Wills Point, Texas – GFA (Gospel for Asia) – Discussing the innumerable children, abused and abandoned, and the impact Bridge of Hope centers make to transform their lives with God’s love.
The innocence of a child is one of the most beautiful things this world has to offer. For most people, once they reach a certain age, that innocence and naiveté is lost—merely a thing of the past. Nostalgia rules supreme among the elderly, and adults sometimes wish they could return to the time of their youth where there seemed to be no troubles and no cares in the world.
Unfortunately, some children today do not have the innocence and naiveté they should. Some have been brutally and carelessly robbed of their childhood. UNICEF reported that 13 percent of Asia’s total labor force in 2011 was composed of children. These children had lost one or both parents.
With no other way to take care of themselves, these children are forced to then take to the streets. Some children are either pushed into child labor, roam the streets, or are trafficked. Many are simply abandoned by uncaring parents. More than 100 million children live on the street in Asia alone. Either they were born on the streets—or, like Akmal, they had no other place to go.
No Safe Place
Akmal’s father murdered his mother and disappeared without a trace. Akmal, only 6 years old, was abandoned by his village and taken in by his uncle. Sadly, this uncle proceeded to abuse the already traumatized Akmal. It wasn’t long until the 6 year old ran away, taking to the streets.
Akmal decided to get on a train, leaving his horrific past behind him. He had no direction, no knowledge of where he wanted to go, just that he needed to leave. Seventeen hours later, the young boy stepped off the train.
Akmal was picked up by a worker for a local toy factory. Hope quickly turned into despair as Akmal was made to work at the very station he arrived at. Every day, Akmal tried to sell toys to passersby to make his “boss” happy.
Reclaiming His Childhood
A couple of months later, local officials took notice of the too-young salesman. They brought Akmal to a home for abandoned children that is operated by GFA’s field partners. There, the staff poured love into this troubled young boy, giving him what he needed most: a childhood. Now, Akmal is a far cry from the scared, traumatized little boy he once was. Joy and love permeate every aspect of his childhood thanks to the workers at the home.
Akmal now has a chance that millions of other street children desperately need:
Left for Dead
For many children in Asia, the chance for a true childhood is rare. For females, the chance to even live to adulthood is rarer still. The rate of survival of females in Asia is much lower than males. According to UNICEF, in 2017, 40 out of every 1,000 female births did not live long after delivery. Some died to sickness and others to abandonment. A little girl named Janvi would have been counted among the dead had she not been rescued.
Dayalu, a local believer, was walking one day when he came across a wailing toddler sitting among a bed of ants, covered in nearly dozens of bites. It was discovered later that this baby had been left to die by her alcoholic parents.Dayalu wept at the pitiful sight and, scooping little Janvi up, took her to his home. Dayalu and his wife already had two children of their own but they readily and lovingly accepted Janvi as their daughter. Despite the joy and love in which they embraced their new family member, Dayalu and his wife were poor. For Dayalu, feeding a family of four was difficult enough, but now he had to provide for a family of five.
Thriving, Thanks to Love
Fortunately, a GFA-supported Bridge of Hope center was nearby. Finding out that Janvi was eligible to attend, Dayalu readily registered her. There, Janvi began to thrive. Dayalu wanted to give his eager-learning daughter a good education but couldn’t because of their financial situation. By the grace of God, the Bridge of Hope program came alongside this family and provided Janvi a place to truly flourish.
Today, Janvi attends school thanks to the Bridge of Hope program. Janvi, a once lonely, crying baby, now is a bubbly young girl full of life and love.
Those Who Remain
Akmal’s and Janvi’s stories resonate across the world, especially in Asia. There are still millions of children living without the proper love and care they deserve.
Fortunately, many workers have risen up to help these children. Day after day, they go forth and find the least of these, so that they, too, may experience God’s love. Whether it be in homes for street children or GFA-supported Bridge of Hope centers, children are finding their worth in a world of uncertainty.
To learn more about Bridge of Hope, go here.
To read more posts on Patheos on Bridge of Hope, go here.
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