By: Brandy Campbell, with Adones Martinez in the Dominican Republic   |   Posted: March 04, 2009

School and Faith Combine to Steer Youths Out of Poverty

Daisy says that her tutor, Indhira, pictured at left, is more than a teacher. "She is like my sister and my best friend," says Daisy.

Daisy skips across the playground, a bright blue vest several sizes too big fluttering around her. "It's time to do your homework," the 13-year-old sings out to her classmates. She giggles as her tutor, Indhira, approaches her.

Daisy slips off the vest and hands it back to Indhira, who puts it on. "Daisy's right," Indhira tells the children with a smile. "Come inside and do your homework!" Daisy puts her hand in Indhira's, and together they walk toward the student center.

"I want to be just like you when I grow up," says Daisy. Indhira squeezes Daisy's hand, unable to speak because of the lump in her throat. Indhira knows of the dangers that lurk in the streets outside Daisy's home the drugs, gangs and violence.

She knows how many children are lost to that danger. And Indhira can only thank God that she gets to be a part of protecting children like Daisy from that world.

Protecting Daisy

Indhira has known Daisy since the girl was a baby. She watched Daisy's grandmother, Maria, take her in when Daisy's mother was unable to care for her. Indhira saw Maria struggle to feed and clothe her granddaughter.

She knew that, like most families in their community, Daisy often didn't get enough to eat. And she knew that when the child was sick, Maria couldn't afford to take her to the doctor. 

Most heartbreaking, Indhira knew that as Daisy grew older, Maria would have a harder time protecting her. There were so many dangerous traps for children like Daisy. Most children in their neighborhood drop out of school when funds for their education run out.

Boys join gangs. Girls marry gang members. How could Maria, a single, unemployed woman, guard her granddaughter from that world?

Ally Against Poverty

When Daisy was 6, Indhira told Maria about Compassion. Indhira had just begun working as a tutor at the Dios Proveera Student Center (DR-160). When she saw the hope in the children registered there, she thought immediately of Daisy.

Indhira helped Maria fill out the paperwork, and soon Daisy was registered. Over the past seven years, Indhira has watched Daisy grow from a timid child into a beautiful, outgoing teen.

At the center, Daisy, who has a learning disability, receives extra tutoring and help that her grandmother could never afford. Just this year she entered Indhira's tutoring group. "Indhira is my tutor, but I also see her as a friend and an older sister," says Daisy. "I want to be a doctor or architect when I grow up, but I also want to be like Indhira."

God's Important Role

At her home, Indhira has a folder full of pictures and notes from the children at the center, including several from Daisy. "I would get in trouble with them if I threw even one out," she says with a laugh.  But Indhira has no desire to throw out even one piece of paper.

Each represents a life released from poverty lives that Indhira has been blessed to be a part of. "I like to treat the children special, to hug them and love them," she says. "Many of them don't get that at home.

But most of all, I want them to see Jesus in me. Daisy and the other children have seen that God is important to me. And they have seen God do great things. I give all of the glory to God."

What did you like about this story?