For Premalatha, the prospects of a brighter future were non-existent. She and her siblings were abandoned by their impoverished parents. So they found themselves being raised by grandparents who were afflicted with leprosy and whose only means of survival was begging. Consequently, the children were consigned to India’s lowest level of poverty. Living in a leprous community shut all educational doors for them, extinguished any future hopes for marriage, and sealed their tragic fates. Worse, Premalatha was taught by her Hindu culture that they were all suffering for sins committed in their former lives. There was no sense even dreaming.
Amidst such hopelessness, God opened a door of opportunity for Heaven’s Family in 2010. Through investments in our Leprosy Ministry Fund, we initiated monthly food distributions to the leprosy community where Premalatha lived. As we learned more about the plight of the leprosy-free children (and grandchildren) of infected adults, we began a child sponsorship program that paid for the tuition, book fees and other expenses so that 35 such children—including Premalatha and her siblings—could attend a private Christian academy. Hope was born in the hearts of 35 precious children.
As Premalatha’s grandparents became too ill to even walk to our food distribution location, she and her siblings were advancing in school and securing a new lease on their futures. In the spring of 2014, I was blessed to visit their community. Premalatha’s grandfather was near death, and he in fact passed away not long after my visit. It was encouraging, however, to see his grandchildren flourishing due to the twin benefits of good nutrition and good, godly schooling.
I learned during that visit that Premalatha would soon be graduating from high school, and so we made plans to equip her with a marketable skill by sending her for training in cosmetology. In addition, investments in our Leprosy Ministry Fund paid for 15 other graduates to receive vocational training. Some students also studied cosmetology, while others pursued skills in culinary arts, hotel management, computer training, taxi-driving, farming and livestock management.
I returned for another visit in March of this year, and I had the privilege of presenting Premalatha with her cosmetology certificate and congratulating her on her new job in a beauty shop. She’s now earning enough money to provide for her small family’s basic needs, and her siblings are pursuing their high school diplomas with hopes of vocational training as well. Premalatha is a beautiful young woman with a beautiful mind—and a beautiful heart that loves Jesus. And for us, she has also been a beautiful investment!