India: Rescued from a lifetime of rejection

Ghansobai carries straw to the family water buffalo.

Ghansobai dances with village friends.

Ghansobai washes the family's dishes.

Ghansobai and her father, Garib, wait for a follow-up examine at the Mission Hospital.

Neighbors in her rural Madhya Pradesh village of 700 would have nothing to do with Ghansobai. Born with a cleft lip and palate, Ghansobai, 11, was ostracized in her village. Her neighbors blamed her horrible disfigurement on a curse by the gods for sins in a past life. Children were forbidden to play with her. Mothers refused to let her draw water from the public well. She was constantly ridiculed, the target of cruel words and abandonment.

“We were really concerned about my daughter,” lamented her father Garib. “What will her future be like? Will she be able to get married? Will she be able to lead a normal life? Will people always make fun of her?”

He spoke of the turning point, “One of my relatives works at the train station. While working, he found a pamphlet announcing a cleft palate clinic.” Garib took his daughter to the clinic sponsored by Central India Christian Mission and the LEAP Foundation three years ago. And three years later, after three surgeries, he now declares his daughter healed. “She is healed and now my daughter is beautiful. I feel like God himself has come down and healed my daughter.”

“We saw the love and heart of these doctors and we were filled with joy. The love these doctors have shown to us…no one , even in our village was willing to show that kind of love.”

“Before we had a misconception about Christianity. We were told by our elders that these people are not good. After receiving the love and compassion from these doctors, our view is completely transformed. Now we know that Christianity is all about showing love and compassion.”

Garib sums up his present joy. “After the surgery, the entire village is her friend.”

Call to action: The medical specialists with LEAP Foundation are real heroes to these children. Check out their work as they partner with Central India Christian Mission to restore lives.

All Photographs copyright Gary S. Chapman



(Nikon D4, 24mm f1.4, 1/1000 sec, f2, ISO 2000)

(Nikon D4, 24mm f1.4, 1/640 sec, f2, ISO 3200)

(Nikon D4, 24mm f1.4, 1/500 sec, f2, ISO 1000)

(Nikon D4, 24mm f1.4, 1/100 sec, f1.4, ISO 800)


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