Introduction / History
The Father of Modern Mission, William Carey, was a cobbler, or shoe repairman. He might have come across members of the Sarki people, who make and repair shoes. In the Hindu worldview, working with leather, means working with "dead" material, which is very demeaning. To make matters worse, shoes also involve the bottom of the feet, the most disgusting part of the body. For this reason, the Sarki people are among the least prestigious people in the Hindu world. A few of them have moved to Buddhist Bhutan where they are not limited by Hindu thinking.
Where are they located?
The Sarki people live in India's state of West Bengal and a couple of India's northeastern states. Many live in Nepal. A few live in Bhutan where as Hindus they are a religious minority.
What are their lives like?
The traditional and primary occupation of the Sarki was shoe-making, but nowadays only a few among them are occupied as leather-workers or cobblers. This means that they are in a desperate situation to learn new trades so they can make an honest living.
What are their beliefs?
These Hindus have family deities and a village deity. Some of their deities are Santala Devi, Maidevta and Dat Kali. Their witchdoctor is called lama or jhankri.
What are their needs?
The Sarki people need training as the modern world offers few jobs in shoe-making. More than that, they need protection for their women who are vulnerable to human trafficking.
* Pray for the Lord to protect the Sarki people from human trafficking.
* Pray for them to find full employment outside of the dying art of making shoes by hand.
* Pray the Sarki community will hunger to know the creator God and his son who came to give them life more abundantly.
* Pray for believers in South Asia to make the effort to disciple these shoe-makers in the ways of Jesus Christ, resulting in transformed Sarki communities.
Text source: Keith Carey