Seethal’s Restoration

Twelve-year-old Seethal remembers the day the floodwaters seeped into her home and rose. In October 2019, India receive the heaviest monsoon rainfall in 25 years, leaving homes, shops, and hospitals waterlogged and many families in danger and displaced. Seethal’s family was one of the lucky ones, as a rescue team brought her, her mother, and brother to safety. Their home, however, suffered a great deal of damage and many of Seethal and her family’s precious few belongings had washed away.

As a child of a prisoner, Seethal and her family have already lost so much. Prison Fellowship India (PF India) stepped in to help, enrolling Seethal in the children of prisoners sponsorship program, which provides her with regular food, clothes, educational, emotional, and spiritual support through a one-to-one connection with a child sponsor. Together, Seethal’s family and PF India prayed for God’s provision. He answered their prayers through Seethal’s sponsor, who provided a special monetary gift.

Amazed and grateful, the family used the money to make a partial repair to their home and buy Seethal a new dress to replace one she lost in the flood. Their home was in need of more repairs, but the family continued to trust God. And then, unbidden, Seethal’s sponsor sent another gift! The money was enough to finish their home repairs and replace more goods lost in the flood.

The support of a sponsor can mean so much to a child of a prisoner and have the power to restore more than material goods, including their hope and faith in a God who cares for them deeply.

Give a Child of a Prisoner the Gift of Hope

DEEPA | India

An Invaluable Education

Help a Child Like Deepa Stay in School

 

For many girls in India, education is still a luxury. Girls are often pulled out of school to help care for siblings and do housework—preparation for married life, which is often viewed as their ticket to financial security and stability. If they are lucky enough to continue on in school, the cost of books, uniforms, and transportation provide a further limitation to their education. But 14-year-old Deepa is receiving and education and so much more through Prison Fellowship International’s supporters!

Deepa was disappointed—as she is every year—when her teacher announced a class field trip. She knew her mother could not afford to pay the $11 (USD) fee.

Deepa brightened when her teacher and three friends surprised her with enough to pay for half the trip. But her smile faded when she quickly realized even $5.50 was too much for her poor family.

“So I told [my friends] ‘Forget about me, you all go’,” says Deepa.

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Then her mother received an unexpected call from the bank, letting her know Deepa’s $15 educational allowance from the child sponsorship program had been deposited into her account.

“My mother is very strict with that money,” says Deepa. “It’s only for my tuition and educational materials. “My teacher struggled to [finally]convince her the excursion was also part of my study.”

The event helped Deepa bond with peers who once looked down on her because her father is in prison—an important experience in building her confidence and a healthy sense of self.

“It changed everything in my life. I got many friends. I remembered my father, who is in prison, at that time. I wanted to tell him that I was no longer a prisoner’s child only—I have plenty of sisters and friends who love me, too.”

“This happened because of you dear [supporters]. Thank you! And thank you to God!”

“Deepa’s story is an amazing testimony of why giving children the chance to go to school and attend fun social events can dramatically change their relationships, their status, their sense of self-worth, and their outlook on life,” says International Director of the Children of Prisoners Sponsorship Program Adam Hutchinson. “It’s evident of what I call a ‘God smile’—those moments when God makes stuff happen that brings someone joy. This is Deepa’s God smile.”

Prison Fellowship International helps ensure families have adequate support at home, and provides access to educational resources so children can stay in school and work toward a better future for their own families.

There are so many more children like Deepa; consider giving a small gift to ensure they can stay in school. As little as $15 is enough to pay tuition for one month of school.

 

I want to give $15 toward a child’s education

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.

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Learn more about our child sponsorship program

NANDHANA | India

A Young Girl Struggles to Afford Medical Treatments

Eleven-year-old Nandhana has already experienced enough hardship to last a lifetime.

Her father is serving a life sentence in prison. She is an only child and lives with her mother, Rajina, in a small village in India

After her father was sent away, Nandhana and her mother became adrift. With no home, they didn’t know how they would live from day to day.

Girls like Nandhana are already at great risk for being kidnapped into the sex trade. An estimated 1.2 million children are involved in prostitution in India. And children of prisoners are among the most at risk for being forced into illegal activities. Without a safe place to call home, Nandhana’s risk is high.

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Rajina can’t keep a close watch on her daughter all day, because she has to work. And her daily wage isn’t even enough to properly care for Nandhana’s nutritional and educational needs. But that’s not all. Nandhana’s suffers from a kidney condition and has a cortisone deficiency, which is causing her to go blind.

Nandhana must go to the hospital every month for critical treatment, but Rajina simply cannot make ends meet.

Seeing their condition, some neighbors took Nandhana and her mother in so they would have shelter. They were also introduced to Prison Fellowship International, and our child sponsorship program.

Since entering the program, Nandhana and Rajina have experience significant relief.

They now receive a special cash assistance allowance and transportation to and from the hospital so Nandhana can continue her regular medical treatments.

Educational materials are also provided, and Nandhana and is earning top grades in school. A caseworker also visits the family regularly to ensure their needs for safety are being met.

“Our hearts full of thanksgiving and love to Prison Fellowship International,” say Nandhana and Rajina. “We now have hope for the future.”

Help a child like Nandhana experience hope for the future.

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ASHA | India

When Asha’s father was arrested, life became extremely difficult for her family. Her mother suffers with severe arthritis—the pain forced her to retire from her nursing job, and simple household tasks are nearly impossible to perform. Asha’s mother uses what little money they have to pay others to fetch water, as their well is 20 meters down a steep, muddy slope—a trek too great for an ailing women or a young child.

Seven-year-old Asha, in India, withdrew from school to help her mom. They also care for Asha’s grandmother.

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Our child sponsorship program is giving the family the extra support they need, and giving Asha a second chance at an education.

Now back in school, Asha is delighted with her schoolbooks, lunch box, and uniform. The family also has extra food and Asha’s mother no longer has to pay someone to retrieve water, as their home is being modified to be disability-friendly, included plumbing into the kitchen.

Give a child like Asha a second chance.

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Learn more about our child sponsorship program