As Americans, we believe that our children have a right to be born in a clean environment, to a good education, a good home to keep them warm, and a childhood free from troubles and worries. I know that when my children were born, the most important thing to me was to make sure that they were always fed, warm, and comfortable and had all of the comforts of home that I could give to them. Unfortunately, that is not the case for many children in other countries.
Take a Trip with Me to India
I want to take you on a trip to India with me. Before we leave though, you need to understand a little about the country and its people. The main religion of India is Hinduism. India ranks second as the most populated country in 2014 with approximately 1.2 billion people. China ranks first, and the United States ranks third with approximately 317 million people.
The Indian economy is the world’s tenth-largest by nominal GDP and third-largest by purchasing power parity. Following reforms in 1991, India has become of the fastest-growing major economies. It continues, however, to face the challenges of poverty, corruption, malnutrition, inadequate public healthcare, and terrorism. A nuclear weapons state and a regional power, it has the third-largest standing army in the world and ranks ninth in military expenditure among nations.
The People of India
Traditional Indian society is sometimes defined by social hierarchy. The Indian caste system embodies much of the social stratification and many of the social restrictions found in the Indian subcontinent. Social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed “castes.” This system plays a major role in segregating the population of India and turning people against each other based purely on their genetics.
Brahmin – these people comprise the highest caste of the Hindu religion. They only make up approximately 5 percent of the total population, and they hold the lion’s share of the power in India’s political, educational, and corporate spheres.
Other Backward Castes (OBCs) – the term OBC applies to those from the lowest castes of society, also known as Sudras. While higher than the Dalits, they are still oppressed and impoverished. Sudras are thought of as the slave caste.
Dalit/Untouchable – Dalit means broken, crushed, oppressed. In the Hindu society, Dalits are the lowest rung of the ladder. Impoverished, exploited, and powerless to change their fate. They are considered polluted and unclean (hence the untouchable label) and if one of them were to touch someone from a higher class they would supposedly be contaminated. That is why Dalits are not allowed to drink from community wells and are discouraged from attending schools with other students.
Understanding Life in India
If you have had the opportunity to see the award-winning movie, Slumdog Millionaire, in which street children are harvested by a deceitful, greedy pimp are a reality for countless youngsters – realize that this is not just a story for a movie. In India alone there are 50 million children who work from age 4 on and suffer even greater hardships.
Your mother gave birth to you at home, on the dirt floor of the family shack, you were dried off with a dirty rag or old newspaper. Your home is made of tarpaulin sheets held up by bamboo sticks. It’s very crowded with your entire family living in less than 100 square feet of space. Mom had to return to work because if she did not work, the family did not eat. You were left in the care of an older sibling. As you started to crawl, you explored on your hands and knees the open sewer trenches running along the alley between neighboring shacks. If you had any clothing at all, it was made from rags found in the nearby dump. If you managed to survive, by the time you reached 5 or 6 years of age, you might be sold by your parents into bonded labor to help secure money for the family. If not, you joined your siblings sifting through garbage to find anything that could be sold for a few pennies. You may even become a beggar or a thief, doing whatever you could just to eat.
This is not an exaggeration. According to UNICEF, more than 1 billion children around the world are deprived of one or more essentials: adequate shelter, food, safe water, sanitation, health care or education. Living in conditions that you and I can hardly imagine.
Gospel of Asia: Bringing Transformation to a Nation in Crisis
Dr. K.P. Yohannan, founder and international director for Gospel of Asia, has authored more than 200 books, including Revolution in World Missions, an international bestseller with more than 3 million copies in print. He is on the board of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), and his Road to Reality radio program airs on more than 900 stations worldwide. He and his wife, Gisela, have two grown children, Daniel and Sarah, who both serve the Lord with their families.
No Longer a Slumdog is a truly gripping narrative by Dr. Yohannan sharing the stories of these children. He shares the stories of lives transformed, of families learning to love, of entire communities flourishing with new life. Be a witness to the next great wave of transformation sweeping the nation.
Gospel for Asia is helping thousands of children, but they cannot do it alone. Get a copy of Dr. Yohannan’s book absolutely free and see for yourself the great work being done by GFA and their Bridge of Hope centers.
Those with no voice—the suffering children of Asia—tell their stories. And as you listen to them, you share their anguish and rejoice in their triumphs. The whole world seems to stop as you look on.
“You girls stay here. I’m going to get something to drink.” But after a few minutes, the train started moving again, and Mom still wasn’t back! Our hearts were racing. The train kept going faster and faster. Where was Mom?
Learn more about the book and the very real children you’ve read about. Hear their stories and learn how Gospel for Asia is helping to change their lives by visiting www.nolongeraslumdog.org and getting your free copy of No Longer a Slumdog: Bringing Hope to Children in Crisis.
Social • Corner
Official Website – http://www.gfa.org
Get your FREE copy of No Longer a Slumdog: Bringing Hope to Children in Crisis from Dr. K.P. Yohannan here – http://gfa.name/1BBiBHh
Follow us on our social media channels and share the story of Gospel for Asia – use the official hashtag #NoLongerASlumdog to spread the word about all the good that Gospel for Asia is doing for India’s children.