Karpoor watched as dozens of his fellow tea garden workers plucked leaves under the blazing sun. The 40-year-old father of five saw, scattered amongst the verdant bushes, children of various ages working alongside their parents. Too poor to afford school, their children ran around the village or helped pick tea leaves. But Karpoor wanted more for his children; he wanted them in school. He wanted them to get what he never acquired: an education.
A Better Life Than His
Karpoor was illiterate. So were his wife and all five of their children. Despite huge leaps in adult literacy, South Asia contains 68 percent of all illiterate adults. Karpoor, who had never attended school, watched helplessly as his children followed in his footsteps. He loved his children very much and desired only the very best for them, but his earnings laboring in the tea fields weren’t enough to send them to school.
A Sliver of Hope
One Christmas season, Karpoor’s children were invited to a GFA Christmas program held at a church about 15 miles away. There, the children experienced church for the first time. Karpoor’s children loved it and wanted to go to the Sunday school.
Then, through a local villager, Karpoor heard of a literacy program held at the same church. Karpoor ventured to the church and asked the pastor if his children could join the literacy classes.
The pastor welcomed them, but there was a problem: Karpoor knew he wouldn’t be able to afford the frequent bus fare for his children to get the learning they needed. The pastor suggested Karpoor meet a missionary named Samhith, who led a small fellowship very close to Karpoor’s village.
Samhith immediately agreed to teach the children free of charge, much to Karpoor’s relief. In three months, three of Karpoor’s school-age children had learned to read and write.
And to Karpoor’s great joy, Samhith helped enroll them in a local school! Karpoor’s dream for his children was, at long last, realized.
Was there a chance Karpoor and his wife weren’t too old to learn? They wanted to be able to help their children in their studies if they could.
A Transformed Family
Karpoor and his wife asked Samhith if they could have an adult literacy class, and the missionary began hosting one in their home. Every weekend, Karpoor and his wife sat with other adults, learning to read and write. Through the classes, they also learned about Jesus and His vast love for them. They also saw how Christians exhibited great love to them and each other.
They asked their teacher if he could teach them about God.
As they studied, Karpoor slowly realized he was loved and cherished by God. Eventually, Karpoor decided to embrace God’s love. Karpoor’s wife and children, following his example, also decided to follow the Lord.
“I thank Lord Jesus for saving me and my family and giving us hope and joy through the adult literacy classes,” Karpoor said. “I especially thank God for the blessing He [gave] to educate and admit my children to the local government school.”
Read how literacy classes bless families in Asia.