September 10, 2013 – During this back-to-school season, many of us in the United States take the education that our children receive for granted: we buy our kids new outfits, new backpacks and other supplies, and we send them out to wait for the school bus; it’s all fairly routine. But we should also spare a thought and a prayer for those who are less fortunate: for many people in India, basic education is a luxury few can afford.
For many years, Christ Gospel Church has been supporting missionary work in India, which not only includes humanitarian outreach but also educating children. CGC sponsors two schools in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. One is located in the city of Kakinada, where the CGC affiliated church is located. The other school is located in the town of Samalkot. Between both schools, CGC helps employ sixteen teachers and four administrative staff.
The schools are completely free of charge, and they are open to children of all faiths –not just those from Christian families or those belonging to similar denominations to our church. The schools are completely dependent on missionary fundraising provided by Christ Gospel Church and other local donations; they receive no funding from the government at all.
In addition to free lessons, students at these schools receive six nutritious meals every week, three uniforms every year, along with lesson books and other educational supplies – all of which is provided free of charge. For many inhabitants, Christ Gospel Church provides the only means of education for young children, as they cannot afford to attend other schools.
Moreover, many parents are illiterate themselves, so they, too, may be unaware of the benefits and opportunities that literacy and education bring. We spoke to Rev. Luke Yelchuri about this, who said “Many parents send their kids to school only because we provide food to them… This is one kind of attraction that convinces the parents to send their children for education.”
Yelchuri also wanted us to know that they have started a new outreach program, whereby the teachers go out into the villages and explain the importance of education to parents who may be reluctant to send their kids to school. “Many parents depend upon their children for earning, because they are sick,” Yelchuri noted. He went on to say that the church tries to provide humanitarian assistance, such as food, to alleviate the need for children to work at such a young age.
The school in Kakinada was opened in 1990 and the school in Samalkot was opened in 2005. Rev. Luke Yelchuri and/or his father, Dr. Joseph Yelchuri, will visit both schools at least twice a week to check on the students’ progress and ensure the effectiveness of the program. Luke Yelchuri paid tribute to the teachers who said they often “treat the students like their own family children.” Christ Gospel Church is glad to support this faith-based missionary work that makes such a positive difference in the lives of young people.