As Words of Hope team members in India began outreach work in northern villages, they realized that many children in the region were not attending school.
The families they encountered all belonged to the lower castes. Some were afraid that their children would be mistreated by others at school because of their low caste status. Also, as many of the parents never completed school themselves, they knew little of the benefits of education that their children could experience if they placed a higher priority on learning.
To combat this problem, Words of Hope began organizing tutoring centers in local churches and encouraging parents to send their children for free school instruction. The tutoring is designed to bring students up to speed in school subjects so that they can qualify for enrollment in a government school for the first time.
In some villages, our team faced resistance to setting up the tutoring centers. High caste individuals in the villages did not want lower caste families to have access to education. It is common for those in the higher castes to exploit lower caste individuals in many ways.
School for the First Time
Bohdi is a thirteen year old boy. His family belongs to one of the lowest castes in India. Members of Bohdi’s caste are typically either cattle herders or beggars. Almost none of them own land.
Bohdi’s father herds cattle and works as a field laborer. The family has very little money. When Words of Hope’s producer visited their home, he saw that Bohdi and his siblings were not attending school. He talked to the parents about the value of education.
The parents, however, explained that since they live in such poverty, they are not even able to afford food every day, much less pay school fees to educate their children. They also said that since they were in the lowest caste, they were disliked by the rest of the community.
The producer told them that they could send their children to the Words of Hope tutoring center for free. With tears in his eyes, Bohdi’s father asked, “Can our kids sit with the upper caste people?”
The producer talked with the parents and children, assuring them that there would be no segregation or mistreatment at the center. Bohdi and his siblings agreed to go.
After attending the tutoring center for a few months, Bohdi slowly started learning how to read and write. He can now write his parents’ names, and even knows his multiplications tables.
When he felt that Bohdi was ready, Words of Hope’s producer helped Bohdi to enroll in a government school for the first time. The teachers at the school were initially reluctant to admit Bohdi, but the producer persisted, and eventually gained a place for Bohdi in the classroom.
Today, Bohdi attends both the government school and the tutoring center after school. He even helps as the teacher’s aide at the tutoring center. His parents are so proud of the progress he has made.
And now, seeing the success that Bohdi has had at the tutoring center, many other families in the area are bringing their children to the center as well.
You Can Help!
Words of Hope partners with local churches to organize these tutoring centers. Currently we have 37 centers serving nearly 1,000 students in northern India. Many of the teachers at the centers volunteer their time to help the children learn.
For all these reasons, we are able to provide tutoring for a student for an entire school year for just $50! And right now, several generous Words of Hope donors are matching donations to support this cause, so any gift you make can go twice as far to help children learn!
Please consider donating today to help children unlock their potential through education.