About Hope Ascending
THE WHOLE STORY
Thank you for taking an interest in our work. I began visiting India back in 2011 because I wanted to see what ministry looked like from an indigenous perspective. After a few years, I shifted from Kerala in the south to northern India.
This is where poverty is greatest. This is also where India’s largest slums exist. Families and especially children are at high risk for forced-labor, prostitution, disease, and illiteracy; all of which contribute to generational poverty. We started by working with one particular tutoring center that helps children out of poverty. We still are very much involved with this program and also work with another center in the state of West Bengal. One of the teachers at our Hariyana Center used to attend the tutoring program. She graduated and went onto college and is now back teaching for us.
In three year’s time, I developed an extensive network of young, faithful and hard working pastors who are busy running tutoring centers for poor children, feeding the hungry, clothing the homeless and blessing the poor in any way they can.
India’s poor population is greater than any other in the world. Generational poverty is taken for granted by the general public and health statistics and mortality rates for children under five years of age are off the charts. Illiteracy and lack of proper health care are at the top of the list of contributing factors to poverty in India. Hope Ascending partners with local Indian pastoral leaders in order to restore hope to populations that have been marginalized by society. We identify young, trustworthy, faithful and hard-working leaders who understand the necessity to be self-sustaining. We establish partnerships by spending lots of quality time with them, and we match them with mentors. They operate tutoring centers for migrant slum children.
We help children to receive the proper education that prepares them to enter the mainstream of education by teaching math, Hindi language, English and science.
Children who live in slums are caught in a perpetual cycle of generational poverty. They need extra attention and tutoring in English. The higher educational system in India requires that all students complete their studies in English. This is where we excel.
We aim to educate the poorest Indian children by preparing them to pass their entrance exams into the government school system. We’ve been so successful at this that the children often will skip grades beyond their age. We teach math. science, Hindi language and English. We also want to make sure they are healthy and safe. We begin with the children by providing healthcare, clean water, winter coats, rain jackets, shoes, mosquito nets, blankets and heavy quilts. Whole communities are transformed by seeing their children excel. In India, its the children who grow up to take responsibility for their parents as they age. So, you can imagine how excited the parents get when their child enters school. When grades are excellent, they may enter college, get good jobs, and actually provide a better life for their parents.
Our strategy is to help pastoral leaders take their attention and worries off of their own families so that they can spend more time overseeing their tutoring centers, the children and the families of the children who live in the Indian slums. We do this by identifying individual skill sets and by helping the leaders become self-sustaining so they do not have to rely upon western funding to take care of their own families. Reliance on western dollars is unhealthy. It sets up a dependency which can end at any time. This leaves the pastor’s family with no funds to take care of their own families. We don’t want them to worry about these things. It’s far better that they manage their own incomes and the tutoring centers they oversee.
We raise funding here in the USA to establish businesses for pastoral leaders in India who run tutoring centers for slum children. That money is invested in businesses that help the pastor become self-sustaining. Examples are cafes, tea shops, goat farming, mushroom cultivation, transporting children to schools, etc. We have purchased minivans manufactured in India to to establish transportation businesses. This helps the leaders also transport their Tutoring Centers’ children to and from school during bad weather such as during the monsoon season.
In addition, we provide equipment and programs that are needed to help the children excel at school. Computers, Health Check-ups, School Books, Uniforms, Shoes and Outerwear are all necessary to ensure the children have everything they need. We also supply water filtration systems and security cameras to help make sure the kids are safe from parasites and from other intruders.
We measure success by looking at the attrition rate of the student body. But even more important a measure is the number of children that test successfully into the government school. In India, children may enter school even if they have not been attending. It is most often the case that these children are first-generation primary school students. They test into the appropriate grade level, not according to their age but according to their ability. Even as I write this, we just had six more children test successfully beyond their age-appropriate grade levels! We are so very excited for them.
Hope Ascending has successfully strengthened and fortified the educational capabilities of a 200 child tutoring center located in a major slum area of Haryana India. We have made it possible for many children to break away from their prior occupation as rag-pickers, street beggars, and pan handlers to enter a program that prepares them for bright futures. One of these children who tested successfully into the government school system has entered college and is now back teaching the children at our center.
In addition, by providing transportation for our administrators in the form of minivans and even motorcycles, their ability to manage their families and the tutoring centers has increased beyond our expectations. They can transport children to and from school.
We also have created jobs for these pastors by investing in social entrepreneurial businesses that allow them to interact with the public, community and families in their areas of operation.
We’re all looking to make a difference in our world and we believe that by focusing on at-risk communities, we’re going to make the most substantial impact. The world is made up of social connections and if we foster them positively, they’ll pay huge dividends – in love, care, and a better world.