Meet Arun. Arun grew up in the slums of Bangalore, India, packed in a little one-room house with his father, mother, brother and sister.
Arun woke up each morning not knowing whether there would food for the day. The effects of poverty were very real in his life.
Arun’s father, Chellakannan, worked as an auto driver and struggled to provide food for the family. Stretching the budget to meet their daily needs seemed hard enough, let alone educating the children!
The family was forced to survive on less than Rs. 2,500 per month (U.S.$50). Adding to the struggles, Arun’s father was an alcoholic. He seldom gave money to provide for the family needs. Oftentimes, he didn’t go to work. This resulted in frequent quarrels between Arun’s parents, destroying the family’s peace.
To make ends meet, Arun’s mother, Pushpalatha, sold old newspapers in exchange for a plate of food. She went without her own meals to feed her children, but at times all of them went to bed with hungry stomachs.
It was at this time that Arun was fortunate enough to be registered at one of our child development centers. Arun tells us,
“Initially I attended the development center just for a plate of food, hunger was so fierce.”
Arun’s future seemed gloomy. Despite scoring 82 percent in 12th grade, his parents’ income was barely sufficient to provide for their daily needs, let alone his education.
However, to his astonishment, Arun was selected for the Leadership Development Program. He was assured of attending university and earning his bachelor’s degree in business management. His entire fees were taken care by our Leadership Development Program.
Arun completed his degree and was named the best student of Baldwin Methodist College. Today, Arun is working at a reputable company while simultaneously pursuing a post-graduate certificate in management.
The Leadership Development Program taught Arun a great number of things. He learned about time management, Christian discipline and social awareness. Most importantly, Arun learned how a Christian must respond to contemporary issues…issues like corruption.
Speaking Out Against Corruption
Corruption is an issue that is at the forefront of India’s national poverty concerns. In some places in India, people are forced to bribe officers in the government office to get a death certificate. Among politicians, corruption is an everyday phenomenon.
Arun has given several speeches regarding corruption, and his thoughts on this issue are inspiring. He challenges others to stand up against corruption and make a difference in India.
“Many of us complain and blame corruption as a reason for poverty in India. But I want to ask a question — who is actually responsible for this?
“We simply cannot keep blaming others all through our life. We need to change ourselves. Stop bribing so that people will stop taking bribes. These days, many people doubt that you can succeed in life if you do not give bribes. But you can be the change you want in this world.”
As Christians, Arun believes that we need to witness Jesus through our lives. He reflects on his thoughts on curbing corruption and proclaims,
“Let my life speak and not just with words!”