High in the lush, green mountains of Manipur, a state in the northeast region of India, lies the village of Senvon. Accessible only by a winding, bumpy and unpaved road, or treacherous mountain footpaths, the tiny community is home to one of the first Christian schools planted in the area by a famous son — Dr. Rochunga Pudaite, known across the globe as “God’s Tribesman.”
Ro’s father, Chawnga, was one of five young men from Senvon, home of a fierce, headhunting Hmar tribe, and who responded to the Gospel message brought by a Welsh missionary in 1910. Transformed by the Good News of Jesus Christ, Chawnga roamed the hills of the region sharing the message with fellow tribesmen in village after village. His young son, Rochunga, was sent to school 96 miles away so he could learn to read and write, then to high school 300 miles away. His mission was clear: Ro would learn how to translate and bring the entire Bible to his people.
His pursuit of education eventually took him to Scotland, then Wheaton College in Illinois, at the invitation of Rev. Billy Graham. All the while he was learning the intricacies of God’s Word -- but realized the importance of education to the people of his Hmar tribe. He was determined to start schools in his home region, and did so after returning to India.
“One can transform a nation through education,” Ro believed. But he was convinced that the best education is one that is grounded in God’s Word, the Bible.
The first Christian school in the region was started by Ro in 1959 — the flagship that is still in operation today. Additional schools spread across the areas now known as Manipur, Mizoram and Assam. Finally, in 1960, Rochunga completed a translation of the New Testament into the language of his people.
While Rochunga’s heart was with his people in India, he also was convinced that everyone, everywhere, should have the opportunity to read God’s Word. The Lord gave him a vision to provide Bibles in people’s heart languages across the globe, particularly where God’s Word was scarce or even completely unavailable. Bibles For The World (BFTW) was born in 1973 to be a catalyst for individual and cultural transformation through Christ and the power of God’s Word.
Yet, Rochunga’s and his wife, Mawii’s, hearts were burdened for their people in India. Concerned about the availability of schools, and convinced that a Christian education is critical to Christian formation, the couple planted school after school across their home region. Serving children and families from a number of tribes, the literacy rate skyrocketed – and the number of Christians in the region grew dramatically. While the rest of India has a Christian population of about 2% of Indian citizens, the northeast region Christ-followers represent about 38% of the population!
As the number of schools planted grew to more than 50, Mawii Pudaite dreamed of making Christian education accessible to more and more children, to help them escape lives of certain poverty in remote villages. If we were able to find sponsors for children, she thought, so many more would receive the benefit of a Christ-centered education. Think what it would mean to their families...to their communities! “Partner Parents” — the child sponsorship program of Bibles For The World — was born and became a godsend to thousands of impoverished families living across northeast India.
Partner Parents have helped tens of thousands of young people — boys and girls from kindergarten through college age — receive a high-quality Christian education.
That is where this sponsorship program differs from so many others. While many programs provide church-based activities a few days per week, along with medical care and other help, Partner Parents is wholly oriented to Bible-based education. Sponsorship commitments, which start at just $34 monthly, provide students with full tuition, needed books and supplies, a uniform, shoes and belt, AND medical care. In some cases, room and board are also included, for students who live great distances from the nearest available school.
What has been the result? Across the 42 schools that Bibles For The World administers, more than 9,500 children and young people each year are able to enjoy a quality Christian education. That’s 42 villages, many, like Senvon, in very remote and difficult to reach regions where electricity and running water aren’t available — but Christ-centered education is impacting lives. BFTW’s schools and students perform exceptionally well in comparison to government run schools, receiving the highest marks for academic achievement. This despite many village schools that operate without electricity, running water, plumbing or, in many cases, desks for every student.
Children in such remote regions are no different than children in our culture. Most have dreams, hopes and aspirations to become teachers, nurses, doctors, pastors, missionaries, and even government officials. Thanks to thousands of Partner Parents in the US and Canada, thousands of sponsored children have achieved their aspirations. Besides Bible-based curriculum, BFTW’s schools emphasize giving back through lives of service — and many students have done just that, serving their communities (or other areas of India) in ways that help “lift” the quality of life for all.
While many child sponsorship programs offer opportunities to sponsor children in a variety of countries, Partner Parents focuses exclusively on northeast India. The tribal peoples there are descendants of the headhunting tribes that, only a century ago, terrorized British tea plantations and their workers. But, when the Gospel came to the Hmar people, it transformed them from headhunters to heart-hunters for Jesus Christ.
God gave Rochunga Pudaite a vision for not only translating the Bible for his people, but for educating generations of children as Christian citizens who could help transform the nation of India. To see that region of India grow in Christian population and biblical values is testimony to the power of that vision.
Bibles For The World’s Partner Parents program provides you with the opportunity to invest in the life of a young boy or girl in India who is eager to pursue a Christian education, but whose parents live in deep poverty. While we pray for sponsors for the thousands of students who are waiting, we know YOUR decision to become a Partner Parent will make an indelible impact on one young girl, or one young boy, helping transform them for eternity.
Become a Partner Parent today. Visit partnerparents.org to learn about the children who need your help, the villages where they live and the schools that are caring for them.