Free Clinics and Distributions Bring 'Expressions of Hope' to Marginalized Asian Communities
World Health Day focus on depression prompts caring 'not forgotten' visits by GFA-supported teams
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WILLS POINT, Texas, April 26, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ -- Impoverished families who pick through trash to make a meager living were given a tangible "expression of hope" as GFA (Gospel for Asia) teams marked World Health Day recently with a series of special programs.
Free check-ups and medicines, mosquito nets and packets of fruit were offered to people in marginalized communities across different parts of Asia visited by teams that included doctors and nurses and gave health awareness presentations encouraging better hygiene. Many of those assisted live in slum areas with no access to clean water, and have to search through garbage to find things to use or sell.
Photo: Villagers gather for a health awareness presentation by GFA-supported workers who also offered free medical checkups as part of a World Health Day visitation program.
The events—held in slum areas, schools, and hospitals—were intended to be a practical demonstration of hope, said GFA founder and director K.P. Yohannan. "We wanted to bring awareness about some simple things people can do to significantly improve their health," he said. "Through these expressions of hope—acts of care and concern—we seek to let these precious people know that they are not forgotten, that they are loved and valued by others and by God."
One visit took volunteers to a slum area community where many are addicted to drugs and alcohol, sickness prevails, and children are married as young as 10. "We love you all because God loves you," the leader of the group told those who attended the health awareness presentation, which was followed by a free clinic. "We want you all to stay healthy."
One of those who participated said: "The program was a great blessing for us. They really love underprivileged people like us."
Another visit saw GFA-supported workers offer health awareness lessons at a hospital, distributing fruit packets and mosquito nets to guard against malaria. One of the doctors said that it was the first time he knew of anyone ever bringing gifts for poor patients there. "Though it is a small gift, it is useful and precious for them," he said.
There was a similar response when a GFA-supported group ran a free medical camp in a slum community elsewhere. "No one has ever come to help poor people like us, but you have done a great job," said one resident. "We are thankful for your care and concern towards us."
For one woman, the free medical help she received was a crucial ray of hope. A cyst on her breast had left her in such pain that "I have thought of ending my life several times," she said. "Thank you so much for conducting this medical camp—it's a great help to me and many people who are living without hope."
In another location, a GFA team visited a recently opened hospital to clean and tidy storage rooms and surrounding areas of the building where garbage was collecting. One of the volunteers who is sick herself said she was glad to be part of the effort: "I know the difficulties of another sick person, therefore I am very happy to serve in this way by providing a clean and hygienic atmosphere for them in the hospital."
GFA-supported health programs and visits go on year-round, Yohannan noted. "But we are grateful we were able to offer these special services on World Health Day. For so many people living in difficult circumstances, it is understandable many can face discouragement and depression. We hope these tangible acts of love demonstrated to them that there is hope, and that God has not forgotten them."
GFA (Gospel for Asia) has – for more than 30 years -- provided humanitarian assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially among those who have yet to hear the Good News. Last year, this included more than 75,000 sponsored children, free medical services for more than 180,000 people, 6,000 wells drilled, 11,000 water filters installed, Christmas presents for more than 400,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry.
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