RESTORING LIVING HOPE
When a natural disaster strikes it is not only the loss of life and property that are tragic but the loss of hope. As the weeks pass the overwhelming immediate needs for food and shelter give way to the need to rebuild – futures as well as homes.
Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) struck the central provinces of the Philippines on 8 November 2013. More than 16 million people were affected and over four million displaced. Through its own appeal and the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal, Tearfund was able to raise £8.7 million to support its response.
Palo – a municipality just south of the city of Tacloban – was one of the most affected areas, with many losing their homes and livelihoods. Tearfund’s partner Philrads, the relief and development arm of the Philippines Evangelical Church, found that the formation of mutual self- help groups, or Bayanihan, were a very effective way of helping people. With the support of Teraza Living Hope Church, Philrads established a group with fifteen women who had all been struggling to re-establish their livelihoods. They introduced the concept of savings and trained the group members in financial literacy and leadership. Each of the fifteen members received a cash grant of PHP 11,000 (£183) towards their livelihood plan. The women decided to invest 50 per cent of their grant into the group business and use the remainder for their respective individual livelihood projects.
Getting down to business
Most households in the area have poultry and backyard pig farms, but the group realised there were no feed stores nearby. The group developed a business plan to set up a store and worked together to construct the store space, dividing the roles and responsibilities among themselves. The store is strategically located to give easy access to customers. The group makes a profit of PHP 7,000 per month and sales have been growing for the last three months. They now plan to diversify the business and open a meat shop.
The Teraza Living Hope group members enjoy each other’s company and take turns manning their store, chatting while repacking the goods they sell. ‘We journey alongside each other and have now become a close knit group of ladies in the area,’ says Melody, the group secretary. ‘We live close to one another and the Bayanihan has become our constant support group.’
From the devastation a thriving business has risen up and these women are enjoying the fruit of it – a decent living, rich relationships and growing faith.
- Praise God for the restoration of livelihoods that has been achieved in the Philippines through the generosity of thousands of people.
- Pray for this group of women and the many other Bayanihan groups that have been set up, that they would continue to work well and play a significant part in the rebuilding of communities in the Philippines.
- Pray for protection over these communities, which are so vulnerable to hurricanes and typhoons.
SPEAKING OUT AGAINST EXPLOITATION
The 2015 earthquake in Nepal left more than just rubble and debris in its wake. Those who had lost their homes were also left open to trafficking and abuse – especially children. However, using the power of education, a Tearfund partner is helping to protect the most vulnerable.
Nuwakot, a hilly area in the central region of Nepal, was badly affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks. In this region alone 1,000 people were killed and over 1,300 were injured, while 30,000 buildings were destroyed. Even before the earthquake Nuwakot was a high-risk area for child trafficking and sexual abuse. The level of destruction led to fears of an increase in cases, particularly in the town of Katunje, where the only school was completely destroyed. Lower Secondary School, which will be reconstructed during the project.
A temporary learning centre was built, but the space is not big enough and children struggle in the cramped conditions. ‘We wish that every class could finish early so that we can play outside’, says Sunita, one of the children at the school. In response, a local Tearfund partner is building an earthquake resistant school. They are also preparing a teaching programme that will tackle issues such as human trafficking, abuse, early child marriage and gender inequality. These are serious challenges for Nepal, as cases are rarely reported.
Tearfund’s local partner has already formed two children’s clubs to help raise awareness and encourage young people to speak out. The clubs are giving young people the opportunity to come together, address the problems that they face and learn about their rights.
Children from the child club displaying ‘Good Touch Bad Touch’ materials. ‘They saved our lives’ Pramila Adhikari, the children’s club coordinator, added, ‘We are blessed to have such a great opportunity to run child protection training, which is raising the awareness of local children.’ Recently, a child abuse incident occurred in the village and the children involved were able to report the incident to the coordinator of the club – all thanks to the training they had received. Our partner has trained 128 children so far, and are hoping to reach many more.
One of the children involved said: ‘If the training on awareness and counselling did not take place for us, we might be sexually abused, or any type of incident might have occurred. So, I would like to give thanks, because they saved our lives.’
- Lift up all those in Nepal who are still rebuilding following the 2015 earthquakes. Pray for strength, resilience and healing.
- Pray for those in Nepal who have been left vulnerable to abuse. Pray for God’s protection over them, and that awareness of these issues will continue to spread.
- Thank God for our local partners in Nepal, who have been working so sacrificially for the benefit of others. May God continue to bless their work.
UGANDA HOSTING A MILLION SOUTH SUDANESE REFUGEES
The UN has declared that there are now over a million South Sudanese living as refugees in neighbouring Uganda. This is in addition to a similar number displaced within the borders of South Sudan. Reverend Dr. Silvester Arinaitwe, Secretary General of the Uganda Joint Christian Council said: ‘We have welcomed them as brothers and sisters who are experiencing troubled times in their homeland, but most people naturally want to return to South Sudan, their home. We are praying for the restoration of peace.’
A total of 1.8 million people have fled the country since December 2013 when the latest conflict began. Violence against civilians and disruption of livelihoods are the main drivers of the exodus. According to UN officials, refugees are already only receiving half the standard food rations of 12kg of maize a month. Bishop Arkanjelo, Secretary General for the Evangelical Alliance for South Sudan, recently visited the Adjumani camp and says that some refugees are considering returning to South Sudan just to harvest their crops to then bring back to the camp. Earlier this month the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, also visited a camp in the Moyo district where he gave voice to their plight.
‘The Bible tells us that the refugee is specially loved by God,’ said Welby. ‘Which means you who are refugees are specially loved by God, that Jesus himself was a refugee and he loves you and he stands with you and the suffering that you have is the suffering that he knows. So I pray for you, I will advocate for you.’
Uganda also hosts over 275,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and over 52,000 from Burundi. Tearfund’s partner in Uganda, Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG), is arranging health education and sanitation projects in the refugee camps.Meanwhile partners in South Sudan continue to address the needs of those displaced within the country, particularly assisting with food relief.
Andy Morgan, Deputy Head of Tearfund’s East and Southern Africa Team says, ‘The humanitarian and security situation facing the people of South Sudan has forced up to 25% of the population to flee their homes both internally and into neighbouring countries such as Uganda. We join Christians across the region to continue to pray for peace in South Sudan – essential to allow people to be able to return home and live dignified and peaceful lives in the long-run.’
- Please join us in praying for peace in South Sudan.
- Pray for our partners as they seek to love and serve the people of
south Sudan both in country and in the camps of Uganda.
- Pray for all who have had to flee their homes because of the conflict –
pray for comfort, protection and provision.
John Gravett – Tearfund Representative