If Jesus were to return to earth for a day, he might choose to walk among the poor in South Asia. There, as he did in ancient Palestine, he could touch the lives of widows, orphans, and mothers. TWR Women of Hope team members in this region are the hands and feet of Jesus. They distribute food and needed items in flood-ravaged areas of Nepal and poor villages in India. They secretly meet with listeners in Pakistan and provide words of hope to women in Afghanistan.

South Asia is a dangerous place for women and girls. Domestic violence, cruelty to widows, child marriage, dowry deaths, trafficking, rapes, and sex-selection abortions are cultural practices that are destroying lives in Afghanistan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Educating girls is not a priority, and girls who attend school are frequently attacked and ridiculed.

Legal age limits for marriage are often ignored. In many cases young girls are forced to marry much older men. Child brides often become very young mothers and then widows who are shamed if they remarry. In India, where nearly 40 million widows live, many support themselves by begging and prostitution.

Some South Asia leaders and foreign organizations are trying to improve the lives of women, but the task of changing cultural practices and worldviews is enormous. Adding to the struggle for survival in South Asia are the limited number of clinics and health-care workers in rural areas, pollution and overpopulation in the large cities, and war and drug addiction.

Freedom of religion, even if granted by law, is not a reality for most Christians in South Asia. People charged with proselytizing risk fines and imprisonment, not to mention devastating violence from their neighbors and family members.

TWR Women of Hope brings hope in Jesus to women in South Asia through prayer and media that address their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

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