In India, God is reaching out and providing for families in need through some of the simplest means: career training for women.
One young lady in India shared with our team her daily struggles for the last couple years, which were sadly exacerbated by the pandemic.
“My name is Aesha*... God blessed me with one boy, now 6 years old. I am attending [name omitted] church. My husband is a nominal believer but a drinker, and so he doesn't take care of the family properly. He works as a rickshaw driver, but even that he does not do regularly. I have been praying for his salvation for the last 10 years.
“After the Covid lockdown began, there were no possibilities for the rickshaw drivers to work. My husband also would not go for other works. Some days I worked in the fields, but it was a very difficult time to survive as a family. I was praying for God's provision for my family.”
Unbeknownst to Aesha, God was already on the move to provide for her, but there was an introduction that needed to be made first.
Making More Opportunities
Central Asia has traditionally been neck-and-neck with Europe in terms of men and women having equal opportunities in the workforce.
That trend, however, has taken a sharp blow in terms of opportunities for women in Central Asia, as The World Bank explains, “[T]hree decades of unprecedented political, economic and social transformations have had profound gender-related impacts, which vary country by country. Among the main challenges in the region are persistent gaps in labor force participation and earnings.
“Women's employment has been affected by the shrinkage of state-provided services such as child-care and child allowances. Land privatization has led to gender-differentiations in land ownership, where the male head of the family is most often listed as the primary owner.” The World Bank also notes, “The pay gap between males and females is about 30 percent. Legal restrictions still exist on certain types of jobs that women can perform.
“Female entrepreneurship is low compared to other regions, due to limited access to assets, financial services, capacity building opportunities, information, and markets.”
These new barriers are not insurmountable, though, and many men and women are rising to the challenge of leveling the plane once more. Employment difficulties are being acknowledged and career classes are being offered by organizations like World Challenge’s partners in India.
God’s Love Demonstrated
Aesha met with a World Challenge team and explained her plight to them. She was willing to work hard, but the avenues for a woman and mother to find a job were few and far between.
The team offered her an alternative solution. They held sewing and tailoring classes for women, and those who successfully graduated from the course were given a new sewing machine for their own.
“It is very much of a blessing to have a teacher. Now I am able to learn how to use the sewing machine well. My husband is also getting a monthly salary as a rickshaw driver. Even if my husband loses his work in the future, God is helping me to learn tailoring. I'm having this confidence, that I can continue to provide for my family.
“I thank God for His love shown through the World Challenge ministry. I pray that this project will be useful to many of the poor families like mine. Thank you, and please pray for my husband’s salvation.”
*Name replaced or omitted. For our ministry partners’ security, we don’t release names or locations in highly sensitive areas.