Nine-year-old Bhagya hated school. Between the shame imposed on her family because of her father’s drinking and her difficulty understanding and concentrating on her fourth-grade study materials, Bhagya didn’t want to go to school.
She frequently stayed home, her homework unfinished. In addition to poor school skills, Bhagya did not have good manners, and neither did her parents and siblings. But when Bhagya started attending her local Gospel for Asia (GFA World) Bridge of Hope center, she began improving not only in school but in life, too.
Bhagya’s family lived in a small house, shared by multiple families, located on a large tea estate where her parents worked. Her father, Malith, was a manual laborer, while her mother, Yasiru, picked tea leaves. They both worked hard, but the small amount of money they made was often used to feed Malith’s drinking habit rather than the family. When drunk, Malith would frequently beat his wife.
Embarrassed by her family’s difficulties, Bhagya was ready to give up on her studies, which saddened her mother. Yasiru wanted her daughter to be in a school environment where she would thrive, but she knew this desire would not be possible unless something changed.
Through a family friend, Yasiru learned about the Bridge of Hope center in their village. Interest peaked by what she heard from her friend, Yasiru immediately inquired how to admit Bhagya. What exactly would it take? When she learned the center did not cost money to attend, Yasiru was hopeful that this would be a solution for her daughter. She was even more relieved and excited when the center director informed her that all enrolled students received free school supplies, uniforms and a daily meal. Yasiru was confident that the Bridge of Hope center was the answer to Bhagya’s educational needs, and it wouldn’t further the family’s financial burden.
Building School and Life Skills
Upon enrollment, Bhagya was excited to receive her free school supplies, a uniform and shoes, and her parents were relieved their financial burdens would be reduced. Without the strain of paying for educational materials, Bhagya and her family experienced much more peace in their lives.
Bhagya learned history, math and English, and thanks to the personal attention and assistance from her Bridge of Hope teachers, Bhagya excelled in her schoolwork. With new confidence, she attended school regularly, finished her homework every day, and, most importantly, enjoyed her studies.
Through the influence and kindness of the teachers at Bridge of Hope, Bhagya improved not only her school skills, but also her life skills. She learned good manners and polite speech.
Bhagya also learned about the environment and how to care for God’s creation. She shared all she learned with her family, and through her influence, they began cleaning their house more regularly, storing their food properly and treating others with care and respect, which improved their relationships.
A Life Transformed
Bhagya is extremely grateful for the Bridge of Hope center. Inspired by how her life has changed through manners and better life skills thanks to the center, Bhagya’s life ambition is to become a police officer so she can teach others in her community how to respect the rules and live in peace and harmony.
“We faced a lot of problems earlier in the family,” Bhagya said, “but now God has given peace and joy to all of us.”