in Asia - 5 min read
Developing Northeast India Through Child Sponsorship
The first time I visited the Gilgal Children’s Home in Churachandpur, Manipur, India, I was shocked by its remote location. Manipur is a state in far northeast India. It gave me a very literal perspective on the phrase, “the middle of nowhere.” My recurring thought was how thankful I was that a place like Gilgal exists to provide several hundred of the millions of India’s least fortunate children, many with no parents or who were born into families who cannot afford to care for them, a place of refuge.
Northeast India is vastly different from developing and industrialized cities throughout India. The infrastructure in the Northeast is primitive at best. There are no high-rise office buildings like in Mumbai. There are no state-of-the-art highway and road systems like in Delhi. Most people living there exist day-to-day through farming and manual labor-type jobs. Years upon years of tribal wars, which still exist today, in this area have torn apart families and stunted the economy. In many ways, it’s an area full of hopelessness.
However, there is one man working to provide hope for the hopeless.
Our partner and the Director of the Gilgal Children’s Home, James Lalrobul, one of my very best friends, grew up in Churachandpur, not far from the children’s home. James knows the struggles kids face who grow up in northeast India. Therefore, he also knows the importance of providing a home for children in this area who have no other options. He knows these children are the hope of India.
James is a visionary and his vision for Gilgal has always extended far beyond meeting the initial needs of children. James and I have often talked about a father’s desire is to provide everything he can for his children. While James and his wife have three children of their own, he also feels God’s call to act as a father to the nearly 300 kids living at Gilgal. This calling on his life has driven him to take a holistic approach to raising the children at Gilgal. He works tirelessly to develop kids who are strong spiritually, physically, and mentally. This approach is designed to give each child the best opportunity for success in all aspects of life.
Gilgal has always been, and always will be, a place where God is glorified and revered as Savior, Provider, and Lord. Nothing at Gilgal happens apart from God’s divine blessing. James believes this to his core, as do the kids, regardless of what material needs have been met or are still unmet. Every child that grows up at Gilgal knows Christ as Savior.
Thirteen years ago, James shared with a team from World Help the need for more nutritious, vitamin-rich food and a consistent source of clean water for the kids at the home. Shortly after this conversation, and through the Children of the World International Children’s Choir and the faithful sponsors in our Child Sponsorship Program, James was able to ensure the kids in the home were given meat, eggs, and milk along with rice on a consistent basis. World Help also provided a water system allowing the kids at Gilgal constant access to clean drinking and bathing water. The reduction in illnesses, disease, and malnutrition was astounding, and the result reached further than just improved basic heath.
It’s a fact that healthy kids attend school more regularly and have a much better chance of finishing their education. In a rural area like Manipur, education is the key in helping these children break the cycle of poverty. James is well aware of this, and proper education is a priority at Gilgal. Today, Mount Carmel School, located on the Gilgal campus, is one of the top schools in all of the state of Manipur. Not only do the children living at Gilgal attend this school, but hundreds of families from the surrounding communities pay to have their children educated at Mount Carmel as well. Access to quality education gives these children opportunities for a future that otherwise would be unimaginable.
Over the past several years, the fruits of James’ labor have begun to become apparent. His life-long vision is becoming a reality. Hundreds of children who were raised at Gilgal have had the opportunity to attend college. They are working in all types of professions. Some are nurses, pastors, teachers, and businessmen. Many now have families of their own and are raising children according to the same principles they learned at Gilgal.
I thank God for men, like James, who see the value in investing holistically in the lives of children who are considered “the least of these.” I thank God that World Help has the opportunity to partner with him and others like him. Please take time to pray for James. Pray for the continued development of the children under his care. Pray they will continue to make a positive impact on India.
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