The Child Survival Program in the tiny Hirola village near Dahod, India may not be vastly different from hundreds of other Compassion projects around the world, but to this community it is a powerful, unique and tangible demonstration of God’s provision, and an essential lifeline for mothers and their children.
Villagers in Hirola speak the Bhil language, which has no written form. They are classified as tribals by the government. They remain close knit and marry only within their community. They worship animistic spirits and believe sickness represents the spirits’ anger toward the people. Major illnesses are ignored by the family, and the member is left to die without any medical help. But many ailments are simply the result of insufficient food and malnutrition.
The village is a primitive agricultural community with no clean water, no sanitation, no electricity, no streets, no medical facilities, and no modern transportation. Abuse of arrack, their home-made alcohol, is commonplace. Understanding and practicing hygiene is absent from local customs. To discourage theft, a family’s animals are brought indoors at night to share the living quarters, contributing to a dangerous health environment for the entire family.
Yet in this desperate corner of India, the Spirit of God is moving through the CSP. CS-21 project workers take the village women to a nearby hospital for regular pre-natal and post-natal medical checkups. Most pregnant women in the project are anemic and underweight, so the project additionally provides iron tablets, tonics and calcium tablets, and pays the medical expenses.
Hepshiben Parmar, the project coordinator at Shalom CSP for Sharing Love Mission, elaborates on their duties. “Twice in a month we monitor the growth of fetus as well as the development of children. I am a qualified nurse and Mrs. Swetha, our Implementer, a qualified nurse trained to check the fetal heartbeat. If we find any variation than the normal level, immediately we take the mother to the hospital for further treatment. In spite of this, some abortions have taken place because pregnant women are forced to do heavy work in the fields.”
Demonstrating the powerful love of Jesus by serving the village families is the heart of the project’s mission. “Introducing Jesus in an appropriate way is our motive behind all our effort and duty. We pray before food distribution. When we go on a house visit we pray for the respective child. We teach them the importance of the true God and knowing God personally. We teach them how the love of God leads us to help others.” Parmar reflects.
“CSP deals with the most difficult and sensitive issues in this tribal area where many social evils are still rampant. In a community where giving birth to a girl child is considered a bane and where child care is negligent and taken for granted, CSP’s role is laudable and paving a way for healthy living and a prosperous community.”