Jhola Children's Home
The Jhola Children’s Home is Helping Point’s most recent major project. It was established in Odisha to provide for families who had been victims of religious violence in 2008. These attacks were devastating and many Christian families were forced to flee their homes after their property was destroyed. Families battling poverty were left with no prospects, as the little they had was taken from them. Many lost friends and family in the violence and spent months hiding in the surrounding forests, trying to survive. While some government assistance was later offered to the survivors, in most cases it was not enough to allow these families to rebuild their lives and provide for their children.
The Jhola Children’s Home was founded based on Helping Point’s conviction that as Christians we are called to share in the suffering of our persecuted brothers and sisters. Jhola is a project designed to provide a home to children who lost their parents in the attacks, or whose parents are no longer able to adequately provide for them. There are currently twenty-five children, ranging in age from 5 to 15 years, living at the home, which operates out of a small church building and is run by the church pastor and his wife. The local government supports the project by providing the children with free education and textbooks at the nearest school. All of these children have witnessed a great deal of violence and lack any sense of stability in their lives. Jhola provides refuge for these children and demonstrates, through care and compassion, the love that Christ has for them. Helping Point’s vision goes beyond meeting the immediate physical needs of these children. Its vision is to restore to these children a sense of their dignity and self-worth in the eyes of their Creator. It is to teach them by word and example that Jesus has welcomed them into His kingdom and wants to bring transformation and healing to their lives.
St. Simon's School
St. Simon’s School, located in the state of Odisha, is Helping Point’s largest project. The school was founded in 2002 and works to meet the dire need for education in rural India. St. Simon’s School currently educates, feeds and cares for 130 children, ranging in age from 4-16 years, primarily from the “Dalit” (also known as “Untouchable") community. Many of the students come from poverty-stricken families who are unable to provide them with the basic necessities. Education, is widely recognized in India as one of the most necessary tools in the struggle against poverty. Helping Point’s vision for St. Simon’s School is to offer a systematic English education to underprivileged children, with the hope that it will help to lift them, and their families, out of extreme poverty.
A core goal for the school is to teach the children about God’s love through sound Bible teaching, daily prayer and worship. Through this teaching, Helping Point strives to raise up godly young men and women who can be leaders for their communities, eagerly showing Christ’s love to those around them.
Helping Point employs a team of dedicated staff members, many of who come from the same region themselves and are committed to serving the students’ holistic development. By hiring these individuals, who are uniquely equipped to navigate issues faced by these children and their families, Helping Point provides much-needed employment opportunities to rural Indian communities. Both the teachers and staff members strive to provide a safe and loving environment for the young students, where they can thrive, learn and grow in the love of Christ.
There are currently ten Helping Point Community Centres operating in small towns and villages across the states of Andhra-Pradesh and Odisha. The main purpose of the centres is to provide a higher quality of education for children who would otherwise have little chance to progress beyond primary education. In many of these regions, the local schools are underfunded and understaffed, making them poorly equipped to meet the needs of their communities. There is a need for adequate educational opportunities for children living in rural areas, in order to provide them with better job prospects for the future and to give them a chance to break out of the cycle of poverty. In some cases, children as young as six or seven-years-old are required to work, rather than attend school, in order to help support their families. While the Community Centres provide local children with increased access to education, they also seek to meet the physical needs of their students through regular meals and health check-ups, relieving families of some of the pressures they face on a daily basis.
The Helping Point Community Centres seek to function as a part of the community; the staff members live in the village and usually run the Centre out of their homes. They are continually building trust between peoples of different faiths, as the centers are often located in areas impacted by religious tension. Local people have been overwhelming thankful for the centres because of the hope that Helping Point is bringing to their communities. The Centres are a witness to Christ's love and care for all people
There are currently six Helping Point Churches operating in small towns and villages across the states of Andhra-Pradesh and Odisha. These churches are run by Helping Point staff members, who are local to the areas they serve and familiar with the needs of their communities. They seek to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to these communities through both word and deed. Each church holds a Sunday worship service as well as regular prayer meetings and frequent larger fellowship gatherings. Church leaders and members also seek to provide pastoral and material care to vulnerable members of the community, in particular those who are sick, widowed, orphaned, suffering loss, or crippled by poverty. While the primary goal of the church is to glorify Jesus Christ and see all people come to know him personally, people of all beliefs are welcomed and offered access to the resources of the church.
Run by Deepa Singh, wife to Helping Point founder, Bidyuta Singh, the Women’s Empowerment Program serves multiple communities across the states of Andhra-Pradesh and Odisha. Working closely with Helping Point churches, Deepa works to equip women to be leaders in their communities and to deepen their understanding of the Christian faith. She is passionate about sharing the message that all people are of equal value in the sight of God, particularly with those who feel marginalized in society due to the circumstances of their lives. Deepa is gifted in teaching the Bible and sharing about the power of God in her life and in the lives of others.
Women’s Empowerment Programs range from prayer meetings for a small group of pastors’ wives, to large group gatherings of women from multiple villages, to fellowship gatherings for widows. All of these programs have an important role in providing for the needs of the women Helping Point seeks to serve. Through the women’s initiatives, pastors’ wives have the opportunity to share in fellowship and be better equipped to understand and teach the Bible. Women from a variety of villages are able to meet and worship together and receive Biblical teaching, which is especially important in largely illiterate communities. Widows are given a place to share in their grief and to find comfort and help as many face an increased burden of material poverty with the loss of their husband.