Numbers of abandoned or neglected children are rising, and authorities are constricting who can help.
Children are one of the most vulnerable populations in India, and the country is home to an estimated 30 million orphans with countless more who are left unattended while their parents work.
Local laws sharply restrict foster and adoption agencies while increasing numbers of children fall prey to criminals on the black market who hunt for cheap child labor.
Others are lost when their parents are blackmailed into given up their child to racketeers looking to make a tidy profit off sex trafficking.
For World Challenge’s partners in India, their goal is to provide safe refuges for children while being a testament to the local community about God’s saving grace.
However, in some areas, they are being threatened by government authorities.
Acting Out God’s Story
The churches our partners work with often hold village Sunday Schools that second as safe places where children can stay outside of regular school while their families are working in the fields.
Most of their children are from non-Christian or nominally Christian homes where they’ve heard next to nothing about the Bible before.
Many are entranced by the stories of Gabriel appearing to Mary and Christ’s birth. Then they discover they will have a chance to be part of small skits, to play the angels who descend to announce God’s gift to shepherds and their watching parents or guardians.
On the day of the play, families often linger to watch their little ones act out the Bible stories, and their neighbors will stop by out of curiosity.
In one village, at least 65 adults and children stayed to watch the Gospel story enacted by the program’s charges.
Clouds of Conflict
Unfortunately, one of the more volatile areas where World Challenge’s partners work has been badly shaken by the threat of a government crack-down.
Hindu news outlets are spreading stories that the workers in Christian children’s homes take in kids so they can abuse them, and officials have mounted an investigation of another Christian orphanage and childcare organization in that same area.
Many radical Hindus in these towns are demanding that authorities shut down all children’s homes run by Christians.
Our partner and many of their workers have felt deeply discouraged lately between pressure from the local government to close their doors and the mounting vitriol claiming that they are harassing the children whom they are trying to help.
Praying for Our Partners in India
Please pray for our partners in India, asking God to give them wisdom as they negotiate with Hindu government workers.
Ask for God to protect our partners from Hindu extremists who are making every effort to turn villagers and officials against Christians.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to move among the children who have a chance to learn about God’s redemptive work.