In a disputed parcel of land situated in the capital city of Sri Lanka a sad tale unfolds of families deeply embroiled in the drug trade. An amalgam of religious identities has formed in this slum, brought together by one common purpose: to survive.
Colombo's slum is infamous for its residents' dependence on drugs to forge a living. Parents without steady jobs or a regular income are themselves addicted to drugs and spend every day negotiating, selling and supplying drugs and in so doing neglect their children whose ever watchful and curious eyes witness character traits and behavior that they ultimately – and unfortunately – learn to imitate.
Furthermore these parents have no money to send their children to school. Most of the slum's children are thus illiterate, cutting off the sole opportunity to lift them out of the desperate situation they are in. This is worsened by the presence of weapons and violent behavior in an area that deals in the dark world of the drug trade.
The terrible effect of this environment on children is threefold. Children, as vulnerable as they are, eventually are instructed by their parents and other adults to play the role of "delivery boys" and transport drugs to consumers; many children are abandoned by the incarceration of their parents and thus are forced to fend for themselves; and as noted above, the children inevitably model the behavior and priorities of the elders they are surrounded by.
All this makes for a dooming scenario for the children of Colombo's drug-dealing slum. And it is precisely in this area that Joyce Meyer Ministries' outreach arm Hand of Hope is delivering a healing alternative.
Akash* is a 9 year old boy from Colombo's slum and vividly remembers the day his parents were accused and imprisoned for selling drugs. Life turned upside down for Akash and his three siblings who were sent to live with his grandmother, a 60 year old unemployed woman who was too old to work or care for the children she was suddenly entrusted with.
Akash's sister was 10 years old at the time and he would watch her take care of their two month old baby brother, wishing there was something he could do to help.
One day while Akash and his brother were talking about how to survive their hunger, they stumbled across the Hand of Hope feeding center where smiling volunteers were serving plates filled with steaming hot, delicious food. They sat down and were served a healthy meal that instilled a sense of warmth and satisfaction in them that they hadn't felt since their parents were taken away and jailed.
Nowadays, Akash and his brother attend the Hand of Hope feeding center every day. Their health has improved, their weight has increased and they are hopeful about the future. At the feeding center the children are taught about living life on the right path. It is Hand of Hope's goal to not only provide children with nutritious food but to uplift them out of their darkness and into the merciful light of God's love.
Your partnership helps us reach into the depths of poverty and provide children with good health and education. Click here to partner with Hand of Hope today!
*Name changed for privacy