Big Jobs for Little Ones
Think about some of the children you know. Where will they be today? Maybe they’re at school, with their families or playing with their friends. But for too many children, today is a workday. There are an estimated 246 million child labourers around the world.
Nazeeb from India was 14 when the men knocked on the door of his home. They offered him a job for 6,000 Rupees (£60) a month. He had just left school to provide for his family. This was exactly the break he had been hoping for. There was one catch: he would have to go with the men to work in Punjab. But, his mother was told, there would be food and lodgings. And he would be able to send money home every month.
Once Nazeeb reached Punjab the reality was very different. He worked 21 hours a day in a zip factory with 11 other workers. They were locked in all week and had to sleep inside the cramped factory at night. Worst of all, they weren’t paid – Nazeeb was the victim of traffickers and was now a slave. Nazeeb grew weak and then ill. The factory manager refused to take him to hospital. Finally Nazeeb managed to borrow the train fare home, and fled. Thanks to the work of Tearfund partner EHA, Nazeeb is now safe, well and he and his family are able to make a living safely in their own village. They’re also wise to the dangers of traffickers. But hundreds of thousands more children are still trapped – let’s pray.
A prayer for child labourers
Thank you for giving us a childhood – a time to learn, grow and play. We lift up to you all those children who are suffering as a result of child labour. Be with them, and work through us your church to set them free. We pray you’ll move in the hearts of traffickers, business owners and those in positions of power, inspiring them to bring the practice of child labour to an end. And we pray for an end to the poverty that makes children and families vulnerable to exploitation in this way.
In the name of your son,
‘We only have God right now’: praying for the Yazidis
As a Yazidi, 21-year-old Araz had to flee her village to escape IS. “We just ran, we were so afraid. Some women left their babies, as they couldn’t carry them. They killed our men, took our children, everything,” she says. “There was no water to give to their children. I saw one mother cut her wrist so her child could drink her blood, afraid that her child would die of thirst.”
Araz is among a group of homeless Yazidis living in tents in Iraq. Life now boils down to an extremely basic existence, where the adults distract the children from the hardships of life and want outsiders to tell the world what they are going through.
“We want people to know. We are also humans. Why would they [IS] do this to us? We only have God right now. I always pray to God in the morning,” says Araz. “I want to return to school, I’m always thinking about it. I want to study so I can help my people in some way. Before all this happened I wanted to be a teacher.”
Tearfund is helping Araz and the other families camped with her by giving them money for basic needs. Araz has used her allocation to pay for healthcare, clothes, shoes and jackets. But with so many people displaced and no end in sight to their suffering, the need is great.
Please pray. ‘We’re thankful for those who pray for us Yazidis,’ says Araz*. ‘I’m praying for you.’
- It can be hard to know what to pray in the face of such suffering. Spend some time praying or listening to God as you feel led.
- Pray for Araz. Thank God for her courage and her desire to help others. Pray that she will be able to return to her studies in the future.
- Thank God for our staff and partners as they share his love practically among Araz’s community and others like it. Pray for God’s blessing and protection over their work. And please pray for real and permanent peace in the Middle East.
* Name changed to protect her identity.
DRC: In the shadow of war
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been plagued by conflict for many years, with warring rebel groups refusing to lay down arms. Since 2010, around 6 million people have been killed and many hundreds kidnapped. It rarely makes the news, but the conflict in the DRC has never really gone away. In Beni, north-east DRC, the situation has become so bad that thousands of families have fled their villages. They are now living in temporary encampments where conditions are dire.
“People in these camps lack adequate shelter, with many sleeping on the floor. Because they ran for their lives, many have just the clothes on their back,” says Tearfund’s David McAllister who heads up Tearfund’s work in the DRC.
The situation has been exacerbated by escalating conflict in the neighbouring country of Burundi, which has forced thousands of people over the border into the DRC.
“The needs of people fleeing conflict are very practical. They are desperate for water and containers to store it in,” says David. “They also need food and cooking utensils. Our partners are doing all they can to meet these needs, as well as continue their long-term development work around the country. Please keep them in your prayers.”
- Pray that all those whose hearts are set on violence and conflict in the DRC will allow God to move in their hearts, inspiring them to lay down arms and work towards peace and stability.
- Lift up in prayer Tearfund’s partners in the DRC who are using their skills and resources to help people overcome the effects of conflict and poverty.
- Please continue to pray for lasting peace in the DRC as well as in Burundi. Presidential elections are due to take place in 2016. Please pray for a peaceful run up, and a fair and transparent process.
A fairer Society in Guatemala
Guatemala needs our prayers as ongoing protests erupt in cities across the country. Accusations of corruption within the government have led to a cabinet reshuffle and the resignation of the vice-president. Corruption and lack of good governance is a problem across Guatemala. Often indigenous groups, who make up 40 per cent of the country’s population, do not have access to the basic services they need, such as healthcare and education.
Tearfund’s partner Asociación Vida is helping rural indigenous people in Guatemala to advocate for their rights through community councils. As a result, many communities now have better access to healthcare, education and land rights.
One of Asociación Vida’s biggest successes was successfully advocating for indigenous Mayan midwives to be included in the official healthcare system. Recently, one community council has been able to prosecute teachers who were using school funds for personal expenses. Asociación Vida is also helping many churches in indigenous areas to respond practically to their communities’ unmet needs. Mount Horeb Church in Patzún, for example, has started a literacy and carpentry training centre to give people the skills they need to earn a better living. “To see the outworking of God’s love in the lives of the poorest, most oppressed and most vulnerable is wonderful,” says Vida’s Director, Axel Suquén. “The support of Tearfund has been a blessing to thousands of people.”
As Guatemala grapples with its biggest political crisis since the end of its civil war in 1996, let’s pray for good governance to prevail in all areas of its society.
- Pray that the protests will remain peaceful and will provide Guatemala’s government with the opportunity to tackle corruption at every level.
- Give thanks for Tearfund’s partner Asociación Vida, and pray that more people will come to know and experience God’s love through their work.
- Please pray for Honduras, Guatemala’s neighbour, which is also currently being rocked by demonstrations over corruption allegations.
You may have sent a gift to Tear Fund at the height of the Ebola crisis in West Africa. If you did this is what you helped to achieve.
Six months on and, helped by your gift and prayers, Liberia – one of the countries worst hit by the outbreak – has been declared Ebola free! And more west African countries are on course to do the same. Praise God! Generous donations like yours have helped thousands of communities through Tearfund’s Christian partners in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Your support has helped to:
- provide hygiene kits to 4,775 people, targeting the most vulnerable community members including pregnant women, older people and people with disabilities
- distribute emergency food rations such as rice, oil and canned food to 16,733 Ebola survivors, people held in quarantine and children left orphaned by the outbreak
- teach 188,061 people in vulnerable communities how to reduce the risk of contracting Ebola through good hygiene practices
- provide psychosocial support to 18,727 people traumatised by the outbreak, including bereaved families and Ebola survivors
“The psychosocial support has really helped me to cope with my situation and trauma. I have come to realise that there is still hope for me and my son,” says Solomanie from Liberia. Both Solomanie and his son, Alimandi, aged 13, survived an Ebola infection, but his wife and his mother sadly died from the disease. Solomanie and Alimandi were left traumatised by what they witnessed in the Ebola clinic: trapped in one room with dozens of other patients – men, women and children – many of whom died of Ebola. When they were discharged, Solomanie and Alimandi found that their lives had collapsed. Their neighbours tried to stop them moving back home and Solomanie lost his job as a construction worker. This was the desperate situation in which Tearfund partner Association of Evangelicals of Liberia (AEL) found them. Thanks to generous support from people like you, the AEL team were able to help them move to a safe community, give them food and essential household items and provide Solomanie and Alimandi with trauma counselling. “Before I received support I was disappointed, hopeless and discouraged – especially when I lost my wife to Ebola. I am grateful to God, AEL and Tearfund. I now live with hope and feel better in my community.”
On behalf of Solomanie and Alimandi, and many thousands of others severely affected by Ebola, we’d like to thank you again for your gift and prayers. Your generous support is helping communities to cope. The trauma and loss of livelihoods caused by the outbreak will be felt for many years to come. Please continue to pray for affected families in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Yours in Christ
John Gravett – Tearfund Representative