Born into a poor family of six children, Pradip is a Leadership Development Program student from one of East India’s rural villages. He has a heart to serve the poor.
It has been a long journey and growing up has not been easy for Pradip. His biological mother died when he was 5 months old and his father, Safedlal remarried to ensure someone was there to care for his five children.
Safedlal worked as a day laborer to support his large family. It was not a steady job and he often had to look for other income opportunities.
Pradip experienced poverty up close and personal throughout his childhood. He walked barefoot to school, as his father could not buy him shoes. He did not have notebooks and pencils and often borrowed them from his friends. And, he had one set of clothes that he would wash every day to wear to school.
After school, Pradip helped his siblings with household chores. He studied under the light of a gas lamp in the evening because they had no electricity, and for dinner, the family shared a few pieces of bread. Often the family went without food for several days.
But Pradip was a good student and his father was quick to notice that. Pradip’s family are believers, and through the help of their local church, Safedlal was able to enroll him at the ministry-assisted hostel.
Life at the hostel taught Pradip discipline, timeliness and how to be sensitive to other children’s needs. He made many friends, though in the beginning it was difficult for him to adjust.
During school holidays Pradip would go home to visit but he lived at the hostel until he finished high school. We encouraged him to enroll in our Leadership Development Program because he was good academically and was seen as potential leader.
It was a proud moment for Pradip when the students list for the Leadership Development Program was published.
“I was overjoyed when I heard I have made it into the Leadership Development Program. It was my dream and God answered my prayer.”
Now, in his third year of the program, Pradip gives tuition-free classes to children in his village. It reflects his heart for those living in poverty. He has not forgotten his roots.
The challenges he faced growing up helps him to identify with struggles of children in his community.
In the village where Pradip’s parents live, there is no separate room for him to study. There is no electricity in the house, which makes it difficult for him to complete his course assignments. So, Pradip and his friend, Rahul, another Leadership Development Program student, rent a room in town.
He takes a 15-minute bicycle ride every morning to his village, where he spends two hours tutoring the children in math, science and english.
Although these children attend school, they could not even write their name. They were undisciplined and played around in the village streets. Pradip decided to reach out to them because,
“I wanted to share the blessing I got through Compassion with children who do not have that opportunity. Besides, it gives me joy to teach them as I see my childhood in them.”
Children enjoy their time with Pradip because he makes their learning interesting with jokes and stories from the Bible.
The children Pradip has been tutoring since have improved in their studies. In the recent annual exam, all children passed. Four children ranked first and three ranked second in their respective classes.
Pradip says he owes a lot to his father who enrolled him at the hostel and his parents feel a sense of pride because Pradip is the first from their family to study at a university.
Active at his church, Padip conducts junior church for the youth. He is also part of the worship team and started a youth group that ministers God’s Word to people in his village.
He feels God’s calling in his life is to transform his community, and he is working toward that every day. He is sure that God has called him and is preparing him to be a true godly leader.