Kamal grew up in a rickshaw puller’s community. His father ferried passengers on a tricycle rickshaw to earn money for the household. They had a large family, with two of his uncles, one aunt and grandparents living with them in a small, one-roomed thatched home.
“My father was the only one earning because my grandparents were old and my uncles were still too young to start earning.”
It was difficult for Kamal’s father to send Kamal and his two siblings to school. Kamal had a dream beyond the world of a rickshaw puller. He wanted to become a minister of God, but the financial need in his home was far more real than his dream.
Seeing his father toil hard every day to bring home enough to feed everyone, Kamal had almost given up his dream and was going to follow in his father’s footsteps. It was then that a door of opportunity opened for him.
Kamal enrolled in our Child Sponsorship Program in 1991 at the age of 10. The program was called the Family Helper Project.
At that time, the sponsorship program was run differently than it is today. Kamal used to go to the center headquarters in Kolkata with his father to collect money that came from the sponsor once a month. The center staff would guide them on how to spend the money on Kamal’s education, for his needs in school and also for his development.
The Family Helper Project was different from the current child development centers in India, where children come to the center every day for a few hours. Kamal would come to the center every Saturday to give an account of what he did throughout the month, the challenges he faced, and he also learned about the love of God through spiritual activities like praise and worship and scripture study.
Kamal was born into a Christian home, but he did not know God until he enrolled in the sponsorship program. There was no family prayer at his home. He learned about the love and purpose of God from the staff at the center.
“I stayed away from Sunday school … was reluctant to read the scripture, pray and even come to church on Sundays, but my life began to change gradually …. I got a sponsor who was a pastor and cared for me and my future.”
In 2002 just before graduating from the Family Helper Project, Kamal got an opportunity to pursue a short-term course with help from Compassion. He decided to pursue social worker’s training in Allahabad.
He spent a year learning how God wanted him to minister to the broken hearted by walking close to their lives. He saw poverty and people living in tents beside garbage dumps without any proper shelter. It reminded him of God’s goodness in his life and how he was blessed because of his sponsor.
After coming back from the training, he expressed his vision to the church center and that he wanted to serve God by ministering to the children and teaching them about His love. God honored Kamal’s commitment and blessed him with the job of a social worker at the center.
Today, Kamal lives by example and inspires young children and older ones at the center to be faithful to God’s calling and to understand the essence of sponsorship. He translates letters for little children, helps them to write quality letters to their sponsors, visits children and their families in their home, and counsels them and teaches them to walk in the fear of God.
Children look up to Kamal with respect and hope to follow in his footsteps because of the life and testimony he carries to people around him who still don’t know God.
Kamal is happily married to Shabnam and they have two children. He is able to bring them up in the fear of God that he learned. Kamal takes joy in his work as a social worker. He enjoys spending time with children and their families as it helps him to relive the struggles that he once went through as a child.
“I am living God’s dream in my life today because of my sponsor’s love, affection and prayer for me. I learned to walk close with Him and God gave me a dream of reaching out to more children and broken hearts by being a social worker.”