Asha No Longer Picks Up Trash to Survive; Now She Picks Up Her Pencil to Learn

Asha No Longer Picks Up Trash to Survive; Now She Picks Up Her Pencil to Learn October 27, 2017

Gospel for Asia, Wills Point, TX, USA

What if you didn’t have the freedom to dream?

Imagine rummaging through garbage all day long trying to find something to sell. How could your dreams stay alive mingled among the flies, mosquitoes and filth, while shabby clothes and dirty faces of others just like you surround your gloomy existence?

You walk in their shadow. The shadow of your parents and of their parents before you. The cycle of poverty unbroken and the freedom to dream forsaken simply because of what has always been.

This was the life of a little girl named Asha. Sadly, her life is just one among many other “untouchable” children like her. With little to no expectation for their future, children roam the streets, beg and wander aimlessly searching for something to fill their empty stomachs. When night falls they return to their home—a hut made from cardboard and pieces of tarp—to a discouraged, malnourished family.

But so many of us hold the keys to the freedom these precious ones can own for themselves, and that is why Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope Program exists: to give children the chance to dream.

Asha, a Gospel for Asia-supported Bridge of Hope student - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia
Asha, a Gospel for Asia-supported Bridge of Hope student, used to sift through garbage piles looking for things to sell to help her family’s income.

Trading Plastic Bottles for a Brighter Future

Asha picked up a discarded plastic bottle, dropping it mechanically into the sack she had swung across her back. It grew heavier as the morning wore on. Her empty stomach growled as she trudged through garbage-laden streets and alleyways. As on many other days, Asha had left her house without breakfast.

 ‘Untouchable’ and Trying to Survive

Asha’s father was paralyzed, so he couldn’t provide for his family. It was up to Asha and her mother to maintain the family. But being “Untouchables” within their society, they didn’t have many options when it came to jobs.

Facing Rejection at School

When it came time for school, Asha didn’t want to go. She feared the rejection of her teachers and classmates. No one would sit by her or play with her. She was alone and excluded. Asha didn’t have any friends at school.

Her parents explained to her disappointed heart the reason why society did not value her. She knew it was because she picked trash for a living, but this never made it any easier.

Father Wants Daughter to Study

But Bridge of Hope was different, and soon Asha would experience the love they had for her despite what society said about her.

Asha arrived at the center holding a plastic bag full of school books in her hands. Tattered, smelly clothes hung from her small body, and her face was dirty and unwashed.

Even though Asha was not in school attire, the staff welcomed, loved and cared for her. Tenderly, they took deliberate steps to help her keep neat and clean and gave her useful gifts like a backpack, school supplies and clothing.

Asha, enrolled in Bridge of Hope - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia
GFA Once Asha was enrolled in Bridge of Hope, she no longer had to rummage through piles of garbage.

After a year, Asha’s life changed completely. She learned fast and grew strong in her studies. Now, instead of having an empty stomach, every school day she enjoys a meal at the center. Asha has learned how to keep herself clean, and she participates in all the activities Bridge of Hope conducts.

Today, Asha no longer picks up trash; instead, every school day, she picks up her pencil and notebook and learns. There is now hope and ambition in her life, where there once wasn’t a chance to dream among garbage heaps.

Bridge of Hope offers more than 82,000 impoverished children a daily meal, regular medical checkups and lots of love and care from the staff. The program tutors children in their studies, giving them a chance to learn, grow and excel in their education.

Through Bridge of Hope, God is enabling these children to become all they possibly can be. Already we have seen them become a blessing to their communities throughout Asia.

We praise the Lord for Asha’s story. What an incredible thing it is to be part of equipping precious children for the future. Together, with so many around the world, we link our arms to help those who have nothing—giving them what they never dreamed they could have: freedom. Freedom to hope and dream beyond what they’ve ever known.

You can read more about Bridge of Hope in Dr. KP Yohannan’s book No Longer a Slumdog.

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