As drought hits South India, livelihoods boosted through literacy

India (MNN) — South India is experiencing one of the worst droughts it has seen in decades. The failure of 2016’s rainy monsoon season is a contributing factor to the drought, and thousands of farmers and villagers are taking out loans to survive.

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India carries out ministry in the country, and Erik Morsehead with Mission India says rising summer temperatures exacerbate the situation. “It is bad. It can get upwards of 100-plus degrees each day.”

(Photo courtesy of Mission India)

In India, summer or pre-monsoon season lasts from April to June. So a drought in the heart of the summertime makes farmers and villagers that much more anxious for, hopefully, a refreshing monsoon season starting in July.

While everyone may be affected by the drought conditions at some level, some feel it more harshly than others. “The people who are impacted the most are those who are already downtrodden…in the economic side of things. Those in the top and the middle [classes], though, they do start to experience it over time as the drought and, in some cases, monsoons kind of wear on. They’ll start to experience it because food production and things like that get impacted.”

Thankfully, Mission India’s programs and outreaches are able to roll with the punches, because they work with local ministry leaders on the ground who aren’t strangers to India’s extreme conditions.

“We train people who live in these communities and understand these communities, and that also means they also understand the weather. As such, our partners, they adjust. They adjust when they run the different programs we have, they adjust how frequently they’re going to meet, they really work well within the communities [and] within the context they live.”

Additionally, Mission India’s programs such as their Adult Literacy Classes actually improve livelihoods — something that is critical during a drought season.

Adult Literacy Classes meet immediate needs, bring joy in Jesus and provide hope for a brighter future! (Caption, photo courtesy of Mission India via Facebook)

Morsehead explains, “They do a lot in Adult Literacy on microeconomics and education. So with those two things, coupled with the Gospel that we share,…and you have the context of where you live and you experience a drought, in some cases, these individuals can circumvent that drought and produce products that fill a need within the market.

“So it’s just a great thing that God has created with these Adult Literacy Classes, that these people, these adults who are attending these classes, they can experience life to a larger extent because they’re better-off economically. We’re just proud to see God use these programs to impact not only the spiritual side of these individuals, but also the social and economic side of things.”

Men and women attending Mission India’s Adult Literacy Classes are given personally invaluable tools. And there are two things you can do to encourage them as they seek to grow their quality of life through education in a Gospel context.

First, you can give! Click here to donate to Mission India as they provide these Adult Literacy Classes.

“When you make a gift of $30, even if you just did that once, a gift of $30 will sponsor an Adult Literacy student in an Adult Literacy Class for a full year. So, kind of to put that in context, $30 is not that much money to give an adult a chance to better themselves economically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s a very holistic approach.”

An Adult Literacy Class with Mission India. (Photo courtesy of Mission India via Facebook)

And second, please take the time today to pray for this outreach. Morsehead asks specifically, “Be praying for our partners who are in the midst of all this. They are making changes to the programs, assisting families that may need some extra help, so just be praying that they would have the energy and the courage to continue to work despite the conditions in which they work. And also, just be praying for the nation of India, and the drought that they’re in. Pray that those that are struggling in this drought, that they would find water, and they would find food, and the Church would come alongside them and be that support group.”

Pray also that India’s approaching monsoon season in July would see the needed rains to refresh agricultural livelihoods.