Have you ever skipped school?
I did once, and I remember my parents got so mad when they found out.
I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I skipped school entirely.
But this is what happens to the rag picker children in India.
Every morning, they pick through garbage thrown out by others and collect recyclables and anything of value. They sell their found treasures in the afternoon to earn enough money to survive another day in the slums.
To find anything, they must go through the trash early, before others pick it clean. Public education in India begins in the morning, and the rag picker children can’t attend. They are forced to choose between going to school or picking through trash to survive another day.
Without an education, they are trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty. Most are illiterate, and many suffer from impaired psychological and social development.
Many of the youth turn to alcohol and drugs, and most live out their entire lives in dire poverty and despair.
But there is hope for these children! Over the last 28 years, Father Joseph Raj, OFM, and other missionary friars in Chennai, India, have reached out to thousands of street and slum children and women. They have provided emergency resources of food, water and medicine.
But now they are about to begin a new outreach program for 776 of the most vulnerable children in the slums of Chennai. They plan to open education centers so these children will be able to get an education.
The centers will open in the afternoons and evenings with a staff of professional teachers. As you can imagine, educating 776 children is a costly venture, and Fr. Joseph needs our help.
I know you have a big heart . . . I know this because of your faithful generosity and compassion for the poor.
I’m writing today to ask you to share some of your treasure to help Fr. Joseph educate the children. It will cost only $23,504 to educate all of these children for one year. Every $30 you share with Fr. Joseph will educate a child for a full year!
Lent is a time of self-examination. Through prayer, fasting and giving to others, we reflect, accept our own sinfulness, and make the needs of others our own. Jesus gave himself up for us. Almsgiving to help the poor is a gift back to Jesus. Please consider helping Fr. Joseph give these rag picker children hope for the future by giving them an education.
By sharing your treasure to educate a child, you show your loving heart and your commitment to helping the poor.
Can you help Fr. Joseph with your generous Lenten donation as he provides hope to a child living in dire poverty? Can you help him give a child a chance for a better tomorrow?
YOU have a special place in the prayers of all our friars because you support our Gospel work around the world. Please help Fr. Joseph give the rag picker children an education and the dream of a better tomorrow!
With a grateful heart,
Brother Andrew Brophy, OFM
P.S. Thank you for your wonderful generosity. Your Lenten donation today will do more than pay for a year of school for a child living in dire poverty. It will give that child hope for a better future.