6-year-old Akmal didn’t know where the train was heading, but he was sure of one thing: He was never going back. Why did his uncle beat him? Why did his father have to kill his mother? Now he was alone and unsure of his future. As the train’s wheels turned on the tracks, Akmal’s life took a turn of its own.
A Tragic Childhood
Akmal was helpless. His father had run away after he murdered his own wife and had left behind no trace of his whereabouts.
No one in Akmal’s village pitied or took in the now abandoned and parent-less child. When Akmal’s uncle, who lived in another village, heard about the young boy’s situation, he brought Akmal into his own house. But this turned out to be no home for Akmal.
Akmal’s uncle was of no comfort. He left no room for Akmal to open up and share his hurts. He gave the young boy no opportunity to recover from the trauma of losing his mother and being left behind by his own dad. Instead of giving love and care, his uncle made Akmal throw away waste and sweep the house. Instead of words of comfort and sympathy, Akmal received harsh commands.
Escaping Abuse by Running Away
After a few days of living with his rough uncle, Akmal was cruelly beaten. This abuse was too much for little Akmal, and he decided to run away. He made it to a train station, believing there he would find freedom. But he didn’t know where any of the trains were heading. Without a second thought, Akmal slipped on board of one. Seventeen to 20 hours later, he arrived to a new life.
But he was alone. No one to look after him. No one to protect him. Vulnerable.
Then Akmal met a young man who worked for a toy factory. The man took lonely Akmal into his home, most likely promising the 6-year-old that he would take care of him, he would provide food, shelter . . . maybe even love. However, Akmal ended up spending most of his time on the streets and at railway stations selling toys for the man.
Instead of playing with the toys himself, Akmal had to sell them to travelers. Instead of going to school each morning and coming home to a happy family, little Akmal worked with a man he just met in order to survive. After a few months of this exploitation, Akmal’s life took another unexpected turn.
Rescued from Child Labor
One day, authorities found Akmal selling toys at the station. They brought him to a GFA-supported home for abandoned and runaway children. There at the home, also known as “House of Hope,” he received love, education and a chance to live a normal childhood, instead of abuse and abandonment.
As the staff poured into Akmal’s life, he learned about the love of Jesus, the One who looks after the fatherless. Through the heart of Christ displayed in others, God gave little Akmal the chance to know he is valuable. Though Akmal didn’t know where he was going that day he boarded the train, God saw him each step of the way and lead him to a place where he could be loved—a place where he would be safe.
Thousands of Others Vulnerable to Exploitation
Akmal’s story is, sadly, just one of the many thousands of stories of children left alone and abandoned. Abused and hurt without a cause, these precious ones don’t know God loves and values them.
Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported street children’s homes are for children such as these. Our brothers and sisters in Christ work tirelessly to care for each child and offer counseling to help them walk through their trauma. Most children at the homes have gone through very traumatic situations, like Akmal.
Please pray for these homes. Pray God will bring the fatherless, abandoned and outcast to a place they can call home.