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Open Doors Women - Regional Focus - South & Southeast Asia

Photo credit Open Doors, illustrative only.
Region / country information:

South Asia and Southeast Asia is made up of many countries with diverse cultures, yet the obstacles that Christian women face are prominent across the whole region. Christians are often seen as second-class citizens and are often in the poor echelons of society, limiting their ability to receive an education or work to support their family.

Furthermore, even if the opportunity for education or employment arises for a woman in particular, it is not usually something that is encouraged. It is seen as a threat to the cultural norms and the role of women is to remain in the home, therefore not requiring an education or other work skills.

Open Doors’ partners prioritise literacy training for women across the region, as it is not only a great tool for Christian discipleship, using the Bible as the main textbook, but also a valuable opportunity for evangelism to those who don’t know Jesus.

Photo credit Open Doors, illustrative only.


Rhea (pseudonym) grew up in a society that placed little value on girls, and definitely didn’t see much point in educating them. When she was twelve, Rhea was at a family wedding and met a pastor who knew the family could never afford to send Rhea and her sister to school.

The pastor suggested to the parents that they could be a part of a literacy program run by Open Doors’ partners, but instead Rhea’s parents only consented to send them to a women’s training centre for sewing, a project run by the same partner.

The pastor gave the girls some old school books and they began their sewing training at the centre. While at the centre the girls learned to read and write. It was only a slow and basic process, but the team worked hard to help the girls grasp the basics before their parents took them away.

“It is not that parents do not want the best for their daughters,” one of the trainers explained. “The truth is that in a country where Christian women are the least valued members of society, parents are terrified of giving their daughter a glimpse of hope in case they end up in homes where they will never receive any of the gifts of an educated, literate, functional life.”

Rhea and her sister were only able to benefit from the literacy course for a little while. Yet, their lives have been deeply affected as they were exposed to the truths of the Bible. Literacy training is so important in a region that teaches women they are of little value. It teaches them not only that they are worthy of an education, but also that their ultimate value can only be found in Jesus Christ. Prayer Points:

  • Pray that God would continue to work through literacy programs and training centres as a safe place to empower women with education, skills, and most importantly, the gospel.

  • Pray for Muslim background believers in the region – that God would give them wisdom and guidance in who to share their faith with.

  • Pray for young Christian women who are often targeted for forced conversions or for beatings.

  • Pray that they will be protected and have good support networks.

  • Pray for widows and victims of trauma who struggle to face each day due both materially and psychologically.

For more information or to donate to the work of Open Doors Women Australia, please visit their site here

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