Stories & News
Paarul: Discrimination, Determination, and Breakthrough
It’s hard to fathom, but to this day in India, families are often seen as being cursed when they give birth to a little girl. Sadly, those little girls grow up facing constant opposition and lacking opportunity. Paarul was one of them.
Her freedom was snatched from her the day she was born. Her family held close to generations’ worth of beliefs that she was “less than” because of her gender.
As a young girl, she longed for an education, but her parents feared what the response would be from their community and never allowed her to go to school.
So, she spent her childhood as a poor girl doing household chores.
When she was 19, she married a daily laborer, and they now have three children together—one daughter and two sons.
After giving birth to her daughter, Paarul was faced with the same discrimination that she endured as a child. The villagers said Paarul was cursed.
Eleven days after her daughter’s birth, Paarul participated in a naming ceremony, common in India’s culture, and named her daughter “Asis,” meaning “blessings.” The villagers all laughed at her, but she took the insults as motivation to do something great for her children.
She later enrolled all of her children in a good school and faced pushback yet again. Her in-laws disagreed with their own granddaughter being educated! But Paarul pressed on yet again, insisting to her in-laws that all her children were equal and deserved the best life possible.
Paarul was so happy to see her children growing and learning. But over time, her own lack of education weighed on her. It was during this time that she met Adult Literacy teacher Aardhya, who invited her to join the local Adult Literacy Class. Paarul was eager to fulfill her childhood dream of gaining an education!
When she started to attend, Paarul was mocked by her in-laws. But just like she’d done throughout her life, Paarul persevered, disregarding their harsh words.
Lessons she learned in the Literacy Class came at just the right time. Paarul soon faced financial hardship, and Aardhya was able to encourage her to find a job—even though Paarul’s family didn’t believe women should work. And as she gained literacy skills in the class, Paarul found employment!
Paarul has gone against all odds to live a life she’d only dreamed of. The final thing standing between Paarul and a true life of freedom is belief in Jesus. She has learned about Him through her Adult Literacy Class—would you pray that she responds by receiving Him as her Savior soon?
- Ask God to change the hearts of those discriminating against women and girls in India.
- Pray that women and girls in India would have opportunities to be courageous and follow their dreams, especially through Adult Literacy Classes.
- While Paarul faced opposition because of her gender, others in India are facing opposition for following Jesus. This fall, join us in a study—combining videos, devotionals, and prayer guides—to learn about the persecution our brothers and sisters face. Click here to learn more and sign up.