A school of hope for girls in India

By April 5, 2016

India (MNN) — Yesterday we talked about the challenges that girls in India face, especially those with disabilities. We promised we would talk about what Help India Kids has been doing about it for over 100 years.

When Pandita Ramabai started her ministry in the late 1800s, she noticed that it wasn’t just healthy women and children who were abandoned by their husbands and families, but also those who had disabilities. These children in particular–usually girls–were left to fend for themselves because nobody believed they could get a job. In essence, they were only a financial burden, another mouth to feed for a struggling family.

Photo courtesy of Help India Kids

(Photo courtesy of Help India Kids)

Help India Kids, or Ramabai Mukti Mission, believes these children have value. They also believe in helping the children maximize their potential.

A school to give hope

After the rest of the world has given up on them, Help India Kids offers children with disabilities and special needs a second chance at life.

They have a school of about 120 children that provides them with an education and career training. Which career or skill they are trained for depends on their self-motivation and level of independence. Some skills taught include basket- and jewelry-making, and sewing.

Jonathon Bollback of Help India Kids says the school is almost as old as Ramabai Mukti Mission itself.

He shares one of the most exciting examples of how the school can help transform the lives of children who have special needs. When he visited the school in late 2015, he met two girls without legs who had started their own businesses after going through the school training. “Both of them are running little shops toward the front gate of the mission. One has a convenience store, and one does ironing,” Bollback explains. One of these girls gets around on a cart. Even so, because of Help India Kids support, she is able to provide for herself.

“These girls come in, and in the eyes of their families, they couldn’t have held down jobs. And yet, that’s what they’re doing today. They were rejected, but now they’ve been accepted and really prepared, and we are just so excited to see that happen,” Bollback says. “The transformation that we see: they’re still going to have the disability, but now they are given a chance to make something of their life.”

Grappling with abandonment

Help India Kids provides a family environment through their Flower Families to help the children get over the loss of their birth families. This includes a house mother and a guardian couple for a group of girls, including those with disabilities.

“Some accept that really well,” Bollback says referring to the fact that the girls have been rejected by their families. “Others, it does take months and sometimes even longer to just get to that point where they aren’t bitter over what’s happened.

“They begin to experience family life,” Bollback continues, explaining that even though it is a different family format, it allows the girls a chance to bond with a new family.

A demonstration of Jesus’ Love

With Help India Kids, children not only have their physical and emotional needs met, but they also get introduced to a God who loves them.
Bollback says this is partially done in the day-to-day demonstration of the people taking care of the children. In addition, they go to church and their school lessons are Bible based.

“They are seeing and experiencing not only black and white textual lessons, but they’re also observing love extended to them in the name of Christ. So that package all together: they’re getting a well-rounded example of what the Love of Christ really means.” In this way, every area of their life is transformed.

This ministry takes people with heart

The team of individuals serving at the mission are devoted. One of the current house mothers has been serving somewhere around 40 years. She has some disabilities herself, and she is getting older. Bollback says they will need someone to step up and take her place soon.

In addition to house mothers, they are looking for teachers in the schools. There are opportunities for both long- and short-term teaching.
If either of these opportunities sound like a good fit, you can contact Help India Kids here.

Ask God to provide the right people, and also to use the mission to draw children out of a harsh life so that they might know His love.

One Comment

  • I am South African, working at Kollegal Girls Home in Kollegal, Karnataka State, South of India. I would like to visit your Ministry. Please let me know if it is possible, and reply via email,
    Regards

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