A young girl from southern India named Tehmina had a rough start in life. At the age of four, she was already forced to become a temple prostitute because her own impoverished mother, who also served as a prostitute to service Hindu gods in the northern Karnataka state, did not see any other way for her daughter to make a living to support herself and her family as well.
"Her father was taking her by the hand at midnight looking for customers, and then during the day her mother would take her on the streets," an indigenous ministry leader tells the Christian Aid Mission. "By her earnings, the whole family would be taken care of."
Thankfully, Tehmina's mother came to faith. She sought to make amends to her daughter by turning her life around and sharing God's love to her. Tehmina's mother entrusted her to the Christian Aid Mission, which supported her schooling. Eleven years later, Tehmina returned home to take care of her mother and go to college.
The Christian ministry says young girls becoming "devadasis," or slaves to God, are very common in Southern India partly because people there see it as the only way for them to ease their hunger.
"We have seen many times these ladies come to us crying, very desperate, they have nothing, no hope was there, and then they receive Jesus Christ as their personal saviour and they return back, bringing the joy of Christ," the ministry leader shares.
These young children don't even have a safe place to call home. Because of their mothers' profession, they sometimes even witness them entertaining men, so they are exposed to a lot of horrors even at such a young age, the ministry leader says.
"In many houses, when the mother is practicing prostitution at night time, the children have to go under the bed and hide themselves," the leader says. "If it is during the daytime, they are thrown out onto the streets while the mother is entertaining men. So the ministry seeks to give them a safe place where they're protected, and they can study and be loved."
The Christian Aid Mission is helping these families by providing them food and medicine, as well as teaching them to become financially independent by giving them the skills set to sew and use the computer, among many other income-generating ideas.
"We were not just filling their stomach, but we also have opportunities to share the good news with these people," the ministry leader continues. "I have seen these people who were sickly, they know they will not be able to survive it, but they come to the church and just raise their hands to the Lord Jesus Christ, because they have the joy of receiving Jesus Christ into their lives."