When widowed “Ayaru” heard that there was help for her from Barnabas Fund to buy school clothes and other back-to-school items for her son she thanked God and said, “Now I’ll buy trousers for my son so that he won’t go to school in torn clothes. The Lord provided everything!”
Ayaru had prayed for help as she patched her eldest son’s torn trousers and washed his once white shirt, now yellow with age. As the eldest of her three sons, “Maxim”, prepared to return to school for a new term, she asked God for a job to raise money for the school clothes and other essentials her growing son desperately needed.
Providing back-to-school clothes and other items can be an impossible challenge
In Ayaru’s village in Kazakhstan it is difficult for Christians to find work. Most local employers are Muslim and will only employ other Muslims. Muslim-background Christians like Ayaru struggle to meet basic day-to-day family needs and even to feed their children. Providing back-to-school clothes and other items can be an impossible challenge.
Kyrgyz grandmother, “Lydia”, is raising her three grandchildren supported only by her meagre monthly pension of £33 ($40; €36). This year her two oldest grandchildren are going to school for the first time. It should be a happy occasion, but Lydia could not afford to buy them uniforms or even pencils. She told us all she could do is “pray and wait on help from God”.
Larger families with three or more children, widows and those caring for elderly relatives especially struggle with the additional burden of back-to-school costs
The “Niyazov” family live in Tajikistan, one of the poorest Central Asian countries and, like most Christian families, they have a low income. Getting five school-age children, including a foster child, ready for school leaves the family with no option but to go into debt each year, especially as the school the children attend requires an expensive uniform.
Just as the family contemplated this difficult choice again, their pastor told them they would get help from Barnabas this year. "It’s as if the mountain fell from my shoulders," were the words of “Daler”, the children’s grateful father, who was overjoyed that this time all his children will have the uniforms and other supplies they need for school.
Back-to-school time is a joyful time for many parents and grandparents, who love to buy new clothes, schoolbags and other items to make sure their children or grandchildren have everything they need. But for many persecuted and marginalised Christians in Central Asia it is a time of pressure and distress because they simply cannot afford to cover these extra costs.
Will you help to restore their joy and send their children to school with the new clothes, uniforms and other basic items they will need for their studies?
Just £23 ($28; €25) will provide a typical school pack that includes school uniform, shoes, sports kit, schoolbag, exercise books, pens and pencils, ruler and other stationary items.
It will cost £32,000 ($39,000; €35,000) to send basic school packs that include uniforms, shoes, schoolbags and stationary items to 1,423 Christian children.