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Priya JeyaramanPriya Jeyaraman is a typical 12th grade student. Her family is dalit, which means that in the India caste system—which has been outlawed for decades, but is still very influential—they’re considered the lowest of the low. Dalits haven’t historically been allowed to own land, weren’t given access to quality education, and therefore didn’t have opportunities for well-paying jobs. Priya’s parents harvest sugarcane for modest wages.

In Priya’s home village, the local school only goes up to the eighth grade. If Priya were to study beyond that, she’d need to walk two kilometers through sugarcane fields to reach the nearest secondary school. It’s common for girls Priya’s age to face theft and sexual assault on such walks.

Thanks to Priya’s sponsor, she was able to live in a safe, nurturing environment and attend school at Siloam Boarding Home. She graduated in April and hopes to attend university to become a bank manager.

What will happen to Priya, and girls like her, after she graduates?

Sponsors often ask that question.

In a previous newsletter, Pastor Julie Rogness told a story about the moving experience she had in India when 42 young graduates from Siloam came to visit and share their stories.

I, too, am moved hearing about their successful careers as teachers, nurses, professionals, and professors!

Earlier this year, LPGM’s field coordinators at Siloam and Saron boarding homes reached out to last year’s graduates to find out what they’re currently doing. Are they able to attend college or university? If so, what are they studying? If not, then what?

Of the 51 students (out of 70) we were able to contact, 39 of them are in either a bachelor’s degree or engineering program at a university!

Sponsors like you make this possible! While there’s more work to do getting students all the way through 12th grade, there is clearly great success to celebrate.

Sponsor a Student like Priya

Author Dan Ruth

Dan Ruth is the executive director of LPGM and an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

More posts by Dan Ruth