GFA World: Helping the Poor
Worldwide, 736 million people live below the poverty line, earning $1.90 a day or less.1 These men, women and children often lack basic necessities such as clean water, sanitation facilities and health care. Frequently entrenched in generational poverty, these families often struggle for survival and have little hope of rising out of their poverty. Fortunately, organizations such as GFA World are helping the poor, meeting practical needs and empowering impoverished families in places such as Asia and Africa to overcome the cycle of poverty.
GFA World has been serving the “least of these” since 1979. Through national missionaries, GFA World ministers in places where no one else is serving. They seek out the forsaken and downtrodden, sharing Christ’s love and serving as His hands and feet to people in need.
In many areas where GFA missionaries serve, widows are the outcasts of society with limited options economically. The UN estimates that of the 285 million widows in the world, more than 115 million live in deep poverty.2 Often rejected by even their own families, widows frequently bear a stigma that hinders their ability to earn income.3 As a result, they often struggle to feed themselves and their children. GFA World helps these widows with things such as vocational training and income-generating gifts, which enable these precious women to work from their own homes and earn a sustainable living, as well as with practical items such as blankets and mosquito nets they can’t afford on their own.
GFA missionaries are also involved in community development. Living within the communities they serve, GFA missionaries have unique insight into people’s needs.
They often work with local governments to provide clean water, sanitation, health care and disaster relief. They also pray with people and organize literacy classes, sharing the tangible love of Christ that can also empower them to improve their lives.
According to the World Bank, one of the best ways to help the poor is by providing clean water to rural villages.4 Clean water protects local residents from a host of waterborne diseases, such as typhoid, polio, cholera, dysentery and diarrhea, and improves overall health. This health helps people thrive rather than being hindered by frequent sickness that affects adults’ ability to work and children’s ability to study. Clean water can save lives.
GFA World has witnessed the impact of clean water on communities in need. More than 38 million people have received safe, pure drinking water through GFA World’s clean water initiatives.
For Vimal’s village, a Jesus Well ended a water crisis that had caused dissension, disease and even death.5 For Ragnar, his four children constantly battled sickness because of the unclean water they were forced to drink.6 They were at risk of becoming some of the estimated 85,700 children who die every year from diarrhea linked to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.7 Then their village received a Jesus Well. Now they are protected from waterborne diseases, and their health has greatly improved. GFA World also provides BioSand water filters in areas where there is ample water, but it is unsafe to drink.
One powerful way GFA World is helping the poor is through its child sponsorship program. Many families in the areas GFA serves are entrenched in a generational cycle of poverty. GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program helps break this cycle by focusing on the next generation, providing the foundation children need to build a better future for themselves and their communities. The program provides basic necessities, which alleviates families’ financial burdens, and educational assistance to empower children to reach their God-given potential.
For Venita, the daughter of an alcoholic daily wage laborer in Asia, future prospects were bleak.8 The young girl seemed destined to repeat her family’s cycle of poverty. She attended school, but her studies were hindered by lack of proper materials and support.
At the age of 8, however, Venita entered GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program, and her life’s trajectory began to shift. Suddenly she had proper materials, academic support and opportunities previously unavailable. With the support and guidance of program staff, Venita not only completed 12th grade but went on to earn her bachelor’s degree. Now she tutors children, helping them acquire the tools they need to succeed and impacting her community.
GFA missionaries also help impoverished families through income generating gifts such as sewing machines, goats, cows, chickens and fishing nets.
These gifts enable families to earn sustainable income and better provide for their families. They can even empower families to break the cycle of poverty.
Leena and her husband, Ahanu, struggled to feed their family.9 Ahanu’s job cleaning private buses earned a meager income that barely covered essentials. Leena longed to contribute to the family income so they could better provide for their children. Then she participated in a free tailoring class offered by GFA missionaries, who also gifted her with her own sewing machine. With these tools, Leena’s dream to feed her family and offer her children a better future could become reality.
These are just a few examples of how GFA World is helping the poor. GFA missionaries are impacting entire communities in the name and love of Christ.
1 “Poverty.” The World Bank. https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/overview. Accessed August 5, 2021.
2 “Statement: Widows’ rights to independent life and livelihood after loss.” UN Women. https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2017/6/statement-un-women-international-widows-day. June 21, 2017.
3 Walker, Ken. “Widows Face Uphill Battle After Losing Spouses.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/special-report/widows-worldwide-face-tragedy-discrimination/#plight-of-widows. September 14, 2020.
4 Wydick, Bruce. “Evaluating the Best Ways to Give to the Poor.” World Bank. https://blogs.worldbank.org/impactevaluations/evaluating-the-best-ways-to-give-to-the-poor-guest-post-by-bruce-wydick. February 27, 2012.
5 “Jesus Well Relieves Water Crisis.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/gfa-world-jesus-well-relieves-water-crisis/. March 2019.
6 “A Family’s Fight Against Contaminated Water.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/a-familys-fight-against-contaminated-water-wfr21-03/. February 2021.
7 “More children killed by unsafe water, than bullets, says UNICEF chief.” United Nations. https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/03/1035171. March 21, 2019.
8 “Finding Her True Destiny.” REJOICE: Gospel for Asia Newsletter. https://gfa-newsletter.org/issue/18/5/finding-her-true-destiny/. August 2021.
9 “Overcoming Poverty: A Dream to Feed Her Children.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/overcoming-poverty-a-dream-to-feed-her-children-wfr21-05/. Accessed November 2, 2021.