Children of those with leprosy face significant barriers in attaining an education. Although healthy themselves, they are stigmatized and often turned away from schools because of their connection to the disease. They also very likely have grown up in poverty, putting access to a quality education out of their reach.
Without a good education, children have few choices other than continuing to live in the colonies and ultimately raising their own families there as well. It is our hope that educational assistance will give these children more career opportunities, thereby helping them integrate into mainstream society and breaking the perpetuation of colony life that otherwise could exist for generations to come.
While the initial focus of Embrace a Village was helping patients afflicted with this dreadful disease, Joe’s wife, Pat, helped us expand our vision. Pat recognized the children in the villages, who do not have the disease themselves, also are a group in need. Through after-school tutoring and participation in our ‘Little Lights Program’, the children and grandchildren of leprosy patients have been excelling in school, and many have plans to attend college. These children are creating a more promising future for themselves and for India.
Every week, Monday through Friday, the children of those with leprosy are provided after school tutoring and Bible study training through the ‘Little Lights Program’. These children, kindergarten through high school, are given nutritious dinners and the hope of a future.
Education provides the children with greater career choices and the opportunity to break away from a colony lifestyle and a chance to raise families of their own beyond the stigma of leprosy.
Each of the programs helps to contribute to the overall health and well-being of those affected by leprosy and their families. But more than anything, we are grateful for the ongoing opportunity to share the love of Jesus and His message of hope and healing. It is truly amazing watching God work throughout the ministry. For more information about what we do in India, visit our ‘How We Serve’ page.