The Apostle Paul declares in his letter to the church at Colossae that those who belong to Christ know the joy of their sin debt having been paid in full.
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14).
Barnabas Aid’s debt repayment programme for Pakistani brick-kiln workers is therefore a wonderful picture of what every believer has received in Christ.
Brick-kiln workers are low paid and families live at survival level. If someone falls sick, or another family crisis occurs, they have to take a loan from their employer, the brick-kiln owner.
Interest on the loan is then deducted from their weekly wages and this can go on for years, even generations. The families are forced to try to subsist on reduced wages and, as long as the debt remains, they are bonded to the brick kiln, unable to leave and get another job. It’s almost like slavery.
Since Barnabas Aid began the programme of repaying loans and freeing Christians from their indebtedness and bonded labour, a total of 1,575 brick-kiln families have been released.
Barnabas helps freed brick-kiln families by providing lessons in how to maintain family budgets. We also support more than 40 primary schools and five adult literacy classes, all specifically for Christian brick-kiln families. Monthly food parcels are given to families in particular need. We also fund mobile health clinics that bring free medical treatment and health care advice to Christian brick-kiln families.
Perhaps most wonderfully, many of the freed families have voluntarily and joyfully set aside a small portion of their wages, low as they are, to donate to a “revolving loan fund” which is used to repay the debts of other bonded Christian labourers. Having been desperately poor, helpless and dependent for so long, the freed families are thrilled to be in a position to help other believers.
However, thousands more are still struggling in bonded labour. If you would like to make a gift, please direct your donation to our Pakistani Christian Brick-Kiln Workers Fund.