For the last three years, 11-year-old Kalavati had worked alongside her mother, Bhama, trying to provide for their nearly destitute family. Other children played without many responsibilities, but Kalavati did not have that option.

July 2013

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When Kalavati was 8 years old, things took a turn for the worse when her father, Deval, lost the job that kept the family afloat. He did not, however, lose his job for any ordinary reason. One day someone performed witchcraft on him, causing him to become mentally disturbed. He not only stopped showing up for work, he disappeared altogether. His family did not hear from him, and nobody knew where he had gone.

Kalavati's family became increasingly worried as time went on. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and the months dragged on. A year went by, and the family had lost all hope of ever seeing him again.

Crazy Man Turns Out to be Father

During a walk through their village, Kalavati's mother stumbled upon a jarring scene: a crazed looking man, naked and alone, sitting under a tree. At first, she did not recognize the man with the long beard, but she soon realized it was Deval. She immediately took her husband back to his home, where he was greeted by a relieved and overjoyed family.

The relief and joy did not last long though, as the family realized Deval was still not in his right mind. They took him to the hospital for treatments but nothing helped. He was violent and no one could control him. He even began throwing stones at other villagers.

She Just Wanted to be Like Other Children

Hopeless Mother Turns to Suicide

Fed up, the people in the village forced the entire family to leave. Without a home or the support of neighbours, Kalavati's life grew more difficult. Her family set out for the big city, where Bhama hoped to find work.

For days, they lived and begged on the streets until Bhama found work as a maid at a farmhouse. The job did not, however, provide the relief the family desperately needed. Kalavati's mother worked day and night and still could not provide even two meals a day for the family. Kalavati helped her mother with laundry and cleaning utensils in the house, all the while seeing the home owner's children studying, and wishing she could do the same.

She Just Wanted to be Like Other Children

Bhama borrowed money from her employer to pay for Deval's continued treatment, but it offered no results.

Completely discouraged, she decided there was only one thing she could provide for her family: death. She would poison herself and the family so they would no longer have to face their ever-growing burdens.

Visitors Offer Prayer and Hope

Around this time, Bridge of Hope staff members visited the family. The whole family looked worn down, and Kalavati looked much older than her actual age because of the harsh conditions the family was living in. The staff members listened as Bhama shared with them that she did not believe there was a God, as well as her plans to end her life. They answered by telling her of Jesus and praying with the family.

Bhama began to rethink her belief that there was no God after her encounter with the believers. Deval began improving a little, and the only explanation Bhama could find was the believers' prayers. She went to the Bridge of Hope centre the following day to talk more with them and ask if they would enroll Kalavati.

She Just Wanted to be Like Other Children

Different from the Inside Out

The staff members admitted Kalavati, and she started attending the centre the very next week. Meanwhile, the staff members continued to ask God for Deval's healing and for Bhama to find stable work that would provide for her family's needs.

Gradually, the family was transformed by the love of Christ they were shown through the GFA World workers.

Kalavati now has ample opportunities to play and be free of heavy burdens. It is not uncommon to find her dancing with the other children or drawing pictures.

With the Bridge of Hope staff's help, Bhama found a stable gardening job at the local hospital, where Kalavati sometimes goes to help her—not because she has to anymore, but because she wants to.

She Just Wanted to be Like Other Children

Deval is improving little by little, too, and he is no longer aggressive or violent toward others. He eats meals with his wife and daughter and even attends church with the family, where they worship Jesus—the One who has saved them in every way.

Because of sponsors like you, GFA World’s Bridge of Hope ministry is able to reach out to families like Kalavati’s and share with them the hope found in Jesus Christ. Sponsor a child like Kalavati and change a family from the inside out.

*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are GFA stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.

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