Health Practices and Self-Worth for Women in Rural India
Suman, a young wife and mother, stood dignified in her shimmering red sari with black and gold stripes. “I suffered in shame over my illness for a long time,” she says. “I took various medicines but did not get any better. I did not know what to do.” Desiring wholeness but plagued by her longstanding illness, Suman suffered silently for years.
Traditional beliefs in India, dominated by Hinduism, hold that women are inferior to men. Thus, women end up carrying a heavier burden of poverty, especially when it comes to health issues. This leads to neglect of daughters, higher rates of malnourishment among girls and higher abortion rates of female babies. Women like Suman think any suffering they face is justified and must be endured.
Since 2016, World Poverty Solutions has partnered to help free women in northern India through biblical truth and practical help. It began when two Christian Indian women trained in community health evangelism reached out to local women in four small communities. Friendship and trust deepened, and the local women opened up about life problems. This allowed the trainers to introduce Women’s Cycle of Life, a program designed by nurses to bring health and hope to impoverished women. It begins with the biblical concept that both men and women are created in God’s image with inherent worth and dignity. It also focuses on marriage, pregnancy, motherhood, nutrition and women’s health issues.
The women had never been allowed to speak of their longtime health challenges. But a common thread emerged from their trusting conversations: Nearly 80 percent of the women throughout the communities silently endured a treatable reproductive disease called leukorrhea. The new training helped them identify several unhygienic practices that may have caused the condition. The trainers then coached them in sustainable methods of personal self-care.
Suman attests, “I practiced all of what I learned from you. Today I am completely fine! We are getting to know our bodies and how wonderfully God has created us.” The training multiplies as older women pass on what they learn to younger ones. It has been so effective that 90 percent of women in the four communities have experienced physical improvement.
Please pray these precious women will continue to grasp the depth of God’s love for them. If you would like to help, please use our secure online donation form. And thank you for helping free those in bondage, through the loving care of their heavenly Father!