Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - Deki from Bhutan learns to read and write after being deprived of an education because of her faith - Open Doors UK & Ireland
26 March 2024

Deki from Bhutan learns to read and write after being deprived of an education because of her faith

Deki is one of the estimated 19,500 Christians in Bhutan, a country where all citizens are expected to be Buddhist. Because of her faith, she couldn’t go to school, but thanks to your support, her greatest dream has now been fulfilled – to read and write.


Deki sits in the shop your support has helped fund

Deki* finds it difficult to recall her childhood. Having not attended school, she missed out on the fun of playground friendships and activities, the joy of learning, and the exciting possibilities that come from being able to read and write.

It could have been very different if she and her family denied their faith, but they didn’t. Despite the sadness, Deki has no regrets and today she is looking forward to a future that not long ago seemed impossible.

Twice rejected by schools

“I knew Christ from a very young age since my parents accepted Christ when I was about  five,” she shares. “My mother was sick and had some complications during the birth of my younger sister. Due to that, we all accepted Christ. At 14, I was baptised along with my parents. Growing up, I knew that Jesus is the way to salvation and eternal life.”

"Every Sunday, we had to go to church, hiding" Deki

Since there was no church in the village, the family walked four to five hours to attend church – and in secret. “Every Sunday, we had to go to church, hiding.” 

Despite seeking to keep a low profile, locals knew of the family’s faith. “Villagers taunted my parents,” recalls Deki. “They held many meetings and mocked us for our faith. They inquired about our faith, such as who shared it with us and who told us to be Christian.”

The hostility was so intense that on two occasions Deki was denied admission to schools. “I couldn’t study,” she says. “All my friends of my age went to school, and now they are doing well. As for my younger siblings, my parents took them to town and admitted them to school since the village school denied them. The school did not accept me due to my age gap.”

“I felt bad when I couldn't attend school, but I never blamed my parents,” she adds. “I also never questioned their faith. Now, I know that whatever happens, it happens for good.”

A dream fulfilled 

Thanks to your support, Deki can now read and write! She attended an adult literacy programme run by Open Doors local partners which aims to empower Christians by providing basic literacy skills and bridging educational gaps.

“I am happy that I could learn to read and write at this age,” says Deki. “However, sometimes, I feel it would have been better if I had studied from a young age. Nevertheless, I do not have any complaints to God. Even at this age, I can read and write. I have always had a desire to learn to study. By God’s provision, it is fulfilled. I can read the Bible. It gives me joy.”

Every £30
could help a persecuted woman start a small business, giving her long-term financial security

Deki also attended a skill training programme, the objective of which is to enable women to be self-sufficient and financially independent. It reinforces their dignity, which is the heart of our ongoing See.Change campaign. After learning how to harvest mushrooms and make sweets and other biscuits, Deki has started her own shop. “I am earning some money and not entirely dependent on my husband,” she says. “It has helped me a lot.”

Deki lives with her husband, Norbu*, who’s a taxi driver. They have two sons, Sonam* (seven) and Jigme* (13). Deki requests prayers for Norbu, who she says is a Christian but not strong in his faith. “Sometimes, he says that all religions and their purposes are the same. He doesn’t attend the regular fellowship. But he allows me and the children to go to church. He drives a taxi, drops us off to church, and picks us up but doesn’t go to church.”

Meanwhile, her relationship with friends and relatives who don’t share her faith is good. “Even if they say anything to me, I don’t feel bad since I know the God I believe is true, and I find joy in Him.”

Heartfelt thanks

“Everything is good for now,” she continues. “God has been good all the time. He has blessed me in my work and hears my prayers. I feel happy that God is with me all the time. He will lead and bless me in my every situation.”

"You took the burden to come here and meet me" Deki

“I learned many things that make our life easier and am still learning,” she says, referring to the training provided by local partners. “Thanks to the Lord, who made provisions of all these things through His children. We are getting a lot of knowledge from the class. Thanks to the Lord, and I am also grateful to the teachers who are teaching us. It is all God’s plan. May God bless them more and more.”

It’s not just the practical support that means so much to Deki, it’s also the pastoral care. “I am glad you came to meet me and asked about my wellness and prayer requests. I give thanks from the bottom of my heart. I believe God sent you people to me. For a long time, I wanted to meet and talk with you. But I didn’t get time. However, God knew and made it possible to meet you. I could talk to you and share my thoughts with you. You took the burden to come here and meet me. I feel blessed and thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

*Names changed for security reasons

Please pray
  • Give thanks for the provision of support for Deki
  • That both her faith and her business will continue to flourish, leading people to Jesus, and that Deki will be guided in all her endeavours 
  • For health and safety for the family, and that Norbu and the two children will grow stronger in their faith.
Please give
  • Every £20 could give four women biblical literature to help nurture their faith
  • Every £30 could help a persecuted woman start a small business, giving her long-term financial security
  • Every £45 could help train a woman to know her value in Christ and strengthen other women in her community..

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