In the northwest part of India, countless lives have been saved in the past 122 years because the love of God compelled hearts to action in 1889. The seeds of what has become Ludhiana Christian Medical College and Hospital in Punjab, India were planted in the late 1800’s by Christians who believed that all people in India deserve access to medical care and to the healing power of Jesus.
Cultural laws prevented male doctors from working with female patients and female doctors or nurses who could properly care for female patients were in short supply. In addition, medical care was often only available to the wealthy and those from the right “caste” in Indian society.
Dr. Edith Brown from England and two female missionaries from Scotland found ways to help train women in India to provide health care and the love of Jesus to those in need. The first batch of nursing students graduated in the mid- 1890’s paving the way for the Nursing College at Ludhiana Christian Medical College (CMC) today.
The Ludhiana College of Nursing can accommodate 134 students yearly among three nursing degree programs including diploma of nursing (3+years), BSE(4 years) and MSE (2 years). There is a great need in India for trained nurses to provide health care education in rural areas. CMC wishes they could share their quality program with more, but they are beyond capacity already in classroom and dormitory space.
The College of Nursing has tripled in size since the most recent education building and student hostels were built in the 1970’s. Dorms rooms that were designed for one student have two students and rooms designed for two students have three beds crammed together with barely room to walk. This is where the students live and study together for the 3-4 years they are working on their degree. The College of Nursing accepts male students too but can only allow about 20% per new batch of students due to housing logistics.
The nursing students welcomed the Missouri UMC Mission Ambassadors into their classrooms, study halls, worship experiences, rural health field visits, and dorm rooms as they shared their excitement about being part of the Ludhiana College of Nursing and the challenges they face.
For many of the students, the financial costs to become a nurse are more than their family can afford. The college has a history of working to raise money for scholarships to give as many qualified students as possible an opportunity to receive medical training and the gift of being a difference-maker in their home country. A scholarship of $1,000 enables a poor nursing student to afford one year of schooling. This past year, nine nursing students received scholarships through the extravagant generosity of individuals and groups within the UM Missouri Conference.
Through daily chapel services and weekly gatherings of groups such as the Evangelical Nurses Fellowship of India, the nursing students grow in their faith in Christ as they grow in their knowledge of health and medical science. Nursing student, Litty Samuel, enjoys the Christian fellowship and said, “CMC is the best place for me to get a great education to help all humanity and serve my Lord with my talents.” After graduating in their nursing program, all nursing students serve two years in one of the many rural health clinics supported by Ludhiana CMC to fine tune their medical skills and their servant hearts before they can seek out other employment. It was an amazing observation to see how many students finish their two year commitment, and then choose to stay on as part of the Ludhiana CMC family accepting less pay than they could get other places so they can work with the poor and train the next batch of nursing students.
Seeds planted more than 100 years ago are continuing to grow today with many lives transformed through the healing power of Jesus and the practical nursing skills provided through Ludhiana CMC’s College of Nursing. The Missouri Conference of the UMC has a great opportunity to continue watering those seeds through prayers, nursing student scholarships, and financial support for new student housing and classroom space. Contributions for nursing scholarships or student building fund may be sent to the Missouri Conference Office of Creative Ministries, 3009 David Dr., Columbia, MO 65202.