Turning Dreams into Reality
If you’ve ever needed proof that dreams can come true, you need look no further than the Messak sisters: Nesreen, Mariam and Nermen from Sohag, Egypt. After graduating from university, this sibling trio dreamed of setting up a business together. However, with limited experience and even less money to cover startup costs, their dream looked set to remain just that.
One step closer
Then, one Sunday at church, the sisters heard about vocational training on an International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) course – the world’s leading computer skills certification.
‘We considered this training a step to reach our dream,’ explains Nesreen. ‘But after the training finished, we felt confused. We thought we’d missed something.’
The missing link
It was then that the girls received an invitation from Tearfund partner Council of Services and Development (CSD) to attend a workshop on job-searching skills. It proved to be the missing link they needed.
By the end of the workshop the girls had a clear vision for their business and, crucially, an affordable loan from CSD. They rented an office and set up a business service centre in their city.
Living the dream
Today the sisters are able to pay back their loan, cover their running costs and even set some money aside to, one day, expand their business.
‘Together, we are achieving the dream and the centre is working effectively,’ reports Nesreen.
These three sisters are living proof that through hard work, support and training, dreams can be turned into reality!
- Please Pray:
- Praise God for young people like Nesreen, Mariam and Nermen who dream big and work hard to improve their own lives.
- Pray that their business would continue to grow and serve as an inspiration to other young people in the city.
- Ask that God would provide the resources for CSD to help more young people realise their dreams.
Typhoon Haiyan: Recovering and Ready
Three years on from Typhoon Haiyan, Tearfund is nearing the end of our response programme. In the first two years we have served more than 365,000 people with livelihoods support, constructed typhoon-resistant homes and trained carpenters in appropriate techniques, provided 21 day-care centres where children play and learn safely, and trained communities on how they can plan ahead and be ready for future disasters. On the third anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, we want to remember the people behind the numbers – people like the Miguello family.
When a mango tree uprooted and fell through the bamboo roof of their kitchen, it nearly killed 48-year-old mother of three Lilibeth Miguello. As scrap collectors, her family already lived hand to mouth before Haiyan destroyed their home, so when Tearfund offered them a new typhoon-resistant house, they broke down in tears of joy, thanking God.
‘Our father is much happier because he dreamt of giving us a house,’ Lilibeth’s youngest son explains. ‘Now, this dream is a reality… when strong typhoons come again, we will never be disturbed.’
Planning for the future
The Miguellos are just one of hundreds of families who Tearfund has helped to get back on their feet after the typhoon in both Roxas and Cadiz Cities. But now, in the final year of our response programme, our attention has increasingly turned to supporting the local government to build the long-term resilience of the communities they serve. We are working with them to prepare for future disasters so the impact on communities is reduced.
In Cadiz, the local government are in the process of developing a five-year plan which sets out how they will manage future disasters. This will ensure that disaster risk reduction activities are taken seriously, prioritised, and funded in the local government budget. In addition, a local elementary school – used as an evacuation centre during Typhoon Haiyan – has been identified as an appropriate site for a new, typhoon-resistant evacuation shelter. The new centre will double up as extra classroom space and will serve as a venue for disaster risk reduction training.
The measures taken by the government of Cadiz now will contribute to communities that will be better able to prepare for disasters and recover in the future. Communities will be safer and suffer fewer casualties when disasters hit. In time, it is hoped that this model will be replicated in surrounding cities and that in the long term, more lives will be saved.
- Please Pray:
- Pray for the local Cadiz City government and technical working group, who are in the process of developing a five-year plan which sets out how they will manage future disasters.
- Pray for the successful completion of the new classrooms at Cadiz Viejo Elementary School, which will double up as a training venue and evacuation centre. Pray that the centre will serve to train up many more people on disaster risk reduction measures and that it will save lives in future disasters.
- Pray that surrounding cities and municipalities will be inspired by what the Cadiz authorities are doing and that this model will be replicated elsewhere in Philippines.
Turning a Crisis into a Drama.
South Sudan is a nation in deep crisis, with children particularly vulnerable. But now a group of children are helping to bring health and restoration to the country – through drama! South Sudan now has more than 1m people living as refugees in neighbouring countries. A further 1.6 million people live in makeshift conditions within the country, having fled their permanent homes to escape violence. The economy is collapsing, with inflation at over 700%, ongoing conflict, and failed harvests, with an outbreak of Cholera sweeping through parts of the country.
How did we get here? The South Sudanese voted for independence from Sudan in 2011. However, having gained it, the country descended into a civil war just two years later. The war officially ended when a peace agreement was signed in late 2015, but violence between the warring parties continues across the country – the worst affected being the poorest and most vulnerable. The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Nicholas Haysom, fears the crisis could worsen if the unrest continues: ‘I fear for the South Sudanese people, but for the wider region as well. The impact in terms of refugees, in terms of economic stability in the region, will be awful.’
Acting it out/h2>
Tearfund and our partners are working with communities in two locations in South Sudan to help alleviate the malnutrition crisis among children under five and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. It’s vital they get the nutrients they need, but also the protection from water-borne disease, which robs their bodies of these vital nutrients and exacerbates their malnutrition.
We’re helping provide communities with clean, accessible drinking water, and also teaching them how to protect themselves from the causes of these diseases. A great success story has been the work of School Hygiene Clubs. Members of the club receive training on hygiene promotion and drama skills encouraging others to change their behaviour to protect themselves from disease and malnutrition.
They also act as pioneers maintaining the cleaning of the school compound and latrines to set good examples for the other students. Some students go to the markets and churches to do drama performances so that the general public can learn good hygiene practices. Bayak Gai is a School Health Club captain at Werbek Primary School, Jonglei, and is proud of what is being done to promote hygiene awareness: ‘We are committed to help our classmates and community to practice personal hygiene – like handwashing at critical moments and the proper use of latrines – which are good for their health.’
So far the whole project has helped more than 3,000 students across four schools, and the hope is that it will grow and benefit many more.
- Please Pray:
- Pray for peace to take hold and that leaders would be raised up who will prioritise the welfare of the people of South Sudan. As the international community tries to work with the South Sudan government to find a way forward, pray that creative and workable solutions to the economic crisis would be found.
- Pray for the continued success of the School Hygiene Clubs and their use of drama, teaching good and healthy living practices.
A Fresh Start thanks to Life-changing Loos
On average, if you’re a UK citizen, you’ll use it around six times a day, yet you’ll barely give it a second thought. However, for some people around the world, having a toilet is a really big deal. The village of Manno is situated along the Maikha River in Kachin State, Myanmar. It is home to over 300 people, 60 households and, until recently, hardly any loos. The flimsy toilets that did exist often collapsed in the rainy season.
For 55-year-old farmer La Kai Zaw Ohn who had nine mouths to feed and five children to put through school, this was a constant source of frustration. Much of his time would be spent rebuilding the family’s collapsed toilet, taking him away from essential work in the fields. His children would also often have diarrhoea as a result of their toilet being washed away. Since many people in the village had the same problem, the village committee decided to ask Tearfund partner World Concern Myanmar for help.
World Concern Myanmar and Manno Village Development Committee joined forces to resolve their toilet troubles: together, they subsidised the latrine pans and pipes, and paid for cement to secure the structure. The village committee provided the labour, wood and around £4 towards construction.
Feeling flush Today, Manno village has strong, secure and permanent toilets and La Kai Zaw Ohn’s family are feeling the benefits.
‘We do not need any effort or costs to rebuild our toilet every year,’ says La Kai Zaw Ohn. ‘The toilet is standardised and fly-proof, and my children do not get diarrhoea anymore. I am really thankful.’ Sometimes, all development needs is a toilet.
- Please Pray:
- Praise God for the humble toilet! It may seem crass but the toilet is one of the biggest contributors to health and hygiene in the world today. Give thanks for Manno Village Development Committee working Tearfund-supported project World Concern Myanmar to provide their own solutions to their problems. Currently around one third of the world’s population lack access to a toilet.
- Pray that Tearfund partners would reach more people with this basic and life-saving commodity.
John Gravett – Tearfund Representative