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Hapuma

New Testament

Country

South Asia

Language(s)

 

Hapuma

Speakers

3,000,000

Despite opposition, local believers endure by relying strongly on God and one another. A courageous team translates Scripture for these believers and the rest of their community.



the Need
Hapuma is a language used in three regions of South Asia. It is spoken as a first language by more than 30 different people groups representing three million people. This language was only recognized as an official language in 2021, thanks to the diligent linguistic research and advocacy done by OneBook’s national partner organization in South Asia. Hapuma speakers live in a region of hills and forests as subsistence farmers. They are the object of discrimination and victims of leadership corruption. Discouraged and overwhelmed by the challenges they face, many Hapuma speakers turn to alcohol to cope. Few children receive a quality education because teachers are unwilling to work in the schools of these under-developed communities. Parents who value education end up sending their children to the nearest town where they live in rented rooms and attend the local school. Many Hapuma speakers practice the nation’s dominant religion mixed with the traditional ancestor worship. There is often hostility toward the gospel among Hapuma speakers. After decades of outreach by a dozen Christian organizations, the number of believers in 2014 was estimated at 15,000. In order to build a strong foundation for their faith, the organizations doing outreach realized that these people need the Word of God in Hapuma. Many churches use the Hapuma language in their services and expressed a need for Bible translation, requesting training in language development and translation.
The Project

Project team members trained by our national partner in South Asia have made a commitment to:


  • Develop an alphabet.


  • Translate the New Testament and make it available it in print and digital formats.


  • Help believers craft oral Bible stories.


  • Publish literacy manuals that teach people how to read and write Hapuma and produce mother-tongue educational materials on health.

Translation Progress

Drafted

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95

Community-Checked

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95

Quality-Checked

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69

Overcoming Prejudice
Many Hapuma speakers live under the shadow of an ancient class system. Schoolteachers in Hapuma-speaking regions come from the upper classes, and many are not happy that the small ethnic groups that speak Hapuma are learning to read and write through the project. Arjun, the Hapuma project’s new literacy facilitator, was discussing the work of teaching with a schoolteacher when the man exclaimed, “These people were born to feed the cattle. They shouldn’t be educated like us.” The success of the project’s literacy classes is challenging this thinking. In 2023, eight new literacy classes started meeting weekly in village churches. Learners stay after church and, under the guidance of dedicated literacy teachers, learn how to read and write using Hapuma literacy manuals and Bible story booklets. Local women, who have long been denied education, are among the most dedicated students. “They all are very enthusiastic in learning and very hopeful for reading the Bible in the Hapuma language,” says Arjun.
Words of Life
Harshad held his cell phone tightly in his hand, checking on the progress of his weekly charging session. The battery was almost full. He hoped he would not get too many calls or messages this week—he did not want to waste any battery power. He enjoys talking with family and friends, but his real joy comes each day when he opens the Hapuma Bible app. He loves to read the day’s translated Scripture in his language. Occasionally he watches the “JESUS” film portions posted with it, but not too often as the videos use a lot of power. Harshad wanted to make sure there was enough power to join in on the Zoom Bible study. Harshad had not engaged much with God’s Word before, but now the words he reads are in Hapuma and right on his phone!

"There is no doubt that this project is making tremendous progress and impacting people."

Project Team Member

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