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Spotlight on “Princess” Sivasankari

Because she’s so sweet and loving, the girls at Siloam Boarding Home in Tirukoilur, India, have started calling their caretaker Rasaththi — “Princess.” But that sweetness doesn’t mean Sivasankari’s life is carefree.

Sivasankari comes from a poor farming family. While her father earns money for the family by working as a cook in a hotel, her mother often needs medical attention for her diabetes, which Sivasankari helps with when she’s not also earning extra money for her family working as an agricultural laborer.

Sivasankari feels blessed that she continued to receive her salary all these months, and is looking forward to students returning to school where she can care for them with her heart.

Sivasankari was hired as a caretaker at Siloam in 2019, and has felt blessed even during the COVID-19 pandemic to be able to help students by packing dry food and by visiting local students through the “Children Our Focus” education program of the Arcot Lutheran Church.

The coronavirus has altered life for us all, including our school system and children. A physical classroom is a place of shared conversations and stories, games and debate, care and friendship, and love and inspiration.

Schools became more than just a place for learning for the children whose families face poverty. They also provide food and nutrition, psychological care and economic aid. And while the government has provided some distance learning, a 2017-18 national survey showed that less than 15% of rural Indian households had internet access, and less than 5% had computers.

Many girls have had to care for their family’s needs during this pandemic, facing tiresome household chores and resisting the pressure to marry early. Even as schools and boarding homes now begin to reopen, we are seeing a number of teenage girls — some as young as 14 — failing to return because they’ve been married.

With your sponsorship support, LPGM was able to provide emergency food rations, face masks and school supplies, and support for the “Children Our Focus” program that brought students together for outdoor, socially distanced education activities. Sivasankari and the other boarding home staff have also reached out directly to students by phone to check on them and provide psychological support throughout the year.

Sivasankari feels blessed that she continued to receive her salary all these months, and is looking forward to students returning to school where she can care for them with her heart. Even though the pandemic has affected everyone greatly, Rasaththi still leads a royal life with a bright smile.

Author Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry

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