Wara, the miracle Ebola survivor!
The 2013 Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history, affecting thousands and causing huge loss of life. Even though there has been extensive devastation, there is, however, still great hope. Wara lives in Sierra Leone. She contracted Ebola when her daughter was just one month old. Wara was taken to the Ebola treatment unit though, like many others, she struggled to overcome the virus and was officially declared dead. But at her burial, there was a great surprise! As the pastor prayed over her body, everyone heard a faint sneeze. Wara was alive! Wara received treatment for the virus again and eventually overcame the illness. Many in the community were amazed and now refer to Wara as ‘God’s Miracle’!
Before Ebola, Wara had a successful business and was the breadwinner for her family. But since the virus, many individuals like Wara have had to rebuild their lives starting new businesses in order to provide for their families. Thanks to one of our Tearfund partners, Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone, Wara has received skills training and a loan to restart her business. Wara’s business is doing amazingly well; she initially started selling candy but the business has grown so much that she now sells cooking oil too. ‘The training was vital! I have a different way of thinking,’ says Wara, ‘I’ve even bought a fridge!’
Now Wara owns the first fridge in her community and plans to sell cold soft drinks in her own shop. Despite having the physical and emotional scars of surviving Ebola, Wara is using her new skills and optimism to keep moving forward. Thanks to your support, the skills that Wara has gained have given her a new sense of confidence and renewed hope for the future!
- Please Pray:
- Praise God for such an amazing testimony, and that Wara and her baby girl are now free from Ebola.
- Pray for those who have lost family members and loved ones. Pray that God will comfort them even in the most difficult circumstances.
- Lift up those who are rebuilding their lives and homes. Ask that God would give them renewed strength, determination and hope.
Self-Help groups in Ethiopia: Emergency Response
Tearfund has been developing self-help groups in Ethiopia for many years, and has seen 330,000 families transform their lives. Now this long-term development approach is gearing up to respond in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. The worst drought in 50 years has resulted in more than 10.2 million people needing food assistance.
Members of self-help groups have been adamant that they do not want handouts. They have discovered that they can proactively change their own lives and they want to avoid dependence on others. However, with the severity of the current drought they are seeing their crops failing, their livestock dying and their resources depleting. They don’t want the gains they’ve made to be put into jeopardy. The self-help groups, partners and Tearfund have developed a response to the drought that keeps the decision-making and power with the local communities. Tearfund is providing emergency cash grants of £342 to some of the worst hit self-help groups, which will decide as a group how to manage the money. With drought being a common occurrence in Ethiopia it is important for people who are affected to have better ways of preparing and coping. Tearfund is also facilitating a participative approach that enables self-help groups to identify their own vulnerabilities and develop creative solutions. We want to help people learn how to solve their problems themselves.
- Please Pray:
- Pray for people in Ethiopia as they face drought and food shortages. Pray that rain would come at the right time and in a reasonable quantity.
- Praise God that self-help group members are able to be active participants in responding to their own needs.
- Pray for the self-help groups, partners and Tearfund as we implement this innovative approach for the first time in Ethiopia. Pray for mutual support as we learn and improve throughout the process.
Baby blessing for Meriana
Meriana and her husband have lost three babies in three years – all in the first few days of life. During those pregnancies Meriana had no medical support and gave birth at home in unsanitary conditions. The couple live in a very poor village, Nyakahongola in Tanzania, and they did not know the importance of antenatal and postnatal care.
Two years ago, Tearfund partner the Africa Inland Church Tanzania’s Geita Diocese started a community health project in the village. A volunteer from the project visited Meriana and her husband to explain to them why they needed support during and after pregnancy as well as the help of a medically-trained attendant at the birth. Meriana was pregnant once again and feared she would lose the child just like the others, so they were keen to understand how to give their next baby the best start in life. Meriana was five months pregnant when she and her husband attended their first antenatal clinic. They were tested for HIV and both found to be positive. To reduce the risk of transmission to their unborn child, they agreed to take antiviral medicines.
Thanks to this intervention, they now have a healthy baby girl. ‘My babies were dying because we did not know about maternal health. This project has freed me from my sorrow.’ Now Meriana is an ambassador for the project, encouraging other women like her to attend clinics before and after birth.
- Please Pray:
- Pray for the continued health of Meriana’s baby girl – that she would grow and thrive.
- Ask that more women in Nyakahongola would be inspired by Meriana’s story and example and seek medical help during pregnancy.
- Pray that the Tanzanian church will be strengthened to speak out about issues such as HIV and improving poor communities’ access to health services.
Driven by fear, touched by kindness in Greece
Sixteen-year-old Tarek wasn’t far from his home in Syria when he was stopped by ISIS militants. They questioned him, and, when they found out he was Kurdish, he was captured. Tarek was terrified. He was beaten so hard that he still bears the scars on his shoulders. His captors contacted Tarek’s family and demanded money for his release, saying they would kill him if payment wasn’t made. His family managed to raise the ransom money, and Tarek returned home injured and traumatised. Even more fearful than before, Tarek and his two sisters made the difficult decision to flee. They journeyed from Syria to Turkey, where they made the dangerous crossing to Lésvos, Greece, and then to a refugee camp in Athens.
Tarek and his sisters were scared during the ten-day journey. But their fear of taking to the sea on a crowded, flimsy boat was nothing compared to their fear of ISIS, and their desperation drove them on. Like so many others, Tarek and his sisters haven’t yet made it further than the refugee camp. They were hoping to move on to Belgium where they have family, but haven’t been able to. ‘We have decided to apply for asylum in Greece,’ says Tarek. ‘There are good people here.’ In the meantime, these three teenagers are in limbo. Thankfully, they’re also among more than 150,000 people affected by the current refugee crisis who have been helped by our partners, thanks to your prayers and support. Tarek and his sisters get a hot meal every day thanks to our partner, Operation Mobilisation. The meals are prepared, packed and distributed by local church volunteers, and make a huge difference to people like Tarek* – both physically and emotionally. ‘They distribute the food so kindly,’ he says.
*Name changed to protect his identity
- Please Pray:
- Our prayers and actions can feel like a drop in the ocean amid such a tragic crisis, but thank God that he can use them to bring hope and comfort.
- Pray for those in power as they work towards a sustainable solution to this complex situation affecting so many lives. Pray that a way forward will be found.
- As conflict and violence drive more and more people from their homes, please continue to pray to our great God for a breakthrough of peace in Syria, Iraq and other countries in turmoil.
- Pray for Tarek and so many others like him whose lives and hopes have been so unfairly turned upside down.
- Pray for a better future.
John Gravett – Tearfund Representative