For most of the women living in the Modi Road area of Bangalore, India, a slum many call “Little Pakistan” because its population is 95% Muslim, life is a struggle to put food on the table.
The women and children are, in a way, trapped. As women, they aren’t permitted to leave the slum to work. So they depend on their husbands.
Unfortunately, most men in this area turn to alcohol and other substances to cope with the defeat that India’s caste system relentlessly pounds them with. If they earn anything, it is often absorbed by that addiction, leaving precious little their family can survive on.
This is an utterly hopeless life.
Life in Modi Road is harsh and difficult.
How does someone go about communicating to these marginalized and downtrodden women and children that they matter when all the messages around them scream the opposite? How do you open their minds so that they believe they are important to the Creator of the world?
Among other things, ITMI’s David and Taru Kumar are demonstrating the Good News that they are cherished creations of their heavenly Father to these outcast members of Indian society by teaching them to craft and sell handmade goods.
Here are 5 of the many exciting things you are accomplishing when you partner with the Kumars in their mission to reach women and children in this slum with the Good News.
5 Exciting Benefits of Vocational and Craft Training
1. Earning an income provides some financial relief
Though meager, the income they earn selling their handmade crafts helps put food on the table. It helps provide for their families. This benefit is enticing enough to get them to come to Deepam Center, where they make the goods to sell.
For some of the women that come to the center for vocational training, it’s the only place outside of home their husbands allow them to go.
This opportunity to earn something is inexpressibly valuable for their families.
The women may join the group because of the financial benefits, but they keep coming because of the fellowship. The crafters so enjoy their time, sitting in circles on the floor making their crafts and chatting.
And while community or belonging doesn’t make the cut of the most basic survival needs, it’s meeting a deep need these women may not even realize they have.
It is important for them to be with others who face the same challenges they do. To know they aren’t alone and to belong to something bigger than themselves.
The women enjoy fellowship during their crafting time.
3.Taru gets to interact and share truth with the women
The crafting sessions offer Taru and David the opportunity to demonstrate and declare the Gospel to this group of hurting women who don’t know Jesus when they cross the threshold of Deepam Center for the first time.
They meet Him through their interactions with David and Taru each time they enter the Deepam center.
David’s gentle kindness is a drastic contrast to what these women and children experience from most of the men in their lives. Being the recipient or observer of even a small act of considerate kindness is a profound witness.
David's kind gentleness is a drastic contrast to what these women and children are used to.
ITMI's Taru Kumar radiates His joy.
Taru is a bundle of energy. She radiates His joy and delight. She demonstrates His open, hospitable stance toward them in her warm greetings and her welcoming smiles.
When Taru and David share that Jesus cares about them, this is radically different than anything they’ve ever known outside of Deepam Center and their relationship with the Kumars.
4.They learn a skill and gain hope
One of the women who learned to sew at Deepam Center dreams of opening her own sewing business. This probably isn’t something she would have thought to dream before her path crossed the Kumars’.
There’s no reason to hope that anything about their situation will ever change in this dejected existence they lead.
Their caste will always be a barrier and it can’t be changed.
But learning a skill bred a small amount of confidence, and that confidence yielded the hope of being able to use her skill for the well-being of her family.
5.The joy of cultivation
From creation, humans are given the charge, “Be fruitful and multiply…” Why? So that the image of God is everywhere, bringing glory to Him.
Michael Goheen and Craig Bartholomew put it this way in their book, The Drama of Scripture, “We are God’s royal stewards, put here to develop the hidden potentials in God’s creation so that the whole of it may celebrate his glory.”
Matt Perman, author of What’s Best Next points out, “When we are getting things done, creating and making ideas happen, we are not only fulfilling part of God’s purpose for us but also reflecting his own character and attributes, which allows us to enjoy his character and attributes in a way that simply observing does not.”
What a wonderful way to show them how cherished they are as creations, crafted lovingly and uniquely by a Loving Artist, than to give them the chance to reflect His image and experience the joy of creating!
What does this mean for you?
If you’re already a supporter of David and Taru, it means you’re making a big difference.
Really. A HUGE difference.
If that’s not an option for you, or if you want to do more, you can still be part of this amazing outreach to a Muslim community.
You can help David and Taru reach these women with the encouragement, hope and Good News of the Gospel by purchasing their unique, hand-made crafts.
These handbags would make a great gift for someone who loves unique, non-mass-produced items that come with a beautiful story of hope.
You will have a gift you’re proud to give AND support David and Taru’s ministry, all while helping an impoverished and vulnerable family!
The hand-made bags will be available for purchase at the Christmas Boutique at First Baptist Church of Tempe on November 1st and 2nd.
Swing by, support our partners and get some Christmas shopping done. We'll see you there!