Back to School in Uganda
At this time many of us have been busy getting the children, or ourselves, back into a new term and a new year – perhaps even a brand new school, college or university. Sometimes with all the preparation, it’s easy to forget to be grateful for the education available to us.
In Uganda things are very different. Although the government has been able to provide a programme of primary education, the quality varies, with some class sizes exceeding a hundred students. There is also a shortage of secondary education.
For the most part the varying standard of education is simply accepted in Uganda as a fact of life. But Tearfund has noticed something happening among the communities it works with through its Church and Community Mobilisation process (CCMP). Run in partnership with the Pentecostal Assemblies of God, the CCMP works through local churches to help people realise how they can create their own solutions to the problems of poverty.
Improving education is not a specific objective of the CCMP, but we’ve found that as people realise their own ability to change their economic situation, their aspirations around education also change. Tearfund research carried out in Soroti, Serere and Kasilo Districts last year investigated these education outcomes. So far the region has seen 72 schools set up or supported by churches, communities and individuals participating in the CCMP.
For example, at Orimai government school, the church community, after completing the CCMP, lobbied for and secured better school buildings. Favour School was founded by a church after CCMP, and Emmanuel School by a couple who had done CCMP and had a desire to see improvements in education.
Thanks to your support, people’s lives are changing completely as a result of CCMP – in even more ways than expected! Tearfund is now looking to give further support and guidelines
- Please Pray:
- Give thanks for the way the Lord is using CCMP to increase the aspirations and confidence of people in Uganda.
- Pray for wisdom and opportunities for Tearfund to support CCMP participants looking to improve local education,
- Lift up the 72 new or supported schools in Soroti, Serere and Kasilo Districts. Ask that the children will be blessed and encouraged to attain their God-given potential.
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.
Hope on Four Hooves
Was your dad ever your hero? For years, Husein* was just that for his wife and eight children. Every day he would climb mountains to collect heavy piles of wood to make a living.
The family had spent years as refugees in Pakistan. When they returned home to Chiras, a village in Afghanistan, life was very hard. ‘We had to start all over again,’ Husein explains, ‘We could hardly provide the daily needs for our families.’ Eventually Husein became too old and weak to climb the mountains and carry wood. Without an alternative livelihood, their situation seemed hopeless.
Here to Serve
But, thanks to your support and prayers, Tearfund partner Serve Afghanistan was able to help. They gave one goat to each of the 50 poorest families in the village, along with training in animal care and using goat’s milk.
A year later, Husein’s goat gave birth to two baby goats. One was given back to the project, while Husein kept the other. ‘My goat then gave birth again,’ says Husein proudly. He now has 11 goats and one ‘billy goat’ to hire out for breeding.
A brighter future
Things are now very different in Chiras village. Children have improved nutrition thanks to the fresh milk. As the community has become more skillful in making and selling milk products, such as cheese, families can now afford to send their children to school. Importantly the villagers know that, although initially supported by Serve Afghanistan, they have worked through the problems of poverty themselves, and they are now leading the programme.
‘My whole family is so thankful for these changes in our lives!’ says Husein. ‘We can’t imagine how things would have been if Serve Afghanistan had not come to our area.’
* Name changed to protect identity
- Please Pray:
- Give thanks for Serve Afghanistan’s work and ask God that it would be able to bring hope to more villages such as Chiras.
- Give thanks for people like Husein working tirelessly to support their families. Pray that Afghans living in poverty would be able to take control of their lives and build brighter futures.
- Lift up the country of Afghanistan and pray for long-term peace, security and recovery from the years of war.
The Loo that brought Health and Wealth for Aunty Vichet
Not having a toilet can be very expensive. Aunty Vichet* is a widow living with her mother and teenage niece in Veay Chhneah village, about 37km south of Phnom Penh City in Cambodia. Together the family was spending the equivalent of $150-200 USD (£112-£150) almost every year in medical expenses. The repeated illnesses in the family were a direct result of having no latrine and having to go to the toilet outside in the open near their house.
In Cambodia this arrangement is not as shocking and unusual as it sounds. Just under 20 per cent of people live below the poverty line in the country, and this often stops people having basic necessities like adequate sanitation. A lack of latrines is the most common factor related to poor health and sickness in the country.
But things changed when Tearfund’s partner, World Renew, began supporting Aunty Vichet’s local church, which selected her to be a self-help group member. As a member Aunty Vichet was invited to attend meetings and training on many topics, including health education.
After training, she and her family decided they wanted to build their own latrine and apply what she had learnt about health and sanitation. World Renew helped by providing some of the necessary labour and materials. Now the family gets sick far less often. Aunty Vichet also saved the money they would have spent on health care to fulfil her long-time dream of starting a small business, and this helps her continue paying for her niece’s education.
Thank you so much for supporting our work so that hygiene programmes like this can reach out and help the people that need it most. For this family a humble loo really has been the answer to health and wealth.
* Name has been changed to protect identity
- Please Pray:
- Pray for further improvement in hygiene and sanitation for families across Cambodia and ask that Tearfund partners will be able to reach even more people with their work.
- Ask for blessing on Aunty Vichet’s business and her efforts to keep her niece in school.
- Lift up people in Cambodia who have received new facilities and training. Ask that they will continue the new practices they’ve learnt and promote them to others.
John Gravett – Tearfund Representative