Even as a doe-eyed child playing in the dust of her village, Prinyanka was considered part of an untouchable caste. Because of her family’s lack of resources, education, and social standing, she had little hope or opportunity for schooling or work outside of field laborer. For her, being untouchable would mean a lifetime of rejection and hard labor, with opportunities miserly guarded by karma, the belief that prior life actions determine status in life now.
Today, an operating room technician hands Priyanka a sterile blue towel to dry her just washed, ready-for-surgery, hands. Priyanka is part of a surgery team at the Mission Hospital in India, operated by Central India Christian Mission. After putting on her gloves, she prepares the instruments and medicines to be used in today’s surgery, a hernia repair. Her healing hands are no longer considered the polluting touch of an untouchable; she assists doctors treating all people, regardless of social class.
When just a child, Priyanka was afforded the opportunity to go to school by the Children’s Fund Program that CICM operates. It provides children with school uniforms, educational expenses and even daily food. And later, at the urging of both Ajai and Indu Lall, founders of CICM, Priyanka decided to attend the nursing school, also operated by CICM. “I decided to become a nurse so that I could return and help my village people. From my childhood I have seen so many diseases…that inspired me to go and do the nursing training course and come back to my village to serve my people.”
Once a week, Priyanka leaves her work at the gleaming Mission Hospital and returns to her childhood village. Her crisp, light-colored nurse’s uniform stands in stark contrast to the colorful, flowing saris of the village women as she stops to take blood pressure, hand out cold medicine, distribute vitamins or give general health advice. She says that God has helped her fulfill her vision — to help the people of her village. “I am serving my Lord Jesus Christ through my capabilities and my education. I am no longer considered untouchable.” And, she adds with a slight shy smile, “I am getting a good young man, from a good background. I am getting engaged to him and getting married very soon.”
Call to action: If you would like to support other children through the Children’s Fund Program and give them an opportunity at education or support the Nurses College click HERE.
All photographs ©Copyright Gary S. Chapman
(Nikon D4, 24-70mm f2.8 @24mm, 1/400 sec, f2.8, ISO 1250)
(Nikon D4, 24-70mm f2.8 @32mm, 1/250 sec, f2.8, ISO 3200)
(Nikon D4, 24-70mm f2.8 @24mm, 1/500 sec, f2.8, ISO 3200)
(Nikon D4, 24-70mm f2.8 @56mm, 1/1000 sec, f2.8, ISO 125)
(Nikon D4, 24-70mm f2.8 @70mm, 1/320 sec, f2.8, ISO 100)