Gospel for Asia launched its "Hope to Forgotten Ones" Christmas campaign last week in an effort to save thousands of Asia's poorest children from a life of misery – through sharing the gift of Jesus Christ's "love and hope."
Gospel for Asia, the missionary agency founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan, seeks to minimize the tens of millions of children living under unspeakable neglect on the streets of South Asia and to rescue the most destitute from a life of misery and hopelessness.
"The reality is that Asia's unwanted and forgotten children want love and hope far more than anything else this Christmas, and we can give them the wonderful, heartwarming gift of hope," Yohannan expressed in a press release.
Undermining children's worth
Children who have been repeatedly abused, rejected by their parents and abandoned to fend for themselves are considered the "unwanted" children of Asia – a growing population of youth subjected to crippling poverty … with many having to scavenge through heaps of rat-infested garbage to find food after working exhaustive hours in sweatshops under dangerous work conditions for just pennies a day.
"While most children across the West excitedly unwrap their gifts this Christmas, millions of children in Asia will spend Christmas Day like every other day – rummaging through the trash for scraps of food or recyclable metals," Yohannan informed. "We may not be able to help every unwanted or exploited child, but we can help one, and every single child helped is a child precious in the eyes of God."
The 40-year-old Christian ministry started its Bridge of Hope outreach in 2004 to help victims of the devastating tsunami that hit the south shores of India and Bangladesh – when hundreds of thousands were swept away to their deaths … and today, it continues to bring meaning and worth to destitute children in the region.
"Can you imagine how a boy or girl feels when they realize they're not 'human garbage,' but that someone actually cares enough to help them?" Yohannan pondered. "So many children living in poverty in Asia are prime candidates for exploitation, forced labor in brick kilns and factories or sexual slavery. Their circumstances have taught them not to expect anything good in life – only drudgery and rejection."
The ministry aims to touch at least half a million young lives, hoping its Christian outreach can fund thousands of unsponsored children on its waiting list this Christmas so those as young as seven years old can be rescued from long hours of hard labor and attend local Bridge of Hope centers where they can study and play with friends.
"We've seen thousands of children … experience a life of hope and promise – and we rejoice," Yohannan shared. "As we celebrate the birth of Christ our Savior this Christmas, let's remember those unwanted and forgotten children who are waiting to experience God's love through us."
Tens of thousands have already been blessed through the ministry.
"Bridge of Hope child sponsorship gives more than 70,000 needy children a daily meal and regular medical checkups for their physical health and development," the Bridge of Hope website states. "The program helps the children with their education so they can one day get a good job and afford sufficient food, decent clothing, medical supplies and other necessities of life for themselves and for their families."
A more dangerous world for girls
From the womb to their early adult years, girls in many parts of South Asia are targets of extermination and oppression.
A couple years back on October 11, the United Nations used the International Day of the Girl Child to make the world more aware of the "challenges girls face and to promote girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights," according to a GFA blog published in October 2017 on Patheos.com.
It mentioned how girls across the globe not only experience higher levels of physical and sexual violence, but are much more likely to be illiterate than boys.
One father living in South Asia was quoted expressing how his family wanted to get rid of their newborn daughter, who they considered a disgrace.
"If it's possible, you kill her," one father expressed, according to the blog, which noted how preborn girls are frequent targets of infanticide.