom this year. Would you consider doing something really special? Something that breaks the mold? India Partners is offering a great way to honor your mom while helping a mom halfway around the world provide for her kids.
You see, with their national partners, India Partners is growing their impact through the tailoring classes they offer. Last year at this time, the ministry had just opened their sixth school. Donna Glass of India Partners says that today, there are nine tailoring schools in operation.
What’s exciting is that the tailoring classes have been able to meet the specific needs of the group of women they serve. One new school in a coastal state is geared specifically towards women who are HIV/AIDS positive. The first class graduates May 20th.
In Andhra Pradesh, two other schools marked their first graduation at the end of last month. Glass says these two schools are taught by one teacher who spends half days at each. This format has given the women extra time to practice. Many of the women had already started working on tailoring projects even before they graduated.
To get an idea of the impact of these classes, and the needs they answer, we’re going to tell you Falemma’s story.
A young widow with big dreams
Falemma was very young when her husband died of a heart attack. Often in India, being a widow not only means losing your husband, but also support from his family. You may be considered cursed. And the options for women in this position are very slim, especially if they weren’t able to finish school before getting married. They can work as a day laborer, or sadly, enter the sex trade. There’s very little else to choose from.
But Falemma wasn’t strong enough to be a day laborer. She’d been weakened by polio. So, she did what she could. Glass says Falemma harvested scraps of plastic to make baskets, and used coconut leaves from her parent’s farm to make brooms. She sold these items in the market. Her mother helped where she could, but Falemma still couldn’t make ends meet.
But there was one thing she wasn’t going to give up so easily — her children’s education. She knew education is the key to a brighter future. So she kept working hard.
Glass says, “She’s only 38, she’s been widowed for 15 years. She became a widow when she was 23. She already had two children, a son and a daughter.”
She has beaten the odds thus far, and her kids haven’t been pulled from school. And now that she is graduated from the tailoring school, hopefully she’ll never have to.
“She just has so much hope, she’s a member of the church there, where the training was held, and she just really sees this as being a really positive thing that she thinks it will make a difference for her family situation.”
The particular training Falemma went through taught the women how to sew 26 different items. Glass elaborates: “It is a government certified program so their instructor was qualified, and so at the graduation somebody from the government was present. So, not only did they get a certificate of completion, they also got a government certificate which makes it much easier for them to be able to go to a bank and get a loan.”
These loans can be helpful for women like Falemma who are already planning how to improve their new business for the future.
Breaking the cycle of poverty
So, imagine yourself in Falemma’s position. Your options are slim, and you don’t know how much longer you’ll be able to give your kids education, much less put food on the table. And then, somebody steps in, trains you in a viable career, and gives you the tools to begin earning reliable money. It’s a ray of light into an otherwise bleak future.
And through this program, the brightest ray of light comes from the Gospel. During the classes, the women work through a Bible study and learn about Jesus. And at the end of the class, they’re gifted their very own sewing machine. The classes and the machines are made possible by people like you, and that makes an impact.
Glass says, “It’s not just the fact that Christians all over the world are supporting it, it’s that they have this direct knowledge that this Church is opening up to them — that they’re inviting them in, whether they are Christians or not, they’re invited to come in and be part of this — they’re included in the classes.”
So, why Mother’s Day?
If you’ve ever heard your mom say that she doesn’t need anything this year, maybe you want to consider switching things up. After all, Glass says, “There’s only so many plants for the garden.”
When you sponsor a sewing machine in your mother’s name, you’re recognizing what your mom did for you by helping a mother in India provide for her own children.
“It’s a really nice way, providing a sewing machine to a widow or a mom in India in honor of your mom or in memory of your mom,” Glass says.
And when you sponsor a machine in honor of someone, India Partners will send the recipient a card that tells them who the machine is given in honor of. This simple gift blesses two mothers at once.
And meanwhile, could you pray? Glass says pray “that these women not only will learn well to be able to support their families, but through this whole process, that they would really see this is a ministry, [and] that they hear the Gospel message as they go through the training. If they’re not already Christians, [pray] that their hearts will be open — and that for those that are Christians, that this is a good chance for discipleship for them and to be able to grow in their faith. That their lives will be blessed.”