Much of Asia continues to be on some level of coronavirus-related lockdowns. Though GFA World’s Bridge of Hope has been unable to hold its regular activities, the centres have not been idle. Bridge of Hope and other GFA workers have continued to impact children, their families and entire communities as they have offered helping hands in time of great need.
In recent months, tens of thousands of food kits have been distributed, which included essential items such as rice, lentils, flour, beans, cooking oil and sugar. These distributions focused on children enrolled in Bridge of Hope, many whose parents are daily wage labourers who have been unable to work, but also included other local families in need.
“When we heard the centre is closed, we were sad,” said Lalita, a 14-year-old student. “But you did not forget us; rather you remembered us. Thank you for showing your love by providing these valuable ration items during this crisis.”
Sabah is a 13-year-old student at another centre. Like many in the area, her family is undergoing a financial crisis.
“Sometimes we are not able to buy our daily needs,” Sabah said. “[Bridge of Hope] is helping us with these ration items. Thank you for your precious help.”
Many centres, in partnership with local government and school officials, held programs in conjunction with food distributions during which GFA pastors and other invited guests encouraged participants as well as raised awareness of the coronavirus and preventing its spread.
Mr. Bhoj, a local government leader, participated in a program in the area.
“Children are the future of our nation,” said Mr. Bhoj. “Helping them in their need will make a great impact on their future. I really thank the Church and its leadership.”
Numerous children, parents and other recipients expressed gratitude for the GFA workers’ concern and care in their time of need, giving them “hope for living” in this time of crisis, as one student said.
Charitrya is a widow with five children, one of whom is enrolled in Bridge of Hope. Unable to earn money as a domestic worker, Charitrya has been struggling to feed her family.
“There were days when we had nothing to eat,” said Charitrya. “This ration kit has come as a relief to us. I am thankful to all the leaders for providing this to us.”
Pushkar’s parents are among the many daily labourers who have been unable to work.
“During this pandemic, my parents are really struggling to meet even one-time meal at home,” he said. “Today, I am deeply grateful to [Bridge of Hope] centre for giving me and my family the ration kits.”
Prema is another student. “I am happy to get the ration kit today,” she said. “I am forever grateful to all my teachers and other staff, because they really take good care of us and help us to grow in every way.”
Lessons at Bridge of Hope extend far beyond academic studies, shaping young people to be individuals of character who will make a positive impact on their communities.
Another student, Udah, has experienced the impact of Bridge of Hope.
“The project centre has really helped me to improve in many areas like good behavior, good manners, and I am definitely encouraged so much and doing well in my studies, too,” he said. “I am always grateful to all the teachers and staff. I am also thankful for the ration kit provided to us today and for teaching us the measures to be taken against COVID-19 virus.”
In addition to encouraging students to study well and obey their parents, teachers lead by example. Perhaps through serving their students and the community in this time of crisis, GFA workers are teaching students valuable lessons by example even when they can’t be in the classroom.
Tegbir, a student at another centre, gratefully received food items and observed his teachers’ example.
“I was filled with joy in my heart,” he said. “When I grow up, I will serve the people by helping their needs.”
Anisah, another student, also expressed heartfelt thanks.
“I will never forget such good work in my life,” she said. “Thank you, [Bridge of Hope] leaders, for your love and concern for each one of us.”