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Pursuing Education through the Pandemic

Feb 16 2022

As a church we able to partner with like-minded non-profit organisations across the globe in an effort to bring care and justice to vulnerable groups. One such organisation is Vision Rescue, who works to assist and empower people to find their purpose, enjoy their rights, and live with dignity. Not only do Vision Rescue work to bring educational pathways to children living in the slums of Mumbai, they also work to empower parents by providing training for vocational skills to promote financial independence.  

Umekulsum’s Story 

Six-year-old Umekulsum lives with her mother and brothers in a small makeshift hutment in one of the poorest slum communities in Mumbai. Her father passed away a few years ago and her mother couldn’t bear the loss. 

Living in the financial capital of the country, it was difficult to survive without the sole breadwinner of the family. Umekulsum’s brothers took up the responsibility of earning for them. Umekulsum’s eldest brother had completed his high school education. But instead of pursuing a professional degree, he took up work as a building security guard to ensure that Umekulsum and her mother had some financial support.   

Two decades ago, Umekulsum’s father had moved to Mumbai with his family to earn a living. Living in unauthorised settlements, they’re deprived of basic government facilities such as water, sanitation, and electricity. To get these simple necessities, they pay hefty charges to private dealers. It was vital that Umekulsum’s brothers found work for the family to survive. His job has kept their family of five afloat since their father’s death. 

Umekulsum joined a Vision Rescue Learning Centre inside her slum in 2019. Your support reached out to her with hearty nutritious meals every weekday, stationery, regular health check-ups, and dental assessments, educational material, and much more.  

But when the pandemic hit the country in 2020, all these services ended abruptly. Umekulsum no longer received her rich daily nutritious meal. Her brother lost his job, and their hand-to-mouth existence became worse. The family felt the absence of their father like never before. They fell many months behind on their meagre rent, and Umekulsum no longer had access to education. It looked like all the progress they’d made since their father died was being undone by the pandemic. 

In the early days of the pandemic, the Vision Rescue community of supporters rallied around Umekulsum’s family. When they struggled for food, donations enabled them to get monthly groceries to their doorstep every month of the pandemic. Hope came into their home thanks to support from people like you.   

A few months later, Vision Rescue began online classes for children who had access to a working smartphone at home. Thankfully Umekulsum could join online. She completed the last academic year online and is onboard for this one too. 

Over 300 children in her slum community are now a part of the Learning Centre online classes. While schools have remained shut for over 600 days now, these precious children have been able to sustain their education because of your donations. While many other children in their community have either dropped out of school, migrated back to their hometowns, or fallen prey to labour for survival, your support has ensured the safety and security of Umekulsum and her classmates.  

Find out more about Vision Rescue and our other partners.  

Give to Vision Rescue through the Hillsong Foundation.