A Reason to Serve

A Reason to Serve

By: Sumana Mani in India, with Brandy Campbell   |   Posted: November 17, 2008

A Mother's Love Helps Her Son Succeed

Saktivel has kept every photo and letter his sponsors sent him. "They are an encouragement to me," he says.

Vasanthi Gilbert, project coordinator at the Balar Kalvi Nilayam Child Development Center (IN645), still remembers the day she met Saktivel.

It was a hot afternoon and Vasanthi heard shouting outside of her office. She rushed outside to find a woman pleading with the center's cook.

The boy standing at the woman's side was filthy, and his ribs were clearly visible through his gray skin. This was Saktivel.

"I just need some food for my child," the woman begged. "My son hasn't eaten today. Please!"

Vasanthi nodded at the cook, who immediately filled a container with pasta and vegetables.

And as Vasanthi watched the mother and child hurry away, she made a promise that one day that boy
and his mother would no longer have to
beg for food.

Compassion doesn't just partner with churches. We also partner with parents mothers and fathers desperate to give their children a different life.

That afternoon, Vasanthi would begin a partnership with a fiercely determined mother who would do anything for her son.


Vasanthi asked around the community about Saktivel and his family. She learned that Kanchana, the boy's mother, had long dreamed of her son getting an education.

But her husband saw little value in education and refused to pay for his children's schooling.

"My mother desired for me to study and do well even better than the privileged children from the wealthy homes she worked in as a maid," says Saktivel.

"My parents often fought over this determination of my mother to give me the best education."


Kanchana knew her husband couldn't argue with a free education. So when Saktivel was 5, he was registered at the Compassion-assisted center and began attending kindergarten.

His father showed no interest in his oldest child's education. When Saktivel was in third grade, his father abandoned the family.

Saktivel says that after his father left his mother, the only other constant in the boy's life was the center. There, he was encouraged in his studies.

Without his father's negative influence, Saktivel's grades improved.

He enrolled in a computer class at the center, and when Saktivel graduated in 2004, he was hired at a technology company in town.

While 60 percent of those living in his community are unemployed, Saktivel now has a steady, dependable job.


Today, 21-year-old Saktivel rents a house that he shares with his mother and sister.

Inspired by her brother, Saktivel's younger sister is taking classes and dreams of one day attending college.

She is encouraged daily by her brother's faith by his promises that God will care for them.

"In all the years I have known Him, my God has never let me down," says Saktivel.

"I came to know the love of God while I was at the Balar Kalvi Nilayam Child Development Center. In all my life, I have learned that God is the only one who can truly care for me.

"Now, there is just one question I must ask myself every day. What can I do for God? He has done much for me. Now, I am serving Him in all I do."

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