Millions of children live on the streets of India and many turn to a life of crime to survive. Some beg in the streets, wasting away from starvation and disease. Others travel hundreds of miles from rural villages looking for work in the cities only to fall victim to gangs, organized crime, or human trafficking. Still others live in India’s slums, surrounded by drugs, alcohol, abusive parents and a complete absence of hope.
At Grace Care, we’re working to solve these problems one child at a time through holistic care centered on the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Here are some examples of what we’re doing:
The Grace Home
Grace Home, near Delhi, provides more than 100 children with nutritious meals and snacks as well as a safe place to live. But we’re more than a shelter.
Life on the streets is tough and many children come to Grace Home with rough language, poor attitudes and substance addictions. We give the children in our care an education, vocational training, and medical care. We help them develop good habits through structure and the love and support of a family environment. And we give them a strong spiritual foundation, teaching them the Gospel and the healing power of God’s love.
Grace Care Academy
The children at Grace Home are educated through Grace Care Academy(GCA), and have already graduated and found jobs or gone on to higher education. GCA also provides formal and informal education to children from nearby slums and villages through its evening classes. In addition, poor women come to GCA premises to learn vocational skills that will help them earn income.
Grace Shelters for Street Children: Our shelters provide several hours of care for hundreds of vulnerable children living in the streets and slums of Delhi. We seek to lift them up with food, clothing, medical attention, counseling, and literacy classes.
Grace Shelters for Mothers and Infants: One of the reasons so many children die in India is due to a lack of care for pregnant women, mothers and infants living in poverty. We want every child to be brought into this world in a safe and healthy way, so we provide those in this program with nutritious food, prenatal and postnatal care, assistance during delivery, hygiene items and training on personal cleanliness, and counseling on sex, family planning and health family life. This program focuses on Delhi and adjoining cities.
Grace Literacy and Relief Shelters: Illiteracy is a major hindrance to escaping poverty, so this project focuses on teaching the poor in rural areas to read, and provides basic education, counseling and spiritual care. This project also provides daily care for people with leprosy, disabilities, and other vulnerable adults.
Grace Rehabilitation Shelters: Within Grace Home, we have seen children with substance addictions transformed and others rescued from abuse and child labor. Many of these children have been restored to their families with the help of local government and non-government organizations. We hope to develop a separate Rehabilitation Center to focus exclusively on this effort.
On a summer day in 1997 at a railway station in southern India, I was waiting for a train when I noticed a young boy, about five years old, walking down the tracks. He was so thin that I could count his bones. As I watched, I noticed the boy was looking for something—possibly money or gold, I thought.
But then he picked up an empty juice container from the filthy tracks and squeezed with all his might to get a few drops. After that, he found a food wrapper thrown on the track and tried to eat the residue.
I couldn’t hold back my tears. The stray dogs and rats had plenty to eat, but this little child, created in the image of God, was rummaging through filth to try to feed himself! For me, this boy was Jesus seen in Mathew 25:35: “for I was hungry and you gave me food”. He represented the thousands of children longing for care and love in India. I knew my life could never be the same, and I said a short prayer that day:“Oh God, this is just one lifetime, I just want to dedicate my life to you and be a blessing for children in need, orphans and abandoned ones.”
My wife, Annie, and a team of young people from Grace Community Church would later join me in transforming this vision into realityWatch Video