Category: Stories


When the Empowered Empower


Come with me as I take you to meet women of Equip Asia’s targeted villages.

Women all over the world have similar struggles, handled in different ways. Women are the hardest working people – often taking care of the home, a husband, children, and working. They strike a beautiful harmony of balance, playing multiple roles and making it look so easy.   

I met a lot of women in the villages that Equip Asia works in, and I had one question to ask everybody: When does your day start and what do you do all day?

Every woman had similar answers but different expressions: some giggled and smiled, while some had a serious and thoughtful look. “Our day starts at 4:00 in the morning…we start with making breakfast. Then we clean, wash, send the children to school, cook lunch, send lunch to the people working in the fields…or take that lunch to the people working in fields…or work in the fields with the rest of the family. Then came the care for the cattle, chickens, and other animals, and soon it’s evening and it’s time to cook again.” 

Then my next question is: “When do you spend time for yourselves or with your children?” There were no answers–only giggles and a weird look at me.

This made me think about women’s empowerment. We see women in big cities on par with men in all spheres. We see them independent, confident, having an identity, and proving their fullest potentials. But that is one side of the coin; the flip side of the coin Equip Asia came across in the villages is that women–especially the girls, the youth, and the young mothers–are deprived of  acceptance, deprived of love, and not considered in the decision-making, or even given a listening ear to their opinions, their dreams, their desires. Women still feel unaccepted, un-respected, unsafe and snubbed. Women are still victimized by a vicious cycle of abuse, fear and exploitation, and they still suffer forced child marriages. 

Equip Asia’s focus on empowering women with disabilities or HIV/AIDS is just one small aspect of making every girl and woman we work with feel safe and valued. We want them to experience the liberty and freedom intended by God for every one of them.

It is believed that if women are strong, the children are strong, their families are strong, the communities are stronger – basically, everything around them gets better and stronger. 

To see stronger communities, Equip Asia focuses on building awareness among young girls and women with disabilities, equipping them with skills through training, education, counseling, medical interventions, and small business loans. We establish sustainable livelihood groups among women where they are trained on self-care, childcare, income generation, women’s rights, savings techniques, and much more.

With Equip Asia’s Inclusive Community Transformation (ICT) initiative working in 43 villages for the last two years, we have seen women  who were never allowed to come out of their homes, living in the lies of the devil that they were good for nothing, believing in their Karma, living a defeated life in silence. This was even more among women with disabilities.  

Equip Asia’s initiative has helped them to recognise their potential. They see their training opening a new world of opportunities to pursue their dreams and leading to social and economic development. Health care programs help women take strong steps to protect their children and themselves from infections and diseases. Sustainable livelihood groups (SLGs) give them a platform to voice their problems and stand up for their rights, inspiring other women as well. 

Along with socio-economic initiatives, the Equip Asia team makes every effort to introduce Christ in every visit. Every opportunity is taken to pray, to share a parable, to replace the lies with the truth that sets them free. When women are happy — there is happiness all around!

“I feel women are empowered when the empowered empower.”


News in Brief and Prayer Requests

  • School bag distribution
  • Tailoring training camp
  • Discipleship training camp

Children with disabilities also wanted to start their new academic school year with new bags and other essentials like their able-bodied peers. This need was shared with our local friends and organizations. An overwhelming response surprised us as the finances to buy bags and school essentials poured in. Equip Asia teams were able to distribute 115 school bags for children with disabilities from all 43 of our target villages.

The joy and happy faces showed that they were all ready to go to school in style! Thanks to all the donors who came forward to address this need. 

Equip Asia field staff organized a 15-day training in tailoring for young women. The basic skills they will learn are the first steps on the path to self-employment. 12 young women have enrolled to learn the skill and take up self-employment.  We organized a 3-day discipleship training camp at the Equip Asia centre in India to disciple the new believers in God’s word, prayer, doctrine, worship and encouragement, and service. A total of 55 people with disabilities and their families participated. We look forward to seeing them disciple others.

Prayer Requests 

  • Praise God for the good rains, which our area depends on so much! 

Pray for 

  • The new house churches formed. Pray for the people who come together to hear about Christ. Pray for wisdom, boldness and for God to work in their lives.
  • Continue to pray for financial breakthroughs for Equip Asia’s ministry in India.
  • Pray for the safety and good health of all the Equip Asia staff in the front line, ministering Christ’s hope and healing to the communities struggling with disabilities. 


It is a Land the Lord your God Cares for (Deut 11:12)

Equip Asia’s mission is to bring Christ‘s hope and healing to children, families and communities struggling with disabilities.  Equip Asia teams working in villages teach about good health as being in harmony with God, in harmony with ourselves, in harmony with our communities and in harmony with nature. The people we serve have been learning and adopting Godly values that eventually lead to harmony and peace with God, themselves and one another. The process to disciple them continues as the communities come forward to take up another step … HARMONY WITH NATURE!

Our health and hygiene awareness programs have been sensitizing the leaders, the young and the old, about the problem of deforestation and their roles and responsibilities towards the God-given environment. Now, villages have been enabled to start tree-planting drives!

Spearheaded by the members of the sustainable livelihood groups (SLGs), the forest department, and the local school children, Equip Asia facilitated planting 200 trees with 200 households in a village.  This program was not just about planting a tree, but also included a quick lesson on how to care for it. From the oldest to the youngest, everyone participated in planting a sapling. Some of them even named the baby trees after children and pledged to care for them just like their own!

This act has spread to other surrounding villages where people are coming forward to do the same. The Equip Asia team continues to inspire, facilitating tree-planting drives in four clusters to add 1000 saplings to our county.

This small act of inspiring and teaching communities to be good stewards of creation will help restore trees that will not only restore the lost beauty of the villages but also promote the well-being of the people in the villages.


22 Years of Success

As I reflect on Equip Asia’s work for the past 22 years, I’m reminded that when we started, 74% of the population with disabilities were unemployed. Without equal opportunities in education or unemployment, 45% were uneducated. Most people with disabilities then were high school dropouts. Some finished high school and simply sat at home because they had no access to higher education or employment.

Equip Asia believed that only education could break this vicious belief that people with disabilities will always have disabilities…good for nothing! We started our educational assistance program to encourage young men and women with disabilities to pursue higher education, providing assistance in the form of fees, books, extra coaching, computer and spoken English trainings.

Starting with 2 students in the first year, the program grew to support 100 students every year. Since its inception, 1600 students have received educational assistance! Over the last 22 years, our students have gotten jobs as teachers, nurses, engineers, bankers, accountants, health inspectors, entrepreneurs, social workers, special educators and more!

Recently, I met with a few of our alums:

“I am a computer operator at a government hospital. Education and skill training at Equip Asia gave me confidence!”





“My parents were fed up with me. I was so unruly and a nuisance to my family and my community. Equip Asia’s intervention in my life shaped me to be a better person everyday. With my master’s degree in social work, I work as a health care counsellor.”


“I always wanted to be a teacher. It was my only dream. Equip Asia helped me to pursue my education in this field making my dream a reality!”




“Coming from an extremely poor family, with my father Prashant_Totagisuffering from cancer, thought education was impossible. Who would help a disabled person, I thought? Equip Asia’s educational assistance helped me to excel in academics and taught me Godly values that help me even now. Completing my master’s degree in arts, I got a job as a development officer of a village council.”



“I was worthless…but now I’m in a profession which is highly respected.” Nagaratna, a teacher, loves her job and gives all the credit to God.





Akkamma                                                                                                            “With handicraft and tailoring training at the Equip Asia’s India center, I started a small training center in my village for women not only from my village but from the neighbouring villages too.”



HyderaliHydar Ali
“My family are all construction workers…but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to be an engineer. My dream came true with Equip Asia’s educational assistance. I’m now a civil engineer!”



Ratna_KoppadRatna Koppad
“Handicraft training helped me earn an income. Equip Asia staff counselled me to consider starting a business. With seed money from Equip Asia, I started a garment business in my village. Gradually I incorporated many other things to my business that helped me elevate my earnings. This gives me lot of confidence and self worth. I save for myself and also contribute to the family’s income.”

Manjunath_ShikeriManjunath Shikeri
“I joined as a student of 9th Grade to Equip Asia’s residential care and received educational assistance to complete my school and my Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. I was also employed as an accountant with Equip Asia administration department. I also did my Master’s degree with the salary I got. I continue as an admin accountant with Equip Asia, India office.”


There are many more impact stories. Your gifts and support helped us to touch these lives with education that in turn brought an increased sense of dignity, self-worth and self-reliance.

By helping kids recover from trauma, helping families heal through God’s love, or helping deliver nutritious food, basic healthcare, or other essentials, thank you for faithfully reaching out and sharing God’s blessings with those in need.


News in Brief and Prayer Requests

News in Brief

Jessica Virk, from Seattle’s Philadelphia Church, visited the Equip Asia center from February 28 to March 3.

Jessica Virk

It was a great time getting to know her and her inspiring testimony. She gelled well with the Indian culture, people and the youth with disabilities at the center. She visited three of our target villages, helping her gather firsthand information about the work at the grassroot level. 

Even though language was a barrier, she could connect with their struggles and emotions. Jessica rejoiced with them in their newfound faith in Christ, in the holistic transformations in their lives, as well as in their families and communities.

Equip Asia also had lunch with Punjabi ladies who are secret believers, which was even more encouraging. It helped not only to understand their struggles of knowing Christ but also encouraged them to pray for each other that through the struggles, oppositions and rejections, Christ will be glorified.  

Prayer Requests

  1. Pray for the “Summer Camp” and “Vacation Courses” that will be conducted at the Equip Asia center in April and May for students with disabilities and/or their siblings for short-term courses in conversational English and basic computer use.
  2. Pray for the 9 new house churches established. Pray that they grow in word, prayer and deed, reflecting the beauty of Christ around them.
  3. Pray for good rains this year, as the communities we work with depend on rains for their income. 80% of them will be unemployed if the rains do not come on time.
  4. Pray for all our training and empowerment programs in 43 villages.
  5. Pray for all Equip Asia field staff, as they travel long distances in scorching summer heat. Pray for their good health, harmony and coordination among them.  


Marriage for All!

Here are some stories of how couples have broken through the stigma and discrimination surrounding disabilities to find love!

Nagappa and KasturiNagappa and Kasturi

This couple with disabilities fell in love. Despite opposition from their families and society–they belonged to different caste groups–they made the prayerful decision to get married with the assistance of Equip Asia leaders. Now they run a small restaurant and have two daughters who go to school!





Laxman and PremaLaxman and Prema

Again, people from different castes fell in love and got married! Now both Prema and Laxman work for Equip Asia, which organized their wedding.  They have a daughter in the 7th grade and a son in the 3rd grade!



Maheshwari and MartinMaheshwari and Martin

Martin and Maheshwari both have disabilities. While working together at Equip Asia, the staff’s prayerful intervention made it easier for both of their families to accept each other.





Sudha and GladwinSudha and Gladwin

A nursing student of Equip Asia married a Christian man. She continues to work as a nurse in a prestigious medical institution in the city.



Akkamma and ManjunathAkkamma and Manjunath

A nursing student and Equip Asia alum fell in love with a young man who worked for the government. They were married and now have two children, a girl and a boy.





Manju and KavitaManju and Kavita

Manju is an accountant at Equip Asia, while Kavita is a house church leader in a village.  Again with Equip Asia’s intervention with the families, they were married this year at the Equip Asia center.

When I met all the married alumni of Equip Asia at Manju and Kavita wedding, I was proud to see them evolve from being students and to see them up take up the roles of husband and father or wife and the mother – leading their household and influencing their families and communities with godly values. They all looked so mature and loved their spouses and children, providing and protecting them.  A brief talk with their spouses said it all: Equip Asia’s students were  reflections of the beauty of Christ to their families.

They continue to face challenges, like everybody else, but gather strength each day believing in the One who promised to manifest His strength during hard times. All of them said one thing in common: “If it was not for Equip Asia we would never have dreamed of a life like this. You taught us to dream and to work hard to achieve it, so here we are!” I am proud to even see them turn out to be donors for Equip Asia’s initiatives!

Their lives were truly inspiring and one thing was evident: love and marriage do not discriminate  — only people do!


Aruna Swauger and Shilpa Barrey to Visit the U.S.!

Aruna and Shilpa will be in Seattle, WA and upstate New York from October 11-30.

Shilpa says, “I am so looking forward to finally connecting with all of the sincere partners of Equip Asia and to be able to witness to them personally about how the Lord has been wonderfully working in this part of the world!”

Check out their traveling schedule below, and consider joining us at one of these events:

Oct 12-14 – PC Mission Conference

Oct 14 – Mission Moment, Rose Hill Presbyterian Church, Seattle

Oct 19 – Seattle Missions Conference

Oct 20 – SICF (South Indian Christian Fellowship)

Oct 21 – Mission moment, John Knox Presbyterian Church

Oct 29 – Levant Church, Falconer NY, Indian Dinner and Equip Asia presentation

IMG_20171031_095304 COPY


Accepting People in Christ is Love

Have you ever felt God speaking to you through small things that we see every day? Like the flowers, the birds, the colorful sky, the mountains, the valleys…. The list goes on and on.

We saw this sticker that said, “Accepting people in Christ is Love.” This spoke volumes to us and we were able to relate this to the Equip Asia ministry in the Indian villages.

Equip Asia looks at people with disabilities and HIV/AIDS as an indispensable part of God’s great big family who deserve to live a life of independence and with dignity.

We come across children, men, women and families of different castes, creeds, colors, religions and economic strata. Some families we visit live in awful conditions, some are lucky to have strong walls and a door, some live in constant fear, while some are even luckier to have better living facilities.  No matter where they live or how they look, accepting them in Christ makes all the difference. Because all of them are deprived of acceptance as they are. But with Christ’s constant love and acceptance, then the transformation begins!

Dear reader, here is an opportunity to share His love to children with special needs, who need to be sponsored. With just $35 each month ($420 yearly), you can give these children a chance to reach their full potential – equip them to attend school, play with others, be included in their communities and get access to specialized resources and care, thus easing the challenges for families and caregivers. You can be the reason for their transformation!!!  Click here to sponsor one of the below children.

SomeshSomesh, a 6-year-old, needs speech therapy. Click here to know more about him.

Leena is 8 and has physical and learning disabilities. She needs medical intervention and educational assistance. Click here to know more about her

Anil, 4, has a developmental delay. He needs physical therapy and livelihood interventions for the family. Click here to know more about him.

Rohan is 7 with Down’s syndrome. He needs special education with speech therapy. Click here to know more about him.


Rescued from Dying … to Restored Health … to Real Transformation!

Madan and Kamala are a couple with disabilities.  They live about 15 km from the city in a small village situated on a hill with serene beauty all around. 


They are the local temple priests and Madan does tailoring along with his temple chores, while Kamala assists him in the temple work. The village elders have given them a small house to live in to take care of their gods. For income, they sells the grain offerings brought to the temple.

One day,  Madan was sitting outside, feeling too weak to walk and we felt the need to go and talk to him.  We introduced ourselves and started talking to him. We had seen him fall several times while walking and knew he needed a walker.

When asked about his family, he said, “My wife is inside and she is very sick since a month.” We went in to see a frail woman sleeping as if dead. At first, we were scared but we gathered some courage and touched her; she was warm and was breathing hard.

We sensed a medical emergency and immediately an ambulance was called to take them to the hospital. After two days of careful medical investigation, Kamala was diagnosed with acute anemia. She needed nutritional supplements and medicines.

We shifted them to the Equip Asia center for health care.Madan

Madan was also diagnosed with jaundice.  His hemoglobin level was dangerously low and he needed an immediate blood transfusion. With the help of young volunteers, the medicine and three pints of blood were donated. During Madan’s blood transfusion we explained that blood means life and that he needed blood to live. Similarly, we were all dying and Christ came and died for us and shed His blood to give us life After 10 – 15 days, both improved in health and returned home happily.

While Madan and Kamala were at the Equip Asia center, we were able to minister to them often.  Our regular visits to the hospital and our concern brought so much change in their attitude. 


After they were discharged and returned home, their whole village was so happy to see them return with smiles on their faces.

On our follow up visit, Madan asked for a Bible and at our next visit we saw them both watching a Christian message on a local TV channel.

Recently,  Madan told us, “I quit the temple work … I don’t want to do it … I want Christ.” We rejoiced and praised God.

We were worried about his income, but Madan had already made the decision to take up tailoring.  “I am not afraid; it is Jesus who healed me and He will not leave me,” he says!

When Christ’s love in us, it flows out to others, and we see transformation.

Thank you for your support and prayers–you the heart of our ministry.


Leena’s Story

LeenaLeena is an 8-year-old girl with special needs studying in the first grade. She has a mild hearing problem and a learning disability.

Leena’s parents are farmers and she has three siblings. The family lives in a village adopted by Equip Asia for inclusive community transformation from 2018-2020.

Sadly, her parents often can’t afford to support Leena’s special needs. The Equip Asia team working in this village has been referring her to doctors to get a comprehensive diagnosis. This would help the team to work on the Individual Rehabilitation Plan to see Leena enjoy school like her able-bodied peers and to see her family earn more income through Equip Asia’s livelihood programs.

Your contribution of $35 every month will help us help Leena and her family.