NEHALA | India
Nehala Offers a Friend the Same Mercy Shown Her
Ten-year-old Nehala stands tall. She is poised with kindness and grace, though she has many reasons not to be. Nehala is an innocent victim of crime—a child of a prisoner. Her father is serving time for his involvement in a communal riot between Muslims and Hindus in India’s North Kerala state, which resulted in 12 deaths.
The terrifying incident disrupted Nehala’s life. It tore apart her family and created an equality gap between her and her peers, as happens to most children like her. The title “child of a prisoner” makes Nehala vulnerable to rejection from peers and, worse, family. And with just one caretaker, in a part of the world where one-quarter of the population earns less than $1.25 a day, every day is a struggle. Some cannot afford a place to live. And children are frequently forced to drop out of school to help feed their families, or because there simply isn’t enough money for school.
When we found Nehala, she had been out of school for several months.
She is just one of the 1,450 children, throughout five states in India, were care for through our child sponsor program.
We assigned Nehala to a dedicated caseworker. Wahab visits her regularly to ensure she lives in a safe home with good caretakers, has enough food and clothes, and access medical care and education. Wahab also connects Nehala with a counselor, a local church, and special events where she can learn about God’s love and bond with other children facing similar hardships. Though her reality is still hard, relief from the child sponsor program affords her an opportunity to hope and dream of a better future. And experiencing God’s love and compassion gives her the capacity to share that hope.
After Nehala returned to school, she learned one of her friends lived in a tiny shack. Nehala took her schoolteacher to see her friend’s home, and her teacher helped her established Karunya (Mercy), a project to build a safe place for her friend to live. The young girl then went door-to-door in her community to collect enough money for building materials.
At a community celebration for Karunya, Nehala explained she was determined to help her friend because Prison Fellowship International with the help of Prison Fellowship India had helped her first.
“I received not only help, but dignity and love. I will continue to help others,” says Nehala.
Nehala doesn’t just have hope for a better tomorrow—as she continues to answer God’s call to care for those in need, she is making better days a reality.
Give a child like Nehala the opportunity to spread hope and mercy.