Menka grew up knowing she needed to be strong and independent.
As a child, she worked full days from the age of 9, rather than going to school so that she could contribute money to the family income. She married early, the son of a family friend, and together they had two sons.
Ten years into marriage, when her beautiful boys were still small, Menka’s husband got injured at work and started to drink heavily. Their simple home life quickly changed, and their one-bedroom hut became a place of hurt and fear. He began to abuse her and their children verbally and physically, sometimes even throwing her out of their home for being ‘weak.’ Finally, one night, he forced Menka and the kids out of their house and burned it to the ground.
This is when Menka knew she needed to use that fierce, independent strength she spent a lifetime learning. She hand-built a small hut with bamboo and straw for them to live in, and she took on some hard, agricultural day work. She saved as much as possible and eventually bought three goats to use for milk. Sometimes, Menka still struggles to have enough money to feed her family. She does what other strong moms do. She goes hungry, so her kids can eat.
Our clinic staff met Menka several months ago when they were on a visit to her village.
Our nurses found her lying in her hut with a high fever. She was too weak from malnutrition and sickness to walk the few kilometers to the doctor. Our staff treated the fever, gave her some food to revive her weary bones, and quickly got her to our clinic. And that’s where tests confirmed she was suffering from malaria.
She found healing and wholeness.
We call our healthcare workers “Community Healthcare Workers,” CHWs for short. They don’t just heal sicknesses, they provide community support, and that community support turned the entire trajectory of Menka’s life. She has learned she doesn’t always have to do everything alone, that there are people who want to help and to be her friend. With regular visits to the clinic, Menka and her children are becoming stronger and stronger. CHWs even help with food when money is tight.
This is healthcare that heals.
Menka has finally found people worthy of trust, and is able to enjoy life and loving on her kids. She recently asked the CHWs why they took so much care with her and treat her so well. She had never known people to show so much love and compassion. Simple: to our CHWs, she is precious to God.
Want to help us expand our network of Community Healthcare Workers? YOUR support empowers our doctors and nurses to continue reaching rural areas in India with a message of dignity and worth, and with the tangible tools to impact their health and wellbeing.
Stories are real, all names and photos have been changed for protection, and are representative.