[ ‘SHARE’ Jan-Feb 2016 ] JOIN HANDS JOIN HEARTS
Chennai, the largest economic and trading city in south India, is unfortunately the top suicidal city in India. Last July, our staff Fountain visited Christian Missions Charitable Trust (CMCT), CEDAR’s local partner in India, and spent some time with the families of the children beneficiaries to better understand their lives.
“When I saw the slums in Chennai, I was shock to find out that their living condition is much worse than that in Delhi,” says Fountain. The unemployment rate in Chennai is very high, and even people with high academic qualifications have difficulty in finding a job. Facing such a serious unemployment situation and and the stress in life, it is not difficult to understand why Chennai has become the top suicidal city in the country.
Among the families visited by Fountain, some have no choice but live on the street because they cannot even afford the rental cost in a slum. “One of the girls whom I met is a junior high school student. She has a lovely face and you could imagine how dangerous and risky for her to live on the street.” The local staff also told Fountain that these families sleep at bus stations during rainy days, where kidnapping and child trafficking are rampant.
CEDAR and CMCT together serve over 200 children in the slums, providing food, education and medical care. Some of the beneficiary children enrol in schools run by our local partners and score with high grades. Fountain met several graduates of the child sponsorship programme, some of them have already completed their Master degrees and found decent jobs. Growing up in a tough environment, these young adults had to deal with all kinds of family issues since young, such as parental alcoholism and single parenthood, but most of them have displayed a life of strong faith.
Though God has not promised a life without pain, He has promised us a life full of strength. How should we pray for these children? “Not success, but strength,” Fountain answers.