Category: News

Jun
21

20th Anniversary Celebration in the USA

Equip Asia celebrated its 20th anniversary in the USA on June 3rd at Levant Wesleyan Church in Falconer, NY. As the 200+ friends and supporters took their seats they were greeted with a special 20th Anniversary commemorative magazine. Click here to see the pdf version.

Local musician Will Lowry played classical guitar, Indian style, as guest enjoyed a delicious Indian banquet prepared by Equip Asia co-founder Aruna Swauger and a host of volunteers.

 

John Owens, Equip Asia board member and General Manager of Blue Ridge Broadcasting (the radio station of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association), was MC for the evening and interspersed his fond memories of India with his comic whit honed during his days as the radio host of the “John and Denny Show,” a popular morning show of the region’s largest Christian radio station, the Family Life Network.

 

 

Equip Asia co-founder, Tim Swauger, kicked off the evening’s presentations describing the roots of Equip Asia in the  rural regions of South India. He explained that services for children with disabilities from the villages were virtually non-existent in the early 90’s and there were no physical therapists or rehabilitation centers. Though Equip Asia has helped to improve the situation in the region of its outreach since then there remains millions of people with disabilities without services in India and across the subcontinent.

 

 

Joni Eareckson Tada sent her greetings via video and shared a touching word of encouragement to the Equip Asia team and supporters. Click here to view Joni’s video greeting!

Elish Kanthi, Executive Director of Equip Asia’s ministry in India, provided an update on the outreach in India and shared inspiring stories of how God is using those touched by our services to bring transformation to their own communities.

 

Kimi Archer, Equip Asia board member and volunteer team leader of Joni and Friend’s Wheels for the World outreach to India, shared about her experiences working with Equip Asia’s team in India and the incredible fruit that has come from  Wheels for the World’s fifteen year partnership with Equip Asia distributing 2,688 wheelchairs!

John Owens wrapped up the evening with inspiring words encouraging attendees to invest in the mission of Equip Asia.

We were so encouraged by the turnout which went beyond expectation! Over $8,000 raised through the faithful support of patrons, sponsors and friends who attended the event. We could not have pulled it off without the involvement of dozens of volunteers, our friends at Sound Reinforcement and our the church family at Levant Wesleyan.

We look forward to all God has in the future as we stay the course in faithfulness to God’s call to reach children, families and communities struggling with disabilities in India and across the Indian subcontinent!


Jun
20

Help Start His Business…

Naresh-Need story.JPG

Naresh is from a small village. His family owns a small piece of land, where his parents and three siblings work hard to cultivate food grains. It is barely enough to support their needs.

Naresh was affected by polio at as a child and lost the use of both his legs.

In fact, he was bedridden till he was thirteen and so never crossed the threshold of any school.

He is shy and a man of few words as he was often left alone, all by himself. He had only his thoughts to communicate with. Though life for such a kid would normally seem very dull and bleak, he never felt so. And that is because of the wonderful friends God gave him. They were like stars in the dark night sky. They would visit him as often as possible and teach him to read and write in Kannada. They often taught him all that they learned in school.

Despite knowing how to read and write, Naresh often felt he was useless and good for nothing. Little did he know there was potential in him that could be harnessed for better use. One day he was introduced to Equip Asia staff at an assessment program in his village. He came to the Rehabilitation Center and after much counseling, agreed to join the Computer and English language course.

To our surprise he performed very well in the certification exams. He was encouraged to join for an advanced course in Desktop Publishing (DTP), which covers graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, Coreldraw, Pagemaker and a local, Indian language software.

Despite everyone’s skepticism in his village, he excelled as the best graphic designer.

Naresh also received a customized wheelchair from Equip Asia, which has increased his self esteem and confidence to move around independently.

Now that he has completed his DTP course, Naresh is eager to start a new venture in his own village as a graphic designer and lead a life that would not only benefit him but support his family too. He hopes to set up a training center to train other youth who are interested in learning graphic design for their livelihood.

To start Naresh’s new venture, he will need about $1,200 to purchase a computer, printer and an electricity backup system. If just 50 people donate just $25 Naresh’s business–and his new life–will be ready to start!


Jun
20

20th Anniversary Celebration in India

20th_Anniversary_Op_2

On May 20, 2017, Equip Asia celebrated 20 years of ministry outreach at the Rehabilitation Center in Hubli, India.

It was a time of remembering and celebrating God’s faithfulness towards our ministry for the past 20 years, serving the people with disabilities. Our hearts were filled with overwhelming joy as we looked back at the wonderful things God has done through us to impact the lives of thousands of youth and their families.

“Inspiration, Empowerment and Abundant Life” was the theme of the occasion, and it was demonstrated live as hundreds of people with disabilities from the nearby villages were present to witness the Equip Asia’s successful journey. The testimonies of the youth at the program brought tears to many eyes.  One youth shared, “It does not matter if we do not have legs, but praise God we have Equip Asia as a crutch for our lives!”

Our Chief guests, Dr. Malathi Holla (a para athlete, Padma Shri and Arjuna Award winner) and the CEO of the District Council graced the occasion, sharing their empowered lives as women in the Indian context. Dr. Holla uplifted the entire crowd and the Equip Asia team with her motivational speech.

The event also included cultural shows by our special youth with disabilities and HIV/AIDS. There was choreography and contemporary dance portraying the life of a disabled woman from abuse to abundant, empowered and inspiring life.

20th_ann-option3

The event also incorporated the inauguration of our inclusive school, a new venture of Equip Asia that will bring high-quality, inclusive education to children with and without disabilities.

The program inspired us to take up greater responsibility and commitment to venture out and do greater things in our community.

Together we could say, “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”


Jan
31

Blessing Camp at the Center

Blessing Camp.JPG
Our annual Blessing Camp for families and children affected with disabilities was held December 3-5, 2016 at our Centre. A total of 187 participants, including 34 children, participated in the camp.
 
Most of the  participants were from our Self Help Group (SHGs) in the villages we work in. The Blessing Camp is a platform for all the families from different villages and different castes to come together for fellowship. It’s purpose is to give the families an opportunity to discover the one true God take the responsibility of sharing God to their people group as families.
 
Topics covered included “Importance of Family and Marriage,” “Importance of Self Help Groups,” “Health and Hygiene,” and “Moral Values.” All the sessions were interactive allowing participants to ask questions and discover truths for themselves. Every day the participants had the opportunity to learn new songs about Christ.  We also had plenty of fun games, a video show, a talent show, a campfire, skits and more. It was so much fun!
 
“This camp has helped me to know who the real God of this universe is. I decided to give my life to Jesus,” says Smitha.
 
Twenty-two-year-old Smitha comes from a small village in our region. Because of her physical disability she became depressed. She had no peace.Our team invited her to the Blessing Camp and she attended with her mother. She had often heard about Jesus, but she thought that Jesus was a god only for Christians. But after attending the Blessing Camp she came to know why Jesus came to this world. She decided to give her life to Jesus. Smitha says, “I am very happy that I learned about human rights and attended Health and Hygiene trainings. I will try to practice what I have learned. “I want to pray for my family. And for the next camp I want to invite my other family members and friends,” she says. Praise God!

Jan
31

Wheelchair Distribution 2016

Wheelchair distribution held at the Rehabilitation Centre in December 2016
Our one-day wheelchair distribution turned out to be blessings, both for the beneficiaries and the volunteers involved in the program.
 
We distributed 21 wheelchairs, 4 walkers, nine sets of crutches and a cane to 35 persons with disabilities from our region and beyond. More than 100 people in attendance were touched by the story of Joni Eareckson Tada, as told by our volunteers. They were overjoyed with the aid they received and we are grateful for the provision of these mobility aids from Joni and Friends.
 
A few stories behind our recipients…
 
Ganesh.JPG
Sunil is a 16-year-old boy with a congenital syndrome. As he’s grown, he has lost control of limbs and is now bedridden. It used to be very difficult for his parents to carry him everywhere. We were able to give Sunil a paediatric wheelchair and do the necessary modifications to help him sit comfortably. The parents were also relieved and were happy. They also felt encouraged when the story of Joni was shared with them.
 
Lakshmi.JPG
Vishala is a 6-year-old girl with cerebral palsy. Her parents are daily wage labourers. They could not leave her alone at home so it used to be a real problem to carry her to their daily work sites. Vishala received a small wheelchair, sized and customized just for her. Her father was so relieved!

Dec
06

Nutrition Program 2016

nutrition-program

Equip Asia ran a nutrition program in a village in South India, which identified 29 children as malnourished.  Equip Asia worked with their mothers to teach them how to prevent malnutrition-caused disabling conditions and to show them how to cook nutritious meals with easily-found ingredients.  

After a general screening of 147 children, 29 children were identified as underweight and malnourished in a way that could lead to disabling conditions.

To prevent children from reaching this state, a one-day session was conducted by the local team to teach mothers about malnutrition. In this session, mothers were asked to share their concerns about their children.  Eleven of them expressed concern about being able to afford to take care of their children if they became ill.

An activity-based interactive session demonstrated that most of the illnesses mentioned could be prevented at home for just a few pennies.  All of the 22 mothers who had gathered there learned home-based care to protect their children from illnesses.

To learn more about good food, another five-day program was conducted in in the same village. During these five days, mothers learned the nutritive values of different foods that were locally available and how it was important to give nutritious food to the children. 

One mother testified, ”My son cried all the time, and I hardly slept because of him. I’ve been to the doctors, and they would give him some medicine, which he never liked, and he would throw up all the medicine.  But during these five days that I’ve been coming here, my son has been eating all the food that we made here; he played well and even slept through the night.  After two years, I’ve slept in peace.”


Dec
06

Wheels for the World 2016, North India

The Wheelchair Distribution (WCD) in North India was a successful partnership between the Wheels for the World team, the Equip Asia team, and the Broadwell Christian Hospital team.

The number of mobility aids distributed and people reached through the gospel are as follows:

  •      190 wheelchairs
  •      30 walkers                                   
  •      60 crutches
  •      09 canes

At least 634 people heard the gospel for the first time through the sharing of Joni Eareckson Tada’s story.

wheels-for-the-world-2016

This distribution saw many creative ideas flow as the wheelchairs were customized according to the particular needs of each individual, like in the story of Asif and Nagaraj.

Asif and Nagaraj, two brothers who came to the WCD, were both born with Dwarfism.

Their mother passed away from an unknown disease, leaving these children to the care of their father.  Caring for the two brothers has been a daily struggle for him. The situation has forced the children to beg at times to sustain themselves.

Mobility was a great concern to their father.  Asif could walk a little, but Nagaraj could only crawl, so their father had to carry them most of the time.  During the WCD, the team customized specialized wheelchairs according to their specific needs and provided them with a new means of mobility.

The team said it was great to see both of the brothers seated above the ground and propelling the wheelchairs on their own. Their father was incredibly overwhelmed to see this transformation.


Nov
01

The Gift of Mobility

A wheelchair recipient

A wheelchair recipient at the WFTW distribution in India, October 2016.

The 2016 wheelchair distribution with Joni and Friends in North India last month provided opportunities to bless hundreds of people struggling with disabilities. In all, 317 wheelchairs, walkers and crutches were distributed!

One such opportunity was the young lady at the right whose heartrending experience left all desirous to help. She was born without a forearm and leg. Her left knee has a permanent contracture that will not allow her to bend her leg. She has crawled on the ground all her life and never had any rehabilitation to improve her condition!

The Wheels for the World team of Joni and Friends blessed her with a customized wheelchair that she can propel on her own. She received it with joy!

Like this Christ is using His people from India, America and around the world to bless the least and make His name famous among those who believe the disabled are cursed by the gods.

We’re excited to say this curse becomes a blessing when the Good News of Christ is allowed to permeate, for the first time, unreached communities through the Gift of Mobility.


Aug
03

Aruna’s June 2016 Trip Highlights

aruna trip 1

Visit with Prema

Aruna visits with Prema (name changed), a 28 year old young woman with post-paralysis in both legs that has forced her to crawl wherever she goes. In spite of this disability God is using her among women, children and young men in her village. When Aruna visited, a large group of women descended on the home and testified how Jesus ministered to them through the humble ministry and prayerful life of Prema.

Prema runs a house church in her village that gathers every evening at 8pm for fasting and praying. Once a week they gather for a Discovery Bible Study. Since the group is increasing they will soon divide into two house churches! In the picture to the right, aruna trip 2Prema (far right) is seated with a young woman (far left) who had a harrowing experience in a temple that attempted to free her from demon possession through torture! Prema asked the lady’s mother (seated in the back) to bring her daughter for prayer in Jesus’ name. When she came for prayer she was finally freed and is now attending Prema’s house church.

Visit with Manjula

aruna trip 3In another village, Aruna visited a women’s group lead by a visually impaired woman named Manjula (name changed). This is one of three groups started by her in the village!

They reported an interesting story to Aruna: children attending the group with their mothers had learned songs about Jesus and were singing them at their village school. A teacher questioned why they were singing to Jesus and told them to stop. When the mothers heard this news they were concerned. Since teachers have a higher status than these illiterate housewives they would normally feel shy to confront the teacher. But they gathered their courage and went and spoke with her.

The mom’s testified to the teacher how Jesus was bringing healing into their lives and families. One testified how her husband left alcohol. Their faith so impressed the teacher she shared with them that her husband was also an alcoholic and asked that they pray for him.

Going Viral with Village Kidsaruna trip 4

One of the amazing offshoots of the house churches started by these young men and women with disabilities is their children’s ministries! Aruna visited two house churches that have begun reaching out to the children from their neighborhoods. Soon after school they come running to hear the stories of Jesus!

Aruna also had the opportunity to visit with many more families, our differently-abled artisans, the students at the rehabilitation center and our ministry board and leadership. But the highlight were these house churches where God is using young men and women with disabilities–people underestimated in their communities–to witness so fruitfully to the light of Christ and His kingdom. That indicates not only a huge transformation in their own lives but that it’s having a ripple effect impacting the lives of others in their communities!