ChrisFon faithfully serves those living in poverty in the brick kiln communities of Pakistan, sharing the love of Jesus as they help free families from bonded labour – the most common form of modern-day slavery. Their mission is to ‘share the love of God through community development’.
What is bonded labour?
Bonded labour is a form of modern-day slavery where people living in poverty, with few opportunities for work, are forced, or tricked, into taking up extremely low paid jobs and loans from those they work for, in order to survive. Most, or all, of their pay then goes towards paying off these debts, which carry with them high levels of interest, making it impossible for them to leave. Those who do try to flee often face violence or intimidation. With no access to education, high levels of illiteracy and no alternative, families are left enslaved by the deep-rooted bonded labour system. Often these debts then pass from one generation to the next, leaving children to repay the family debt.
Breaking the cycle of bonded labour
Ministry partner, ChrisFon, has established a community development programme in Pakistan which aims to enable families to free themselves from the shackles of bonded labour and hear the Gospel. Through this programme local pastors come alongside communities to provide education, skills training, income generating projects and financial advice.
In Pakistan, many brick kiln workers and their families have been trapped for generations by bonded labour. They are forced to produce a high quota of bricks, usually around 1,500 - 2,500 per day, crouching for hours at a time in searing summer heat and bitter winter cold, backs aching as they repeatedly pack and empty the metal moulds. In Pakistan, it is illegal to employ someone under the age of 16 and yet many children work with their parents to help them to finish their daily quota of bricks. This means they miss out on the opportunity to go to school and so the cycle of illiteracy continues. Lacking the care of the church, kiln workers are entrapped not just physically but also spiritually. Many have been forced to convert to Islam by the Muslim brick kiln owners.
ChrisFon’s multi-prong approach to ministry brings hope, sustainability and dignity to those who have been struggling for generations.
Providing income generation opportunities including kitchen gardens, chickens, goats, sewing machines and stitching training. ChrisFon also educates labourers in personal financial management and debt management.
ChrisFon provides literacy training to tackle the high rates of illiteracy in families and help labourers to better understand their employment contracts. This also includes teaching brick kiln owners the importance of working relationships built on honesty and respect.
Weekly health training and health camps are run in order to educate people on good hygiene and tackle common problems that otherwise go undiagnosed.
ChrisFon leaders in Pakistan boldly share the Gospel, particularly supporting those who have converted from Islam and are persecuted for their faith as a result. ChrisFon provides safety while they train and disciple those who come to faith, helping them to re-engage with society as Christian leaders.
Pakistan is the world’s fifth-most populous country, with a population exceeding 220 million and it has the world’s second-largest Muslim population. Pakistan’s political history since independence has been characterised by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with India. The country continues to face challenging problems including overpopulation, poverty, illiteracy and corruption.