A small town in India is experiencing their own quiet revolution as people learn more about God and band together to support one another.
Like most of the world, India’s job market was hit hard by the pandemic closures and restrictions that the early months of 2020 saw. “With a slowing economy and the Covid-19 pandemic, Indian companies had begun to cut jobs in April,” wrote Manavi Kapur, reporting on the situation for Quartz India. “Those that didn’t take the layoffs route cut salaries for their employees. This scenario was made worse by India’s strict coronavirus lockdown in the months of April and May.”
The market is starting to recover now months later, but slowly. The hardest hit demographic are small traders and daily laborers, and in countries where they represent the vast majority, the impacts of Covid are still being felt.
World Challenge’s partners in India, however, are working to help these individuals take a more entrepreneurial approach to their current work situation.
For Each and Every Individual
One of the young men taking part in our partners’ development program is Ashok*, who shared, “I used to live in Delhi, but due to lockdowns, I was facing a lot of difficulties, so I came back here. When I came back, I was unemployed.”
Ashok and his brother represent a microcosm of what many rural villages in India are seeing where hardworking members of families are being forced to return from the big cities where they had higher paying jobs but which become lockdown traps when the pandemic began. Now that many have returned, they are struggling to find work or figure out what their future will look like.
“My neighbor Bijay* is the champion here and also a social worker,” Ashok said. “I asked him what I should do to earn a living here. He suggested that I open a computer DTP shop. I liked his idea and thought, ‘This would be good for me.’
Bijay added, “Many people lost their jobs and were forced to return without any work, and the condition of my village was deteriorating. I met with those who had become unemployed, encouraged them not to lose heart and instead work from home. Some people heeded my advice and set up small shops and businesses.”
Bijay is part of the World Challenge team working to show how God has a plan for each and every person, and that plan often manifests in their talents and resources.
For many, the concept that God cares so intimately and individually for them is stunning and deeply attractive, especially in a land with thousands of gods who must be constantly sacrificed to for their good graces.
A Transformation in Progress
Now that his business is finding success, Ashok is helping others find a new path forward. “Along with this, I also help my younger brother set up a small business selling chicken and fish. The shop is doing good business and helping us survive. I think it’s good for people to work hard and earn their own livelihood. I’m very glad that I got the opportunity to work here.”
These efforts are bringing hope to their community and encouraging others that even in what seems like a dark season, God is making a way.
“Though it will take them a good amount of effort,” his neighbor Bijay commented thoughtfully, “I am sure they will succeed and be able to sustain themselves. I am so grateful for them, that they are doing their best to encourage and uplift the community.”
Another team member added, “It really is amazing to see how the committee and CHEs have come forward to encourage and support those who have lost their jobs during this pandemic situation. It is so encouraging to see so many people who have started seeing to their own livelihoods. When I went to [town*], I never expected such an outcome, but I praise our champion, Bijay, who motivated the community so much. It is because of him that we are seeing such tremendous results.
“There are so many families who are making this an opportunity to start their own small businesses like a cement agency or grocery shop. In this way, we can see a huge transformation taking place. Thank you.”
*Name replaced or omitted. For our ministry partners’ security, we don’t release names or locations in highly sensitive areas.