These are stories of life lived out. They are shared so you might see in real ways how children’s lives in other places, in other circumstances, are so different to your own. Can you do something to help?
I recently watched a video* and I realized the girl’s circumstances were so similar to many of the kids we serve. It was the story of a young 12-year-old girl who had to quit school to support her younger siblings. Without an education, this now 16-year-old girl in China says she has no escape from a future of manual labour.
Her family was so poor, that they could not afford her education even in the state system. She suffered beatings at the hands of her father, he even threw bricks at her. She had to be the carer for her 2 younger siblings till she left and moved to the city looking for work. The same city her parents had gone to. This left the younger ones with their grandmother.
I personally know children in virtually the same circumstances and when I shared that video on our social media the first comment made was…“WOW, 16… she would be so much more protected as a minor in other countries… what a life at such a young age ??”Love, the kind that we understand to be unconditional and supportive, is not always understood in many countries. And many, possibly most, parents only understand giving “tough love” so their children won’t be seen as weak when they grow up.
In China I recently had multiple conversations with young parents of children between 2 and 8, who expressed these exact concerns. Those particular parents don’t beat their children but they are very aware of these situations and have to grapple with these different types of love all the time.
There are opportunities to show an alternative to this tough love. There is a love which is supportive and gentle yet strong. Love that does not require forced obedience. God’s love is unconditional. We have these opportunities wherever we serve, in whatever country we serve.
Love, the kind that we understand to be unconditional and supportive, is not always understood in many countries. And many, possibly most, parents only understand giving “tough love” so their children won’t be seen as weak when they grow up.
In China I’ve had multiple conversations with young parents of children between 2 and 8, who expressed these exact concerns. Those particular parents don’t beat their children but they are very aware of these situations and have to grapple with these differing types of love all the time.
There are opportunities to show an alternatives to this tough love. There is a love which is supportive and gentle yet strong. Love that does not require forced obedience. God’s love that is unconditional. We have these opportunities wherever we serve, in whatever country we serve.
He is a little boy who has not even turned 3 yet. When I recently saw Jimmy he was sitting on the inside balcony of the apartment. This apartment is home to a group of babies and toddlers and he had just unexpectedly joined the family. Usually when children come to us they have been living in an orphanage. Jimmy’s arrival was a little different though.
Jimmy was sitting on the balcony all on his own then one of the little girls, we’ll call her Jill, came and sat beside him. She didn’t say much, just smiled and put her hand on his shoulder. I guess in her spirit she knew his sadness but didn’t exactly understand the tears. She could see his tears but wasn’t sure if he was in pain or had hurt himself. This little girl, with such a gentle heart, went over to one of the carers and said “Jimmy is crying and I don’t know why”.
With that the carer went and sat with Jimmy and asked what was wrong, he had tears falling down his little cheeks. He was slow to share his reason for the tears but said he was sad, he missed his mummy. When would they come to take him home, when would his uncle come to take him home? Sadly it doesn’t look like anyone will be taking Jimmy home any time soon.
The carer tried to comfort him. Jimmy isn’t being rough with the other smaller kids, he’s not being loud or difficult to manage. He seems too sad. Could he know that his mum had a baby of her own and now didn’t have an adopted son?
This isn’t an example of a fictitious story, this is real life. The hope for Jimmy now is that since he has joined our family he is in a loving environment among people who really do care for him. We hope to see his new Forever Family, true to their word and that title, come into his life and turn his future around with a new life story. Our discussion was how can we help Jimmy process what he is living through?
He’s not even 3 yet…
This is Aaral*… she is now 11 and lives with her mother, father and two younger siblings in India. Her father is addicted to both drugs and alcohol and he is abusive towards his children. Nearly all his income is spent on his addiction. Her mother can’t work due to chronic migraines.
Aaral stopped attending school at the age of 7 because her parents wouldn’t take her to school. She is an active and caring girl in one of our program centres in India. Aaral worries constantly about her parents; she prays for them every day. Her favourite activities are singing and telling stories but sadly, like many children in similar circumstances, she constantly lives in fear of her abusive father.
The child Development Centre she attends has approximately 40 children. Nearly all the children in our centres are prevented from going to school because they are not educated enough. Hard to understand but true.
In the Child Development Centers we provide care and education to the children. These children came from the slums, streets, poverty stricken homes and jails where they have suffered cold, hunger and have been abused by others, and have suffered many other indescribable cruelties. There is a big demand for Child Development centers in many rural villages in India as there are thousands of children waiting for an opportunity for education and care.
If you sponsor a girl or boy like Aaral, in India or China, you will make a world of difference in their life. We know young adults who were sponsored by Heart for Kids supporters for their education, including university, who now have futures with real hope. And their offspring will have much better futures. It’s present and future generations that are being impacted.
If your home doesn’t have fresh, drinkable accessible water you are in trouble. Most of us just go to the kitchen and turn the tap. We take it for granted. It’s that easy. But what if you don’t have that water running from the tap in your house.
Aslam is from a poor Muslim family living near one of our Child Development Centres. They did not have clean drinking water for many years which led to children and women often getting sick from drinking polluted water. There was a hand pump but it was only shallow and didn’t reach down the 122 meters needed to the clean water. Aslam and his village needed a bore well to provide safe drinking water.
My name is Aslam*. I am 9 years old. My father left us 3 years before. We do not know where he is. I live with my mother, sister and two younger brothers. My mother works when she can as a housemaid. We live in a rented room. I never went to school but now joined this new school
I am so happy today. Every day I had to go with my brother to the next village, 3 kilometres away. We would collect and bring home water in our water bottles.
My mother goes to work early in the morning and would come home late in the evening. So it was my brother and my job to get the water. It was very difficult for us to carry water and I used to get lots of pain in my knees and feet.
But then the water bore was made and Aslam’s water came from his own village. We are so happy that we have this new bore well in our own village now. I no longer have to carry water from many kilometers away. I just turn the tap on the village bore well and the safe water flows.
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