Providing Health and Hope in the Tea Gardens

In an industry worth $49.46 billion, workers like Saham only make around $1.50 a day. Saham and many like him endure poverty and hardship, but for them, this work is all they have.

Tea Workers’ Plight

Saham worked on an tea estate that helps supply the global tea market. In 2019, Asia accounted for 60 percent of all global tea exported, with hundreds of tea estates dotting the fertile and humid belts of Asia. These estates, also known as tea gardens, employ hundreds, sometimes thousands, of workers.

Gospel for Asia, Medical Ministry

Like these workers, Saham labored among the tea shrubs.

As is common, the laborers typically lived on the estates. Entire families make their homes within sight of the tea shrubs. Day in and day out, these workers labor amid the tea bushes, barely making ends meet.

Hardship on Top of Hardship

One day, without warning, Saham’s tea garden closed for one year. Now he and the other workers had to fend for themselves; what little income they depended on was gone.

The tea gardens had been the only major institution of any sort in the surrounding area. There were no local hospitals, proper sanitation facilities or water facilities. Any sicknesses, ailments or injuries would have to be endured.

Saham suffered from multiple wounds on his legs. What he had earned went to finding healing, but nothing worked. And so, like the other workers around him, Saham bore his hurt, hoping for healing.

Medical Care for All

GFA-supported pastor Ekanpreet, a leader in this particular region, heard of this community’s plight. Having grown up on a tea garden, the pastor knew the struggle these people faced. Together with some local health officials and the local Women’s Fellowship, Pastor Ekanpreet arranged a medical camp in this area. By providing free health care and medicine, this camp would bring help to the locals.

Gospel for Asia, Medical Ministry

Saham was treated for free, just like this man. He gratefully owed nothing for the treatment and care he received at a GFA-supported medical camp.

Saham, hearing of the camp, decided to attend in hopes of treating the ever-worsening wounds on his leg. At the camp, the doctor provided Saham with some medicine. One of the ministers at the camp, Pastor Rutesh, met with Saham and shared his belief that God would heal Saham’s legs.

“I am very happy to come here and get treated free of cost,” Saham said. “Along with medicine, you people also prayed for my complete healing. … I believe that I will be healed very soon.”

At the end of the day, 280 people with various ailments and illnesses were treated. Saham and all the others who were seen at the medical camp were blessed and returned home with renewed hope amidst their trials. The tea gardens remained empty for many more months, until finally reopening. Saham and his fellow workers were able to return to their work and provide for themselves and their families.

Learn how a boy raised in the tea gardens found hope in his future.

*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are GFA stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.

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