South Asia

South Asia is one of IFES' most diverse regions. It encompasses war-torn nations, a Buddhist kingdom, a closed dictator-led state, and nations gripped by Islam and Hinduism.  Already struggling with much extreme poverty, the region's suffering is often exacerbated by natural disasters.


Student ministry in South Asia

  • 5 IFES-affiliated movements
  • 1 unaffiliated movement
  • 4 countries remain to be pioneered
  • largest movement: UESI India, over 30,000 students

Most movements in the region are well established and have a rich history of discipleship and training. At the start of 2012, in response to the need to improve leadership structures, board training events were held. These were well attended and appreciated by every established movement.

Graduate fellowships are a significant strength of most national movements, but graduates are facing challenges such as work pressures and the tendency to go abroad for better careers. Current students face demanding workloads and struggle to make time for activities, camps and bible studies.

Thanks to the developed graduate support, the movements in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are able to raise the majority of their funds locally.


View from the inside

KP Devkota was Regional Secretary for South Asia from 2009 - 2015. He died unexpectedly of a heart attack on 3 June 2015 in Kathmandu.​ KP had a particular passion for pioneering student ministry in difficult contexts. ‘God has put in me a deep burden to activate the pioneering work in South Asia. A good number of contacts in four countries have been made.’

A special passage of scripture for KP was Isaiah 54:2-3: ‘Enlarge the place of your tent … For you shall expand to the right and to the left…’


Please pray:

  • for an opening up of those countries currently closed to the gospel;
  • for renewed vision for board members and staff across the region;
  • for students facing persecution: that their godly lives may draw people to ask them about their faith, and for wisdom about how and when to share the good news with those around them.

Nov 03

A new Regional Secretary for South Asia: getting to know Savithri

Posted by Penny Vinden

We’re very pleased to announce that Savithri Sumanthiran has been appointed Regional Secretary for South Asia. We talked to her about growing up, how she got to know IFES and her time as General Secretary of FOCUS Sri Lanka. It was fascinating! Here are some highlights of that conversation so you can get to know her too.

Aug 11

Flashmob, UESI India-style: dancing for Jesus

UESI India’s Committee Members Training Camp (CMTC) – it is serious business.  For two weeks, we study fundamental biblical doctrines along with the core values and aims of UESI. We grow in maturity as we are encouraged to preach, lead worship, enact skits, play team games and even serve food and clean tables. The camp results in a newfound joy in serving the Lord and creates lifelong bonds between students and senior staff members.

May 05

Art, God’s glory and the gospel – students in India ask some difficult questions

Posted by Penny Vinden

What does God say about the arts? Can you be a Christian and an artist? How can an artist redeem the relationship between artists and the church?

Early this year, six Fine Art students struggled together to answer these questions using kingdom principles. They were part of a ten-day residency organised by UESI India with Art for Change, a foundation who believes that because we are made in the image of a Creator God, creativity is at the core of our being.

Nov 26

The blockade of Nepal’s border

Posted by Penny Vinden

The transport crisis in Nepal; NBCBS Nepal students and staff

Nepal has been suffering for two months under an economic blockade on its border with India. Did you know this? Perhaps not, as so many other crises have dominated media headlines.

But the situation there is extremely serious, especially as the country is still trying to recover from devastating earthquakes last May.

Jun 11

Meeting in secret

Posted by Penny Vinden

Imagine a Christian gathering where you cannot use your real name. You are not supposed to talk to other participants except in one classroom. If you meet in the dining hall, you must act as if you don’t know one another. There are no photos taken, no emails sent, no mention of the event on Facebook. Even though you have travelled to another country for this meeting, there are other people from your country at this venue, so you must be extra cautious.

May 14

Nepali Students swap books for garbage bags

Posted by Penny Vinden


Students preparing to pick up trash. Students distributing supplies. A student in front of her devastated home.

Students in NBCBS Nepal may not be specialists in disaster relief. But when two massive earthquakes hit their country in quick succession, they expressed their love for their neighbours by helping in any way they could.

May 05

God and natural disasters

On my first visit to Nepal in 1989, I was appalled at the grinding poverty in which the vast majority of its citizens lived. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the rich world came to trek, climb the Himalayas or seek some variation of private nirvana. None of this tourist wealth “trickled down” to the poverty-stricken masses huddled on the river banks in Kathmandu or in the remote villages which had neither roads nor healthcare facilities.

Feb 26

Good news on a river boat

Students in UESI India had planned an innovative evangelistic programme for 26 January 2015 – in a house boat (bajra) on the waters of Ganges River! It was a novel attempt to present the gospel to the students of other faiths in a listener-friendly environment.


UESI India: ‘The Bible Refresher Course’

UESI India will conduct ‘The Bible Refresher Course’ for students, staff and friends of UESI.

Nov 25

Dangerous Honesty


IFES South Asia

Savithri Sumanthiran

​Regional Secretary

c/o IFES International Services
5 Blue Boar Street
Oxford OX1 4EE
​United Kingdom

+44 (0)1865 263777

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