Care to Make It Through the Days
— Ronne Rock · Monday, February 24, 2020 —
Word has gotten out in the small corner of a northeast India village that Zamawii is receiving a special gift. The 70-year old grandmother lives in a two-room shanty carefully perched on stilts, resting against the side of a cliff. There are two benches, a small bed, and a makeshift kitchen with a hot plate and little else. Today, one more thing will be added, and it’s causing a curious stir in the community.
She’s getting a television.
Every day, Zamawii does what she can to care for her 11-year old granddaughter, Esther. Esther and her older sister were left behind when their dad died of the ravages of HIV and their mom chose not to stay. The sister moved to another part of town to try to make it on her own, chipping rocks and working as a domestic helper.
If it weren’t for the care provided by the Gan Sabra Community Program, Zamawii and Esther would have little provision at all to make it through the days. But visits from ministry directors Lucy and Dingpuii include food, clothing, and medicine. Should a visit to the doctor be necessary, Zamawii says she knows they’re OK.
Today, the visit is a special one, with the gift of a television that has been donated to the ministry.
“We rarely receive donations like this,” shares Lucy, who founded the program as an outreach of the Gan Sabra HIV Home. “We wanted to make sure it was used by someone who would really enjoy it. It will be a nice treat for Zamawii and Esther.”
“I am applying for admission to a government home for the elderly,” Zamawii says. “Though it is not ideal, it is a safe place to live, and it would be fine for Esther.” While she waits, the two continue to live in the home that is not their own—a shanty that could be taken away from them at any time.
Esther looks at the television and wonders if it will show her what it’s like to be a doctor. Zamawii wants her to be a nurse when she grows up so she can work in a government setting, but Esther’s aspirations are much greater. She knows it will take a lot of schooling to get there, and that raises concerns for her grandmother.
“The church used to help us with some simple things like clothes and shoes, but they don’t come around anymore,” says Zamawii. “Gan Sabra helps with much of the needs, but the schools continue to add fees.” Sponsorship would be a huge blessing for Esther, as the monthly support would lift the burden.
Child sponsorship has been a gift for Isak, who says English is his favorite subject in school. His mother, Lalchhungi, is raising him by herself at the age of 33. The widow smiles when she looks at her son reading a book about cats and dogs.
“There’s little I can do to help him with his studies because I cannot read or write. But I am so proud of him. I want him to join the Army when he grows up, but I am not sure he will be given permission.” Isak is HIV+ like his mom.
Lalchhungi sells emergency lanterns to make enough money to pay rent. Most months, there is precious little left to care for her son. She gives thanks for Isak’s sponsorship, as it provides what she needs to ensure he can stay in school. The food and medicine provided by Gan Sabra each month has helped them both remain healthy.
“Our support is an entry point. We share what we can, and we become family,” says Lucy. “We pray together, and we are trying to connect them to churches that might be willing to help. Slowly, churches are opening their doors to us. We hope that, one day, every family will be cared for by a church. We will not stop serving.”
In the shanty on the cliff, Lucy and Dingpuii pray for Zamawii and Esther as neighbors peek through the door. There are prayers for health and for safety. There are prayers for provision, and there are prayers for a sponsor for Esther. Hugs are shared and a picture is taken of the new addition to the home. Zamawii is asked what she wants to watch with her granddaughter. She smiles.
“Cowboy movies. I like cowboy movies.”
Your monthly sponsorship of children affected by HIV like Esther and Isak helps meet their spiritual, emotional, physical, and educational needs. And it does more—it provides hope to moms and grandmothers. You truly can make a difference.
If you or your church is interested in partnership, contact
anorton[at]orphanoutreach.org" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(7, 72, 92);"> Amy Norton, Director of Programs for Asia.