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Ministries

Gypsy & Tribal Empowerment

One of the first ministries Harvest Bridge supported was Gypsy and Tribal Empowerment (GATE). Started in the South Indian city of Chennai by our partner Priya*, GATE reaches gypsy and tribal peoples with the Gospel and demonstrates Christ’s love through holistic community development initiatives. Gypsies and tribals, generally considered to be below the lowest castes in India’s social hierarchy, suffer from inadequate housing, low-paying jobs and poor nutrition. This is because they are not viewed as fully human nor as full citizens by the government. GATE’s work includes helping these communities gain civil rights – helping them access land, education, job training, and proper water and electricity. 

Twenty gypsy and tribal communities, consisting of about 2,000 households, are served through GATE’s 13 local missionaries and volunteers. 13 years ago, in those 20 communities, the number of children in school could have been counted on one hand. Today, 75% of the children were attending school prior to COVID-19. Since 2008, 70% of the people have accepted Christ in the three main villages where GATE works. 

Give directly to the Gypsy and Tribal Empowerment fund:

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Ministries

Women’s Empowerment & Social Enterprise

We assist local ministries in establishing vocational programs, including job training and support for micro-enterprises. 

A women’s empowerment program provides one-time investments to equip extremely poor women and their families with the skills, productive assets, and social support necessary to increase their incomes and escape poverty. The responsibility is always in the hands of each woman. They know their needs and talents best. They know what is best for their families. Sometimes that knowledge comes after some trial and error, and they have the flexibility to change what vocation they choose.

The women who are chosen to receive support are all classified as ultra poor – living below $1.25 a day. In each country with these programs, a coordinator for the projects helps the women as issues arise, so they never have to walk alone. The total cost of any of our women’s empowerment projects are $600. Each woman receives $540 and the additional $60 is to cover local and international administration.  Regardless of what vocation a woman chooses – weaving, pig raising, cooking, etc. – we pair the business item and training with additional funds to help with whatever a woman’s most urgent needs are. For example, covering their children’s school fees for several months, or helping with medical bills, or house rent for part of the year, etc. It depends on a woman’s specific needs. 

One of the reasons we provide these additional funds, is that we, and other organizations and experts, have found that without the additional help these projects typically fall flat very quickly. As soon as a family emergency happens, or there are sudden school fees, or a woman is pregnant, etc. the loom, pig, cooking supplies, etc. will often be sold for desperately needed cash if they haven’t already begun to get a profit from their work. By providing for these additional needs, the women can use those funds instead of using the business item. It also means that the first profits from selling their products can more quickly go towards savings, instead of all going to basic necessities like food or medical treatment. 

Give directly to Women’s Empowerment & Social Enterprise:

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Ministries

Hope Through Education & Family/Child Sponsorship

Only 10% of the estimated 140 million orphans around the world have actually lost both parents. Worldwide, orphanages are full of children who have families who love them, but cannot care for them. Whether that’s a single parent or extended family members or a community that they grew up in. However, as money – especially international money – is poured into orphanages instead of families, many families are forced into the decision to send their child to an orphanage where they can be fed and receive education and get medical care. 

The local leaders we work know the unique challenges these families and children face. Therefore, the approach to helping these children is diverse. In some cases, children’s homes provide a temporary place for  a child to safely live and study and get the food they need. We support three such children’s homes. These homes provide children not only with the food and shelter necessary for survival, but with emotional support, education, and a spiritual foundation to serve them throughout their lives. Children are always able to visit and communicate with their parents or extended community if they are true orphans, and also return home permanently. 

However, the vast majority of children in poverty can stay with their families, if they receive assistance for their education. Asian nations are modernizing, creating new opportunities for well-educated and technologically savvy young people. But what about the poorest of the poor? Without schooling, these children face futures of hard manual labor at unlivable wages, begging, or crime.

For only $50, we can equip a child with remedial education, training in hygiene, and the school supplies they need to enter school and complete their first year. We’ve had the joy of seeing children replace low expectations with dreams of becoming engineers, businessmen, teachers and doctors. Many parents, seeing the benefits to their kids, are learning the value of education and making sacrifices to pay for children to continue schooling after the first year. Some children even come home and teach their parents what they’ve learned! 

The children newly enrolled in school sometimes need help to succeed because they missed earlier grades, their parents are illiterate and cannot help them, and/or they live in conditions not conducive to studying. This led to our School Success program. For about $25 per month, churches are able to make their facilities available as study centers in the evening. Church members serve as tutors. On average, between 350-500 children attend these programs regularly each year.

Give directly to help families and children:

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Ministries

Disaster Relief & Rehabilitation

Not only do our partners face natural disasters, violence, and political upheaval, they are ready to respond to these circumstances on behalf of others. When a disaster hits, our partners develop a plan to provide relief, and we supply financial resources through our emergency funds or grants from other organizations. Whether an earthquake in Nepal, flooding in Pakistan or a cyclone in India, or a global pandemic, our partners are dedicated to serving others. 

Our relief efforts typically provide emergency assistance to the hardest-hit areas and most overlooked groups, with the goal of helping families get back on their feet and resume healthy lives. Our partners also train communities to prepare effectively for future disasters. In 2020, in the face of both COVID-19 food shortages and severe flooding, over 4,280 families – about 21,400 men, women, and children received between one week’s and one month’s worth of food and personal protective supplies through distribution led by our local leaders. 

Through disaster relief and preparedness projects, we have seen age-old ethnic prejudices subside and sometimes disappear. Relief efforts have also fostered goodwill in many communities, opening doors wide for the Gospel.

Give directly to our disaster relief fund:

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Ministries

Pastor & Missionary Sponsorship

Using our extensive network, Harvest Bridge identifies local missionaries who are doing ministry throughout South Asia. Whether they minister in a city of 20 million or a village of 100, the men and women we work with recognize the need for every person to hear the Gospel.

Many work among unreached people groups (UPGs). They know what it costs to follow Christ, and they can honestly tell their own people that following Jesus is worth it. That it is worth being beaten, worth being denied basic necessities, worth being rejected by family. That He is worth it.

Over 210 pastors and missionaries receive modest levels of monthly support through our efforts, not including grants we make for other ministry and persecution response purposes to dozens of other Christian leaders in the region. 

Give directly to our Hope through Education fund:

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Ministries

Pastor Training

Perhaps the single greatest need in the church worldwide is for trained leaders to shepherd the growing number of people coming to vital Christian faith.

This need is especially acute in countries where many pastors cannot afford formal education. In India, several thousands local pastors and missionaries have been trained through regional conferences or seminaries. 

Country to country, we support locally led pastor and lay church leader training through connecting them to training resources. In many countries, we are blessed to come alongside church planting trainers who are trusted to lead by organizations like The Timothy Initiative and several denominations. We encourage collaboration with other ministries to cultivate accountability, teachability, church unity, and respect.

Give directly to pastor training: