Parents can’t afford to buy their children clothing.
“All I can do is just tell [my children], ‘This time I am not able to buy your clothes. Maybe next coming Christmas, I will buy some dress,’” says Mudit, father of six.
Wives are sent away to find work.
“I am barely able to buy food for my children. That was one of the reasons why I had to send my wife to [the city],” says Bhavin, father of three. “As a domestic help she has gone there so she can send us some money, and at least we can maintain the family.”
People have no restroom facilities.
“We used to go out in the open in the tea garden. That is the practice here,” says Iniyavan, a tea garden labourer. “There is lots of inconvenience when you have ladies at home, when you have children at home. For them, going to the toilet in the open, it’s not very good . . .”
Fathers suddenly vanish when the burden of caring for the family becomes too much.
“I have seen . . . the father, the head of the family, all of a sudden left the home and gone elsewhere,” says Pastor Ekanpreet, a GFA-supported pastor serving in the area. “Once the man leaves the home, he never returns or nobody hears anything about that man.”
Young boys and girls grow up thinking drugs, alcohol and promiscuity are a normal way of life.
“People here tend to live a morally loose type of life,” Ekanpreet says. “They do not think much about ethical values or moral values in their lives.”
Pastor Ekanpreet grew up facing these same struggles.
“I lived a very worldly life,” he says. “I used to drink. I used to smoke. I did every worldly thing that a person who doesn’t know the Lord does. … I even told my wife, ‘Look, now we have two children. The money that I make from labour work, from the tea garden, is not sufficient. You sell wine and drinks at home so we can make a better living.’”
But then Ekanpreet came to know Jesus. After nearly dying from a sickness, Ekanpreet devoted his life to serving the Lord, who healed him. He left the tea estate to pursue life in ministry, but the tea-estate life was never far from his mind.