Sri Lanka (MNN) — Over the past couple of years, the economic situation for Sri Lanka as a country has greatly improved. Some Sri Lankans have been leaving the bindings of poverty behind.
It may well be assumed that the boost in economy has been what has led to any Sri Lankans leaving an impoverished lifestyle. Yet, often it seems that those who were caught up in poverty mostly remain right where they are, unless ministry is involved.
"The children who do not get an education are locked into the poverty cycle, and they will continue the pattern that they were raised in," says Rody Rodeheaver, executive director of I.N. Network. "So you have to break that cycle."
For over 30 years, I.N. Network affiliated workers have been investing in the lives of women and children in some of the most impoverished areas of the country.
"These are places where the children live in cardboard huts, and their mothers are forced to become prostitutes because they have no other way of making a living," says Rodeheaver. "Many of them are abandoned children who live with an auntie, who live with another adult who takes them in."
Believers around the world sponsor these children so they can attend school and after-school programs. The cycle of poverty ends up breaking as the kids gain more and more knowledge.
"Our goal has been to take these children and to educate them, but also then to teach them the Gospel," explains Rodeheaver. "It's a complete cycle of seeing that the Gospel can be holistic."
As children grow in their studies and in their relationships with Christ, many of them go on to high school and even college, obtaining educations that they would likely never otherwise have the opportunity to receive. As a result, children are no longer being held back by poor circumstances. "We're finding that these programs are [breaking the cycle of poverty], and that both children and adults are finding a new life both in Christ and in terms of their ability to care for and become independent and support themselves."
The adults finding new life are mostly women who are offered vocational training through I.N. Network. The ministry teaches women a skill and then helps them to find a job in their trade. Eventually, these women become independent and can finally support their families in a way they can be proud of.
It costs $32 to sponsor one of the children in these programs; donations for the women's vocational program are also welcomed. If you would like to help break the cycle of poverty in Sri Lanka through use of practical education and the Truth of the Gospel, click here.