Six-year-old Ruman couldn’t hide his tears as he passed through the gate into Deepam Primary school.
His teacher, and the leader of the school, "Ma’am Taru" noticed his sadness, and also that this was not the first time Ruman had been in tears when he came to school.
“Ma’am Taru” as the students call her, is an ITMI partner in Bangalore, India. She and her husband, David, minister to children and families living in a slum that is often called “Little Pakistan” because the majority of the residents are Muslim.
Most of the families living in this slum shelter in rows of crowded, make-shift lean-tos and shacks.
“The whole slum is built with asbestos sheets and poor living conditions,” David describes, “Once, this land was a government wasteland, through which sewage waters would flow and pigs would run around in thorny bushes, but as poor people came in search of a place to live, they cleared the area and build small huts to live in and the area became a huge slum.”
Taking Ruman on her lap, Taru asked him what was going on.
“It was painful to hear,” David summarized, “He is only a child, but his problems are big and many.”
Ruman’s father does work as a cook in a local hotel, but he spends his money on alcohol and his neighbors said he “cares little for his family.” Because of frequent quarrels and beatings, Ruman’s mother ran away, leaving her children with their father.
Ruman and his siblings miss their mother and her care for them. They usually don’t have anything to eat in the morning.
At Deepam, Ruman, like all students, receives nutritional porridge around 10am, but for a growing boy, this is a long time to wait.
Deepam asks the student’s parents to provide them with a notebook to do their homework, but Ruman’s father had not made sure he had one.
One of the Deepam staff members, Mary, brought Ruman a notebook the following day.
“Please pray for fathers to take responsibility for their families,” David asks.
After hearing Ruman’s story, David asked Taru to find out how many other students do not eat before they come to school. Taru found that 60-70% of them do not usually eat before they come to school.
This makes the porridge they get at Deepam crucial for their overall health and development.
They also learn important academic stepping stones like recognizing letters, counting, and holding a crayon or pencil in preparation for attending elementary school. This cuts down the chances of them being denied entry.
Each day, Taru and the staff interact with them. These interactions give these small children, whose needs often go overlooked in their families, a sense of being seen and cared about. They belong and are known.
As children, they of course don’t have the awareness or vocabulary to express how meaningful that is to them, but it doesn’t take a psychologist to imagine what those intangibles might mean to them.
During the years while they attend Deepam, they learn who Jesus is, that He sees and knows them, and that they can call on Him - for salvation and in their pain or times of need on earth.
The gifts of ITMI supporters of David and Taru Kumar help keep Deepam declaring the Gospel in the middle of the darkness and brokenness of “Little Pakistan”.
One Year Tuition
for a disadvantaged child
$222 suggested gift
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