Instead of using my thumbprint, I want to be able to sign my signature,” said Remya. “I want to be able to read and write.”

Raji and Jasingh, two Gospel for Asia–supported missionaries, hold literacy classes for adults in their north Indian slum, and Remya is one of their students. This is the first time in her life she’s had any education.

In India, a thumbprint is used to sign legal documents if the person is unable to write. “Anguthachaap,” a derogatory nickname for illiterate people, is derived from thumbprint-signing.

“I want to write letters to my family,” said Remya, who has lived in this slum three years.

Knowing that literacy is a need in the slum community where they minister, Raji and Jasingh began teaching reading, writing and basic math.

“Right now, we have only ladies coming to the class,” Jasingh said. “Four or five men want to join the class, but they are not able to come because they are working.”

Not all the women are able to attend every class, as they have to work as well. About 15 women are learning to read.

“It’s not always possible to attend classes,” Remya explained. “Sometimes I have to go to the forest to get firewood. It’s three kilometers (about two miles) away from here.”

The two missionaries don’t only teach reading and writing. As with the other aspects of their ministry in the slum, Raji and Jasingh seek to show the people through action that they love them because of Jesus. Through the time they spend teaching literacy classes for people like Remya, they offer two valuable gifts: education and salvation.

“I want everyone in the colony to learn about Jesus,” Jasingh shared. “We are mainly teaching them to read and write so they can read the Bible.”

“These brothers are teaching us how to read and write,” said Swayam, another slum dweller who attends classes. “They also tell us about Jesus. I am beginning to know Jesus more and I am sure He is the Savior of my life. I want others to know that He alone can give life to us. I have learned this recently, but I want to know more so I can tell others.”

Read other stories about Raji and Jasingh’s ministry in this slum village.