Free at last! Many Pakistani Christians, who had been legally “bonded” to their brick kiln jobs, are now free, thanks to Barnabas Fund supporters. Through your generosity, the debts which these desperately poor families incurred in times of special hardship have been paid, setting them free, transforming their lives and giving them hope for the future. But many more still need to be set free.
”I came straight back to the church and thanked God”
Latif began working in the brick kiln industry when he was only ten. In recent years, his daughter Sobia has laboured alongside him in their back-breaking task. Together they make a thousand bricks a day. “I never wanted to take a loan,” says Latif, “so I used to work continuously 18 hours a day.” But then his son fell sick and later his wife broke her leg. Latif had no option but to borrow from the brick-kiln owner to pay for their medical needs. Despite his best efforts he had become bonded to his brick kiln.
Now Latif’s debt has been paid off and he is free. “As soon as we paid the loan amount to the brick kiln owner I came straight back to the church and thanked God and then went to my home,” said Latif. “We are very thankful to Barnabas Fund and all the people for their support. We pray for you all regularly and will continue to do so as we are free because of all your efforts. God bless you all!”
“Jesus took a hold of my arm”
Nargis had to borrow money from the brick-kiln owner where she works so that her sick husband could go to hospital. Sadly, he died, and she was left with five children and the loan. Every week a sum was deducted from her meagre wages to pay the interest on the loan. Nargis is illiterate and could not even count how many bricks she had made each day, let alone calculate how much money she still owed.
Nadeem and his family were sold twice, like slaves, passed from one brick-kiln owner to another. Now their debt has been paid and they are free. The parents are overjoyed and the children are looking forward to going to school for the first time in their lives
She told Barnabas Fund, “When I heard that my debt will all be paid it was such a joyful and redeeming feeling… My heart leapt with joy at the thought that we are free from this burden at last... All my family, brothers and sisters, relatives had left me in our difficult time but Jesus took a hold of my arm. God bless those people who have thought about us and have helped us... We will pray for you all.”
Phase 2 progress
We are thankful to God for the generous donors who have already contributed well over half the costs of freeing the 40 families in Phase 2 of this project. This is on top of the 40 families freed in Phase 1. All the freed families are receiving monthly food parcels from Barnabas Fund, so that they will not get into debt again.
But the remaining families of Phase 2 still need help to be liberated. Their debts fall in the range £1,800 ($2,370; €2,035) to £2,230 ($2,940; €2,525).
Will you help us free more Christian brick-kiln workers who live like slaves?
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