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Creating justice for generations: Sophia’s story

Sophia Lakra discovered a passion to help others early in life.  

Growing up among the poor in West Bengal, she saw the incredible potential of young people as well as the barriers preventing so many from realising their dreams. 

Children became either trapped in a cycle of poverty, or they found a way to escape.  

The difference, as Sophia saw it, was education.  

She wanted to help keep disadvantaged children in school. So she studied hard and at age 21, Sophia became a teacher. 

“I wanted to do something worthwhile in my life,” she says. “I love working with children and I always wanted to make a difference in their lives.” 

“Education has the ability to transform individuals and communities, giving children wisdom, skills and values that enable them to make important decisions and solve problems.” 

Sophia’s passion led her to further studies in social work, and to join the Community Development Program run by the Church of North India, Diocese of Durgapur.  

She is now a Program Facilitator, overseeing study centres that are impacting hundreds of children each year with much-needed education support for disadvantaged children. 

“The major barriers holding these children back are more than just living below the poverty line, it’s the low self-esteem, fear and self-doubt that comes from their families living that way,” she says. 

“Through education, we help children to become confident in who they are … to know what is right from wrong … to have the courage to raise their voice and speak against injustice.” 

“Their knowledge helps to fight social evils like poverty, gender inequality and the caste system. They have a healthier life.”  

Since joining the Community Development Program, she’s now watched generations of children born in slums walk into study centres as toddlers and leave as adolescents, vastly better equipped to find productive work or pursue further study. 

“Mentoring these young souls is such a beautiful experience,” she says. 

“Through education and life skills training, I believe I am preparing these children for life. I care for these children, guide and love them the way I would like my own daughter to be cared for.” 

“It can be stressful at times, but my passion rewards me when I see a smile on these children’s faces.” 

Sophia told me that many of the children stay in close touch and even come back to volunteer in the project to help others. I asked why she thought that was and for her it’s simple:  

“Education changes people… People change the world.” 


Our partners like Sophia are working hard alongside thousands more people on community-wide, sustainable initiatives to end poverty.  

Many of our supporters have already given generously to help us reach this year’s target of $500,000 so that we can fully fund our projects across Asia, Africa and the Pacific.  

With only a few days left in the financial year, please consider a donation to support our work to end poverty and create justice alongside people like Sophia.