Can you imagine being six years old and never having tasted an ice cream cone? Never once having drops of chocolate dribble down your chin and splatter onto your shirt, causing your mom’s eyes to almost shout aloud. Never once taking a bite out of the bottom of the cone and making a bigger mess on your shirt, causing even more problems.
How can this be?
Jagruti is a beautiful six-year old girl who lives in rural Maharashtra, India’s wealthiest state which borders on the Arabian Sea. The financial capital of India, Mumbai, and other large cities in Maharashtra swirl with activity from IBM, Microsoft, Honeywell, Volkswagen, Audi, GM, Fiat, Mercedes, Skoda, and other large international corporations.
Yet, Jagruti has never tasted an ice cream cone.
You see, Jagruti had the misfortune of being born to parents who are Dalits. And as a Dalit child, Jagruti is considered a subhuman, impure from birth, and worthy of nothing but contempt. She is one of the 300 million “Untouchables,” which means just that – no upper-caste person can touch her and she can not touch them. She is denied access to public wells and may be fined for drinking from a water fountain.
But still, it’s only an ice cream cone, can’t she have one?
Jagruti’s papa is a hard working laborer, but being a Dalit, only certain jobs are open to him. These include harvesting crops by hand or cleaning open-air toilets, latrines, and sewers with his bare hands. This backbreaking work will earn him a few rupees per day, barely enough to support his wife, a baby daughter, two sons, and Jagruti.
So, no money left over for luxuries like ice cream cones.
Jagruti is special child, especially to my wife and me, because we help support her through Gospel For Asia’s Bridge of Hope. The picture above is one she colored and sent to us from her village, nine thousand miles away. A work by Monet or Renoir could never hold a candle to a Jagruti original.
Just so you know: my wife and I have struggled financially. Yet, we support Jagruti, three other children, and plan on supporting more. How? We’ve learned God honors His word.
He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given. (Proverbs 19:17)
And pay backs from God are always more than enough.