by Neisha Roberts, (un)adopted Coordinator
(un)adopted has the privilege of working alongside Developing Hope in Pakistan, a ministry that seeks to care for orphaned and vulnerable girls in a city of 3.2 million. The ministry, nestled in the middle of a Muslim community, hosts 34 girls during each school semester.
“The most important thing, as the girls come to us, is their inner healing,” our partner shared with us recently. Four pastors in the area know the call to care for the orphan, and specifically seek to help girls who live in desperate conditions. For most of the girls that are recommended to Developing Hope, home life looks like a mom who is enslaved in the brick industry, and a father who has abandoned the wife and three children to satisfy his demand for drugs. Some of the girls are true orphans, with no living parent and maybe an aging grandmother who cannot take care of herself, let alone a child.
“We have found that children all over the world are very special and unique. We learn their stories. We build trust with them. We accept them as they are,” our partner said.
When a new girl moves in, like one of the three that moved into the home in 2018, she is often shy, unsure of what this new living situation will be like. The girls are frequently coming from a place where they are not fed well, treated as a “servant” by a step-father, or even abused by a distant relative. “These girls face many tragedies, mainly a lack of any parenting. … Diseases also increase day-by-day, with Hepatitis-C very common,” our partner shared.
But at Developing Hope, the girls find a safe, secure and loving environment. The directors of the home oversee eight staff members who care for the girls daily, and make sure that they get to and from school and do their homework. For most, it is a hard transition to have a routine, have a responsibility to study, and to care for themselves with good hygiene.
The girls are also taught how to make chapatti, a local flatbread, and how to wash their own clothes. They’re taught table manners and how to welcome a guest. Lots of things they don’t have the opportunity to learn at any other point in their lives. But more than that, the girls are being shown the gospel.
“We share with them that we are here for a special purpose. That we are not to waste our time (on this earth).”
Many of the girls have received Christ as their Savior, and have followed with baptism. It’s the main goal that the directors have — that the girls would know Christ and know their value in this world. But this place of work – “in the middle” — between familial/cultural troubles and changing a girl’s life with the gospel, is no easy task.
“Being in the middle is a difficult place to be with a tough target,” our partners shared. “We have much to do in a short amount of time.”
Would you join us in praying for this work? Pray that our partners would be strengthened in their work. Pray that the girls would learn more and more about Christ and accept Him. Pray that all those involved in the ministry would be safe, and protected from disease, physical harm and the threat of daily persecutions.