Written by: Yalexis Barr – Sponsorship Coordinator
We like to believe child sponsorship changes lives. We are thrilled when we receive a letter or pictures from our sponsored child. If you desire to go deeper in your relationship with your sponsored child, you will write often, send a birthday card or even send a special gift for Christmas.
In keeping this “rosy” and idealistic image of our sponsored children, one with smiling kids playing and going to school, we overlook the realities and harshness that they face every day. Although our Sponsorship Programs benefit many children (having access to education and feeding programs) some of them will continue to struggle in this world. They won’t find the rainbow after the storm.
There is a young boy called Ayush living in Kolkata, India. He comes from a Hindu family. When he was 9 years old he became part of the Sponsorship Program run by our partner in India. He lost his father when he was just 3 years old to cancer and his mother was left to fend for the family. Ayush’s mother, Tumpa worked as a maid, making 1,000 Rupees (less than $30 CAD) a month. Tumpa’s health was not the greatest, being sick often and suffering from anaemia. The children were looked after by the grandmother but because also had to make some money too, she often left Ayush and his little sister Dona, unattended.
Ayush was described as “very naughty as there is no one to take care of him, but he’s becoming gentle after attending Children’s fellowship every Saturday afternoon where he learns many stories about Jesus. He likes to play with cars and aspires to become a pilot in the future”.
Ayush was a regular student, attending both School and the Tuition Centre until recently when he stopped participating in the program activities. He was diagnosed with a psychiatric problem and was receiving treatment for it. Then his mother died, now he is living with his grandmother and sister.
Think about what this family is going through. Ayush and his little sister Dona, find themselves orphaned. They miss having a mother and father who loves them and takes care of them. Their grandmother struggles to balance looking after them while also working to provide for their needs.
Since Ayush wasn’t participating in the Sponsorship Programs, we were working on transferring the support to his little sister Dona, “ a very good and quiet girl”. We were in the middle of this process when I received an email from our partner reading “I find it very difficult to write this. We are heartbroken. Dona was found dead yesterday. She was found in her house. No one knows whether she committed suicide or was murdered. The police are investigating. Please pray for the family and all of us. May God grant us all peace.”
Dona was only 11. Whether she was murdered or committed suicide, Dona’s short life was filled with suffering, grief and despair. Being poor and after losing her parents, death got a hold of her. Can you think of what Ayush and his grandmother must be feeling right now? What the national worker who cared for this family is feeling? That maybe their efforts were not enough? If only they had done something different or tried harder?
Nothing can prepare you for news like this. It seems that Ayush and Dona’s story doesn’t have a happy ending. Still, God gives us hope and a future. Revelation 21:4
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will no longer exist;
grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer,
because the previous things have passed away.”
While we wait and look forward to this future, we can still bring physical transformation to the lives of many children like Ayush and Dona. We can satisfy their hunger and care for them. More importantly, we can introduce them to Jesus, so they too can look forward to a New Creation. Please pray for Ayush and his grandmother. Pray for all the children who participate in our Sponsorship Programs. Pray for enough provision to fulfill the overflowing need. Please also pray for our partners who are constantly encountering evil in their daily work.