Soon afterward, a World Vision-run children's club in Sohail, India, received 15 young goats to distribute among the village's most financially destitute families.
When Paritosh, 10, became a member of the children's club, he didn't realize how important it would become to his family or his education.
Paritosh lives with his parents and younger sister in a run-down hut with broken fences and crumbling mud walls in this remote area of India's West Bengal state, near the border with Bangladesh. The family's meager wages barely sustain their daily basic needs, so fixing their hut isn't a top priority. And they aren't the only ones struggling.
As the entire village economy has taken a dip in the past four years, families like Paritosh's have turned into debtors — owing more than they can earn in a year. With Sohail's economy suffering, many of the men have left their village in search of jobs in the city, leaving their children and wives at home.
Out of 180 families in Sohail, only six individuals have completed high school. In this village, and many villages around the country, day-to-day survival was the priority, not education. According to UNICEF, India has an adult literacy rate of just 61 percent. But times are changing.
Since World Vision began working here, villagers have come to understand the importance of educating their children. This trend is catching on around the country, as India's youth are improving upon previous generations with an average literacy rate of 76 percent. In an increasingly global economy, education is seen as a ticket to opportunity and financial prosperity. More and more children in India are going to primary school and even attending high school.
"The need for food and children's education are our must-haves," Paritosh's father says. He sees the value of an education and wants his children to stay in school, but this priority often comes at a price. Paritosh's parents sometimes sacrifice their dinner in order to pay the children's school fees.
>> Praise the Lord for generous donors who purchase gifts for people they've never met through World Vision's Gift Catalog. Thank God that Paritosh's family has a source of financial support to help him reach his full potential.
>> Use World Vision's Gift Catalog to purchase a goat or other item for a family in need. You can make a difference for a child like Paritosh.
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