Thursday, 2 December 2010

Tis the season to be jolly...

  ... and to eat, drink and be merry in the company of those we love. Larders are stocked with enough food to feed an army and enough drink to float a battleship. Christmas trees stand, tall and proud, bright coloured packages piled high around the base.

For many of us, the most difficult part of Christmas is choosing a present for everyone on our list. The kids are easy, of course; they know what they want and they’re not shy about telling everyone. But what about Uncle Fred, who surely doesn’t need MORE socks, and Aunt Sally, whose diet means she REALLY won’t thank you for a big box of chocolates. Grandma hasn’t space for any more china ornaments and everyone has all the books, CDs and DVDs they want already.

So how can you let them know they are all in your thoughts and your heart this Christmas?

World In Need has a solution to your problem. Why not buy a gift that honours your loved one by enriching the lives of people who have little or nothing?

We have a variety of gifts, ranging from chickens for families in Sierra Leone to blankets for those facing the harsh winters of Afghanistan, from desks for our school in Pakistan to goats for Uganda and cows for Kenya, from rice for Nepal to veterinary medicines for Jordan.

Gifts start at just £2 (about $3) and you can be sure they’ll be gratefully received and much appreciated.
Your loved one will receive a (certificate) with our heartfelt thanks, and people in the developing world will have reason to celebrate along with you.

For a full list of the gifts we offer you can email us at info@worldinneed.co.uk

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Pakistan, an eye witness account

The details here were sent to us by our representative in the area. He also took the photographs.

Our representative visited villages, towns and hastily set up refugee camps in Nowshera, Risalpur and Attock. What he found was dreadful misery. Homes had been destroyed and with them all the possessions the people had managed to accumulate. Clothes, children's toys, family photographs, everything.

It is estimated that 20 millions are now homeless. That is equivalent to every third person in Britain. If you're with two friends right now, one of you has just lost everything. How does that feel?

Our representative found thirty five families living together in a Christian school in Nowshera. They have no food or clean water, and nowhere else to go. Children cry in pain, hunger and bewilderment.

The floods have spread to Multan and Sindh provinces. Cities and villages have been razed to the ground by the force of the waters. There is nothing left.

The clean up and emergency aid operations are going to be massive, probably the biggest operations of their kind any of us has ever faced. God willing, the biggest we will ever face.

The immediate needs are to provide food and clean water, and prevent diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentry. But there will be other needs. Time is not our friend. With the coming of winter, the weather will turn cold and harsh. Shelters and warm clothing will be needed. People weakened, disspirited and disheartened will stand no chance against the snows and bitter winds. It is imperative that we do all we can before the weather turns.

Please help. The smallest amounts are gratefully received.

You can send cheques and money orders to

Pakistan Emergency Relief
World In Need
Trinity House
Mill Crescent
Crowborough
East Sussex
TN6 2QU
England

or you can donate with credit and debit cards by phoning 01892 669834, or through Paypal or Sage by visiting our website http://www.worldinneed.co.uk/

Further details and answers to your questions can be found at mark@worldinneed.co.uk

This is the worst disaster we've ever dealt with. We cannot stress enough how bad things are. Please don't leave the people of Pakistan to suffer on their own.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Pakistan needs help, now and in future

You will no doubt have seen the pictures and heard the news of the total carnage in Pakistan caused by the worst flooding in 80 years. Much of the "land of the pure" has been washed away including whole communities, their arable land and communication infrastructures.

People are homeless, some temporarily, others watched helplessly as their homes were washed away, along with all their goods, clothes, livestock and everything else they own.

Others are sleeping with their animals, drinking contaminated water and leaving themselves open to terrible diseases such as cholera, dysentry, botulism and typhoid.

The UN estimate 14 million people are affected. Pakistan's government puts the figure at 20 million. Whichever figure is accurate, the suffering is huge, unprecedented, and we at WIN are bound and determined to do what we can to alleviate it.

Obviously, the first thing on our to do list is an emergency relief effort. People need food, fresh water, clothing, blankets, shelter. In this instance, we are asking our supporters to offer money rather than goods, as things can be bought more cheaply in the area, which has added bonuses of shoring up a ruined economy and avoiding the cost of shipping goods out. It's also quicker. We can also arrange for medicines and other needs to be met in this way.

Once the floods recede, the problem will not be solved. Many people will have no homes to return to, no livelihoods. These will all have to be rebuilt froms cratch, as will roads, hospitals, schools and other parts of the infrastructure. Communications systems will need repair. The top soil will need relaying to make the farm lands viable again, wells will need to be purified so that water is fit to drink. Until the people can replace the crops they lost, and grow more, we will need to provide food and other basic necessities.

World In Need has people who work in Peshawar and Islamabad. They know the area and the people. With our help, their input to the rescue operation can be massive.


If you feel you can help in this matter, please stop and do so. You may think the amount you can give is tiny, but please believe, every penny makes a difference. And if you are a UK tax payer, we can also gift aid the amount, which allows us to reclaim the tax from the Government.
You can send donations to:

World In Need
Trinity Hall
Mill Crescent
Crowborough
East Sussex
TN6 2QU
England

or to mark@worldinneed.co.uk. Cheques to be made payable to World In Need with a cover note restricting the gift to the World In Need Pakistan emergency aid appeal. You can also donate by phone on 01892 669834 during office hours.

'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Matthew 25:40)

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Weather related disasters "affect women more"

With recent events in Pakistan, the relationship between climate change and natural disasters is becoming increasingly prevalent. Climate change affects us globally, however it cannot be forgotten that some suffer more than others....

In particular, it is important to view climate change as a gender 'issue' which has different effects for men and women. According to the Women's Environmental Network (WEN) women make up 70 per cent of the global poor. Weather-related disasters cause displacement, increased poverty, health problems and vulnerability of which women are more susceptible.

The gendered roles of men and women in developing countries mean that women are typically responsible for collecting water and fuel, a task which becomes increasingly difficult after weather-related disasters. As a result of the increased work load and inaccessibility to clean water, women experience severe health risks particularly during pregnancy or old age.

Such disasters and increasing poverty as a result naturally lead to discontent which often manifests itself in the form of conflict and sexual violence, of which women and children predominately pay the price. WEN predicts that 10,000 women are dying each year from weather-related disasters, compared to 4,500 male deaths.

There are two fundamental ways in which we can help those affected by such disasters: to help minimise the impact of climate change and to support those already affected. World In Need has a fair trade website called http://www.worldinneed.ethictrade.com/ and in the USA http://www.tradeasone.com/ which supports ethical trading and empowers the poor in the Third World.

World In Need also offers the chance to sponsor a child overseas for £20 per month, which helps educate and prepares them to climb out of the poverty trap. You can also sponsor a family for £30 per month, empowering women to feed their families with more security.

Friday, 30 July 2010

A nightmare situation

World In Need works in Northern Pakistan, in the area around Peshawar, one of the most dangerous places in the world. Close to troubled Afghanistan, plagued by the Pakistani Taliban, the area often makes the news for all the wrong reasons. Crime is rife, and profitable.


One crime has proved lucrative to petty criminals and ideological terrorists alike, and that is the crime of kidnapping for ransom. People are snatched off the street, held, threatened, then returned to their families on payment of large sums of money. The authorities do what they can both to prevent this happening, and to bring the perpetrators to justice, but they fight a losing battle, hindered by the teeming streets and crowded dwellings of the city, and by the vast areas and rugged landscape of more rural parts.

Unfortunately, the threats against the kidnap victims are not idle. If ransoms are not paid, people die.

Last week, a young woman walked home from a day of studying at her university. She is a bright woman, full of promise and potential, exactly the kind of person Pakistan needs if it is to have a good future. This woman also happened to be the daughter of World In Need’s director in Northern Pakistan.

She didn’t make it to her home that night. She simply vanished and her distraught father found himself looking at a ransom demand that asked for $10,000 (£6,500). An incredible amount of money in a country where the average weekly wage is just $50.

Three tense days of negotiation and prayer passed. At last, the kidnappers accepted the father’s word that he would raise the ransom and deliver it to the kidnappers. On his promise, the girl was released, unharmed. Steps are now being taken to ensure she remains safe in the future.

Her father must now find and pay the ransom. Not to do so would leave him, his family, friends and colleagues open to reprisals for breaking his word, and would make it difficult for other victims to negotiate their safe release in future.

The World In Need family will not leave him to struggle with this alone. We need to raise this money, and we need to do it quickly.

Can you help? Even a small donation would be welcomed. A pound here and a pound there will mount up.

On this blog, we have always sought to give information about our work, and to raise awareness of what we do. We have rarely made direct appeals for money. That we are doing it now underlines the gravity of the situation.

Please, if you can, help us to pay this ransom. Lives do depend upon it.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Uganda

On Sunday July 12th, all over the world, people were watching a football match, the World Cup Final between Spain and the Netherlands. Four minutes from the end of extra time, Spain scored, securing victory. Seconds later, for fans watching at two venues in Kampala, the result ceased to matter.


Bombs ripped apart the Ethiopian Village Restaurant, a nightspot popular with foreign visitors, and the Lugogo Rugby club. 76 people died. Many more were injured.

Responsibility for the attacks was quickly claimed by al-Shabaab, a fundamentalist Islamist group based in the troubled country of Somalia where Uganda, as part of the African Union, has sent peacekeeping troops. Al-Shabaab wants to see the withdrawal of these troops.

The group, which claims links to al-Qaeda, takes its name from the Arabic for “young men”. It has proved itself vicious and deadly before – in Somalia itself, members of the group have attacked the minority Christian population, destroying their businesses and killing them, even beheading them. They have been increasingly active, but this is their deadliest attack so far outside Somalia, and by attacking Uganda, they have hit a country with troubles enough of its own.

Although Uganda is the third largest economy in Africa, there is still much poverty and hardship amongst the people. Families struggle to make ends meet, and children are unable to go to school. For some, it is worse than plain poverty, with children at risk of abduction by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). This “Christian” group has proved itself just as vicious as al-Shabaab, with crimes including child slavery and mass murder. Some children as young as eight years old are forced by them to become fighters and killers, others are sold for the sex trade.

World In Need works in Uganda. In the north, the area most affected by the LRA, our leader is George Amoli. A clergyman and farmer, George visits displacement camps, gives pastoral support to the people and runs our child sponsorship programme. The welfare and healing needs of children rescued from the LRA is close to his heart, and he has actually adopted eight such children himself. He is in the process of finding funds to set up a farm, which will provide an income enabling him to build a school and orphanage, so even more children can be helped, and so the project can become self-sustaining.

In the south, we have John Kukiriza. He is a pastor, running a church near Kampala, and also runs a child sponsorship programme for us. He currently ministers to nineteen children who have been sponsored by WIN supporters.

WIN’s dream for the children of Uganda is that they should grow up in a safe and nurturing environment, where their basic needs are met and they are able to fulfil their full potential. Poverty, civil war and vicious groups like the LRA and al-Shabaab make the job harder, but thanks to men like George and John, these things will be overcome and the dream become reality.

If you’d like to know more about our work in Uganda, the difference it makes and the many ways in which you can help, please email info@worldinneed.co.uk

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

An Incredible talent

Azerbaijan is a small country to the east of Turkey, at the very south of the old Soviet Union. After the break up of the USSR, Azerbaijan was involved in a war with neighbouring Armenia, and this resulted in hardship and poverty for many as people were forced to flee their homes. Whole families seeking shelter and safety have found themselves living in one single room, cooking in hallways and sharing toilets with other families. World In Need has been working with these people, sponsoring children and helping where we can.

The Qahramanova family is one of many that World In Need has worked with. As with all our families, sponsorship enables the children to go to school and gives them a chance to achieve their fullest potential. And for one of the Qahramanova children, that potential is great indeed.

16 year old Nigar has an incredible musical talent. Her skills at the piano are world class, and next month she is coming to the UK to take part in the Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artists Competition.
While she is here, she has agreed to do two recitals in aid of World In Need’s work in her country. The first will take place at All Saints Church, Crowborough on Friday 23rd July, and the second at Christ Church in Tunbridge Wells, on Saturday 24th July.

Nigar’s is a rare talent which has blossomed and grown despite adversity and poverty. At World In Need we want to work to nurture and develop it, bringing it to full bloom.

Tickets for the recitals, as well as further details, can be obtained by contacting the World In Need office at info@worldinneed.co.uk, or by phoning 01892 669834.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

International art on display at Village Hall!

World In Need attempts to help people in some of the poorest places on earth by enabling those people to help themselves. Our work is geared towards this – sponsored children receive an education that enables them to achieve their fullest potential, and train for careers that would otherwise be denied to them. We also have feeding programmes in areas such as Sierra Leone, where malnutrition is a huge threat, as well as orphanages and shelters for street children, and many other projects.

One of the ways we help people to become self sustaining is by enabling them to create merchandise, which we then bring to wider attention.

You can see some of that merchandise this Saturday, 19th June, at Maresfield Village Hall, from 1.30pm to 5pm.

As well as handcrafted jewellery and pashminas from India, there are hand made carpets and rugs from Afghanistan, woven bookmarks from Turkey, cookery books giving traditional Kenyan recipes and oil paintings created by children in our day care centre in Kabul.

90% of all money raised by the sale of these items is sent back to the country of origin and used to support the building of self sufficient communities.

At the exhibition in Maresfield, as well as the merchandise and works of art on display, there will also be opportunity to see what we’ve been doing in our projects in places such as Kenya, Afghanistan and India.

So do come and join us, Saturday 19th June, 1.30pm to 5pm at Maresfield Village Hall and see the work of people we support. Entry is free and tea and cake is provided.

Maresfield is off the A26, between Uckfield and Crowborough.

Further details: mark@worldinneed.co.uk

Monday, 7 June 2010

Caring for street children in Nigeria

Street children can be found in great numbers in many countries in Africa. They fend for themselves, living hand to mouth, finding shelter and food where they can. They beg, steal, turn to vice as a way to earn money, become involved in violent crimes. Society as a whole is contemptuous and impatient of them, often referring to them in derogatory terms, such as the Swahili word, “Chockera”, which means vermin.

In Nigeria, there are enormous numbers of children living on the street, not just in urban areas, but in rural provinces as well. Although Nigeria is Africa’s third largest economy, it is ranked only 141st wealthiest of 182 countries listed by the International Monetary Fund. Poverty is a big problem for many people here.

Many Nigerians are desperate to make money any way they can. Recently, this led to tragedy when people in Northern Nigeria tried to mine for gold illegally. They crushed the ore to extract the gold and discarded the lead filled waste products in places where it made people sick. 300 died of lead poisoning, including 111 children.

As well as poverty, other problems can mean children end up on the streets. These include the deaths of one or both parents to AIDS related illnesses and family breakdown, which rob children of their carers.

Of Nigeria’s 120 million people, 48% are under the age of 18. Of these, an average 30% are in education. It is widely accepted that those children who don’t receive an education are destined not to achieve their fullest potential, but to continue their lives of low income and unskilled work, leading to more poverty and the cycle is perpetuated.

In Yola, North Eastern Nigeria, World In Need is trying to break that cycle. Our representative, Cisse Kafinga, has bought five hectares of land and is building a centre for street children. The centre will include a home for the children, a school and a skills training centre, so they can learn trades and gain qualifications that will enable them to earn a decent living as adults.

As well as the centre, Cisse’s team is also building industrial units on the land. Businesses such as car mechanics will rent these units and the income will help fund the centre, so that eventually it can become self sustaining.

Recently, our International Director, Ron George, visited Yola and laid the inaugural bricks to begin construction of the centre. Our picture shows that moment, a time of hope for the future for the street children in Yola province.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Education, finance and the future in Kenya

In Kenya, Government-run schools are free to the children who attend, in that the children do not pay a fee to join the class. However, there are still costs for them to meet, and some of these costs can be crippling.

The cost of a school uniform – compulsory in Kenyan schools – can be equivalent to three weeks wages for the poorest families. Schools also charge exam fees, which must be paid before the child can start the class, and which can again be crippling to poor families. Families may also be required to provide books and stationery.

Many children go barefoot because their families cannot afford shoes for them. Their clothes are several sizes too big so new clothes will not be necessary quite so quickly. A family unable to buy shoes and clothes is unlikely to have money for books, paper and exam fees.

The cost of education in Kenya was, in part, paid for by aid from the US and UK governments. However, both governments became alarmed by the corruption within the Department of Education, and when the Kenyan government failed to tackle this to their satisfaction, both governments withdrew their financial support. This led to the closure of many government-run schools. Children are left to wander the streets, to work, beg and worse, rather than gaining the education that can be their passport to a brighter future where their potential is fully realised.

World In Need runs a school in Soy, North Western Kenya. The school opened in January 2009 and has already built a reputation for academic excellence as well as for care of the children.

It is a fee paying school but costs are kept as low as possible, so as many families as possible can access the education provided. Some of the children are sponsored by World In Need supporters, who pay £20 a month per child. This pays the school fees and educational costs, including two meals daily – an important consideration in a country where many families do not eat every day. Sponsored children are also able to afford other things that children in the west take for granted, such as uniforms and shoes.

In government schools, class sizes are huge. It is not unknown for one teacher to take a class of ninety children. At our school, we ensure enough teachers are employed to keep class sizes at a reasonable level, in order that each child can get the best education possible.

By May 2010, there were 125 children enrolled at the school. Of these, 21 are sponsored presently. Many others are struggling to pay fees and costs. None are turned away, and our centre directors, Robert and Alice Mulumbi often pay for these children, even though it means they do without themselves. WIN is working to increase the number of sponsors for children at the school, so that more children can be lifted out of poverty, and the school can continue to go from strength to strength.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Sierra Leone - hope at last?

For many years, Sierra Leone was a country in the grip of a vicious civil war. Fighters on both sides used cruel tactics to subdue people and reduce support for their enemies. A favoured tactic was the amputating of limbs, not just of adults, but of small children, so they could not grow up to fight.

The war raged through the country, destroying its infrastructure and economy, and as is so often the case, those who bore the brunt of the suffering were the most vulnerable members of society – women, children, families and communities who took no active part in the hostilities.

The war itself has ended now, but the aftermath continues. The country is in poverty; in 2009, in a list of 181 countries ranked by wealth by the International Monetary Fund, Sierra Leone was 174th. People are, literally, starving.

World In Need’s Sierra Leone representative, Tamba M’Bayo works among people who often do not know where their next meal is coming from. He oversees our child and family sponsorship programme. Sponsors give £20 ($29) a month and this gives a small income to a family, which means children are able to go to school, and the family are able to eat.

Tamba also oversees our feeding programme within schools. £5 ($7) a month enables a child to receive a meal every day. For some children, it is the only food they will eat. In fact, some children are so conscious that the rest of their family are starving, they will only eat half the meal they are given, then wrap the remainder up carefully to take home and share.

It is Tamba’s ambition to reach a thousand children through either sponsorship or the feeding programme. At present, he works with primary school children. He hopes to add High School aged children to the programme.

He also has plans for an agricultural project which will, eventually, make his work self sustaining.

In a country which has seen more than its fair share of suffering and hardship in recent years, projects such as these are providing hope of a better future. World In Need will continue to work with Tamba to bring more sponsors, more supporters of the feeding programme, and more hope to a people who once had none.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Bringing every child to school, giving equal opportunities to all

That was the answer given by Bevs, who runs Cypress Christian Foundation School for World In Need in the Philippines, when she was asked what her ambition was.

Bevs was at the World In Need International Conference in Crowborough, England, which finished last Monday. Delegates from 15 countries met for ten days to discuss their work, how we could all help one another, how things could be improved so that our work was more effective, and a host of other things besides.

The school is in Baguio City, about four hours north of Manila, and it caters for the children who live on and around Smokey Mountain, a giant rubbish tip which gets its name from the fact that the rubbish is always burning. It is so big, the smoke from it can be seen from the northern outskirts of Manila.

People live on the tip in homes made of cardboard, scrap wood and metal, and eke a living by collecting what they can recycle from the rubbish and taking it to the local market to sell. Very small children can be seen daily, scampering over the mounds of garbage, picking up whatever they can find. Their tiny feet are criss crossed with scars where they have trodden on broken glass and other sharp objects.

Bevs would like to see more of these children brought into school, where the education they can receive would equip them for a life that is a big improvement on their present circumstances. She believes, as do we all at WIN, that every child deserves the opportunity to achieve their fullest potential.

WIN helps find sponsors for the children so that they can afford to go to school. Not only does this give them a chance at a future, it also means they don't have to work on the tip now. There is a need for more sponsors, to help more children.

When asked what we could do to help with her work, Bevs had five requests:

1. They need to purchase or acquire the property where the school is. Although it is safe for now, the school has a landlord and there is always a danger that he or his family could ask them to leave. If we can buy the building, the school will be much safer.

2. Curriculum development materials are needed to enable the school to give the children the very best education they can.

3. assistance and suggestions, comments to improve school operations,

4. More modules and books to help the children learn.

5. People willing to come out to help for short periods of time, people who can help teach art, Bible studies, and other subjects, and who would be prepared to spend a few weeks at the school.

If these are things you feel you'd like to help with, or you'd like more information on the school, please contact us at info@worldinneed.co.uk

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Palm Trees offer more than just shade

We've all seen the classic desert island picture, a small piece of land, one palm tree, a marooned sailor resting under its leaves.

We've all dreamed of beaches in the Bahamas, blue seas, white sands ringed with palm trees, and the perfect holiday.

But to some people, a palm tree is far, far more than a source of shade on a hot day, or an element in a picture postcard setting. For Sister Faye, World In Need's representative in Thailand, palm trees are, quite literally, life savers.

Siser Faye explains:

We have schools and community projects in southern Thailand. We educate children and enable them to achieve their full potential, and we support families. We also have people we've trained, who are expanding the work into the middle and north of the country. However, the work costs money, and there is always a fund shortage.

Our dream is for the projects we run to be completely self sufficient and able to sustain themselves, and perhaps even to grow. For this, we need an income.

Palm trees grow quickly. Three years after first planting, we can harvest the palm oil from them. This oil is valuable in the aviation industry and is in demand. With what we can make by selling the oil from 200 trees, we can pay the entire costs of our projects and make ourselves self sufficient and self sustaining. We have the land but we need to buy the trees to plant there.

Palm trees are sold at $10 (about £6.50) each. This means the 200 trees Sister Faye requires would cost a total of $2000 (approximately £1350). Allowing for extras such as fertiliser, the project could be running if we can raise $2200 (about £1500).

The trees would allow Sister Faye to build on her work, and would freeWIN funds, currently used for that work, enabling us to help even more people throughout the world. Sponsorship of children would continue unchanged.

Now all we have to do is raise £1500...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

A Jungle Woman in rural England


Sister Faye Carnaje has been called “The Jungle Woman”. A Filipina, she works in Thailand for World In Need, where she heads a team that runs schools, trains missionaries and builds relationships with the local communities. This week, she is in England for the World In Need International Conference.


Sister Faye is one of twenty four delegates from fifteen countries who have descended on the rural Sussex town of Crowborough for this tri-annual conference. They have travelled from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Pacific Ring and the United States of America to be with us for a week of teaching and fellowship.

Workshops at the conference include Child sponsorship, small business development, bookkeeping and self sustainability. Guest speakers include Alex Haxton, CEO of World Emergency Relief, who gave a passionate and informative talk on “Building a vision – the state of the world today” and Brian Nell, talking about the difference between “Mission and Missional”, while WIN Director Ron George talked about “Principles of working with Muslims” and “Kingdom Attitudes”.

Each day begins and ends with prayer and worship, and there has been opportunity for local people to meet with the delegates, build friendships and learn a little more about the work they are doing in their home countries.

Some delegates are attending local churches, taking part in their Sunday services, giving talks and testimonies, and allowing people to see and know how they can make a difference to the lives of others. Sister Faye is one of those who has been able to talk about her work.

A tiny lady, less than five feet tall, Sister Faye is full of energy and enthusiasm for her work. She began her ministry eight years ago, working alone in an area of Thailand near the Malaysian border. She works with young people, teenagers, helping them prepare for life, focusing their attentions in a world where it is all too easy to drift.

Other people soon came to Faye to help with the work and be trained by her, after which they spread throughout the country, taking the work further and further. Today, more than a dozen workers are helping more than four hundred children and young people to get a good start in life, and through that, to reach their fullest potential, gaining qualifications, training and experience and working in careers that would otherwise have been closed to them.

It has been a privilege to meet with delegates such as Sister Faye this week, and to learn about the work they are doing as part of the WIN family. We will highlight the work of some of the other delegates in future blog posts.

If you’d like to know more about Sister Faye, any of the other delegates, or the work of World In Need, please contact us at info@worldinneed.co.uk, and we will do our best to answer all your questions.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Plane crashes in Tripoli

This morning, Wednesday 12th May, the Afriqiyah Airways plane from Johannesburg crashed while trying to land at Tripoli in Libya. 104 people were killed, with only one survivor, a child. Our hearts and prayers go out for them and their loved ones.

World In Need representative Rev. Tope Ajanaku was in Tripoli airport, waiting to board that very plane for the next stage of its journey, to London. Tope was on his way to attend the World In Need International Conference which starts on Saturday in Crowborough, England. He and his fellow passengers could only stand in helpless horror as their plane disintegrated.

The passengers made their way to England on a different flight, and as they arrived at Gatwick they were separated from their fellow travellers so they could be looked after, treated for shock and given bereavement counselling. They may find they need further help as time goes by.

We thank God that Tope has arrived in England safely. We would ask for your prayers for him and for all WIN representatives travelling to the conference, for safety and well being on their journeys.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

All Aboard the Dragon!

In September, World In Need supporters will have fun and raise funds for us at the same time at the annual Dragon Boat Festival at Bewl Water, near Lamberhurst in Kent. This is the thirteenth year that the festival has taken place on this reservoir, and it has grown year on year so that now, as well as the actual races, there will be field events, tented activities, bands and celebrities, making it a good day out for all the family.

The festival, which takes place on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September, is the largest event of its type in Europe. Over the two days, 100 teams compete in ten boats, while upwards of 15,000 spectators cheer them on. The teams are often raising money for charity – over £1.4 million has been raised for 175 charities since the festival began.

This year, World In Need will be one of the charities to benefit from the event. We have one team taking part in the festival, made up of members of the Royal Spa, Tunbridge Wells chapter of the BNI, and we hope to field another team made up of WINners who like a little fun with their fund raising. If you think you’d like to be part of this team, all you have to do is contact our Director, Ron George, at ron@worldinneed.co.uk and he’ll give you the details.

This Dragon Boat Festival is one in a national series of Dragon Boat Races. Other races take place throughout the year at York, Bristol and Milton Keynes, as well as many other places. The Bewl Water festival has become a major event on the South East calendar.

Dragon Boat racing is a Chinese tradition which goes back over 2000 years. No-one is sure where it originated but one theory is that it was an attempt to appease the powers of darkness before the death and decay of winter set in. There would be a mock battle between boats and the losing teams would symbolise sacrifice. If a losing boat sank, the crew might be left to drown in the belief that they had been chosen by the gods to be a literal sacrifice. You will be relieved to hear Bewl Water does not follow this part of the tradition. If anyone does fall in, there’ll be a rescue boat on stand by!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Carpets par excellence from Afghanistan

Afghanistan makes headline news around the world. Not a day goes by without some reporter calling it, “the most dangerous place on earth,” as they report on the fighting, death and destruction there.

But in amongst the bombs and the gunfire, the ruins and the suffering, small shoots of hope begin to show. People who formerly could not support themselves or provide for their families are now learning crafts and trades, and through them gain an income. One such group of people is the carpet making co-operative run by World In Need in Kabul.

The co-operative began when a group of children came to our Day Care Centre, looking for an education. These children had all lost their fathers during the Taliban era, and their widowed mothers struggled to provide for them. Under the Taliban, this was next to impossible, since women were not permitted to earn a living.

However, with the Taliban ousted from power, things changed. Women were now able to work and World In Need wanted to help them to do so. We set up the carpet making co-operative, helping the widows to make the good quality carpets for which Afghanistan has long been famed.

World In Need takes orders for carpets from customers in the UK, then commissions them. The carpets are practical and durable, and come in a range of colours, patterns and sizes. As the orders came in, the ladies have been able to add to their range, and as well as the standard patterns they can now offer bespoke carpets.

In some cases, paintings done by children at the day care centre have been used as a template for decorative carpets.

The picture on the left shows one of these paintings.

As word spread and the carpets sold, we expanded the co-operative, bringing in new workers, including men. Whole families now weave the carpets to order for us, and the income this brings has improved their standard of living exponentially.

Examples of carpet designs can be seen on our website http://www.worldinneed.co.uk in the shop. You can also find examples of the childrens’ paintings there as well. The paintings are also for sale.

 

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Eighteen Days to go!

The World In Need International Conference is almost upon us.

The doors open on Saturday May 15th, when representatives from most of the 22 countries in which we work will join us in Crowborough, East Sussex, UK, for ten days of teaching, networking, updating, rest and fellowship.

The photo shows some of the delegates at a previous conference.

As always, delegates will come from Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Kenya, India, Afghanistan and Thailand, to name but a few places. We also have friends coming from America and South Korea. However, people who can get to the Crowborough area are also welcome to attend any of the conference sessions that interest them.

The conference will include day time sessions on Child Sponsorship, good bookkeeping, small business development and self sustainability. In the evenings, guest speakers will give talks such as "Building a Vision, the state of the world today", "Developing Partnerships", and "Developing Influential Leaders".

On the evening of Saturday 22nd May, there will be a short play, "The Supper Party", followed by a chance to meet and talk with the delegates.

On the two Sundays of the conference, some of the delegates will attend local churches. For instance, Robert Mulumbi, who lives in Kenya and is our East Africa Director, will preach at St Richard's Church in Crowborough. This is a great opportunity to learn more about his work and the problems faced by the people of his country.

The conference will end on Tuesday May 25th. If it is anything like the conference we held three years ago, people will go home having learned a great deal, made many new friends and feeling inspired to continue their work. 

If you'd like to know more about the conference, the sessions, the delegates or any other details, please contact info@worldinneed.co.uk

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Sponsorship Changes Lives

World In Need works in places where conflict shatters families, destroys hope and limits opportunities for the future. We try to help restore what has been lost, mainly through sponsorship of children – so often the hardest hit.

The following story shows how the work we do makes a difference. Names have been changed and the country unidentified to preserve anonymity.

When Dawn was a small child, her father was killed in a bomb blast in which Dawn lost a leg. Dawn’s mother was left to bring up six girls, of which Dawn was the eldest.

With sponsorship, Dawn was able to go to school where she was a shining student, sharp and filled with determination. She was given a prosthetic leg but it was not fitted, and consequently was uncomfortable and difficult to wear. As she sat in school, the top of the leg would cut into her stump, which was painful. A fitted leg was far outside the family budget.

She hoped to take a course in business studies, dreaming of doing an MBA and eventually getting a good position in a bank or company.

Then Dawn’s mother died of a brain tumour, leaving Dawn, as the eldest, responsible for the welfare of her five sisters.

Without help, her dreams would have died. She would probably have been consigned to a low paid job, struggling to make ends meet, whilst fighting the pain and discomfort of her ill fitting leg.

Dawn’s sponsor, an elderly lady in England, wanted Dawn to achieve her full potential. She has continued to sponsor Dawn while she studies, enabling her to support her sisters without losing her own opportunities.

Recently, the sponsor reached an age where she felt driving was no longer viable, so she sold her car, and she knew exactly what she would do with the money she received for it.

She wrote to us: “At 82, I’m coming to the end of my life (not too soon, I hope!) whereas Dawn is only beginning and she has her sisters to support. I hope she’ll get her new limb soon.”

Thanks to her sponsor, not only is Dawn able to continue her studies and build her future whilst caring for her sisters, but she will, at long last, have a limb that fits, is comfortable and doesn’t leave her in pain.

Sponsorship does, indeed, change lives.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

International Conference, 24 days to go

From 15th to 25th May, World In Need hosts an International Conference in Crowborough, East Sussex, UK, attended by delegates from most of the twenty two countries in which we work. The conference will take place at All Saints Church, and is not only an opportunity for the delegates to meet with each other, but also gives local people a chance to meet with those who live and work in countries such as Sierra Leone, Uganda, Afghanistan, Thailand, India and Pakistan.

Various talks are planned for the evenings, delivered by speakers from outside agencies. These include:

· Mission or missional, by Bryan Nell

· Building influential leaders, by Neil Prem

· Building a Vision, the state of the world today, by Alex Haxton

· Ron George will also give a talk.

Local residents are more than welcome to attend these talks, which will be from 6pm to 7.30pm every evening, Monday to Saturday. They will be followed by the All Saints Prayer for Revival meetings.

There will also be presentations of our work in various countries, including India, Sierra Leone, Thailand and Afghanistan.

If you’d like further details about the conference and our field workers who will be attending, contact our office on 01892 669834 or david@worldinneed.co.uk

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

A Gift against all odds

Azerbaijan is a country that has seen a lot of hardship since the break up of the Soviet Union. It became embroiled in a war with neighbouring Armenia, which left many people as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and together with other problems this has kept the population in poverty and hardship. Many families are living in one room, often cooking in hallways and sharing toilets with several other families. They struggle to achieve life’s essentials.

Nigar comes from one such family. Born in 1994, she is the eldest of three children who share one room in a hostel with their parents. A World In Need sponsor took her on, enabling her to go to school, giving her hope that the future might be better than the present.

But Nigar has something that many other children do not have, a natural gift that sets her apart. Nigar plays the piano beautifully, well enough to be a concert pianist. A World In Need representative who visited Azerbaijan heard her play, and later wrote, “I cannot express it with words, she’s just brilliant! I believe she will be awarded on international level in the coming years.” A student at the High School of Arts in Baku, Nigar has a growing reputation and has played before her country’s president.

In July, WIN is bringing Nigar to Britain so she can take part in the Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artists Competition. While she is here, she will also give recitals, raising much needed funds for our work in her country and giving us a wonderful opportunity to hear an emerging talent.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Who is my brother?

Sometimes, we don't need grand gestures. Sometimes, all we need is to know someone cares. The children at our school in the Philippines have nothing to give but their love. They give it freely.

At World In Need, we know we cannot physically hug all the wounded and hurting children of the world. But through sponsorship, we can show we care, and enable those around the children to give them the love, care and hugs they so desperately need.

Every child has a right to be loved. We aim to enable that right.

Talent among the burning rubbish

As they work with children sponsored by World In Need, the teachers at the Cypress Christian Foundation School (CCFS) have become aware that many of them are talented, able to sing, dance and act. Keen to nurture these talents, the school has set up a theatre group.


The group allows the children to develop their skills and talents, which may help them when the time comes to choose careers, although in a place where opportunities for the children are few, it also provides a precious chance to do something that is, quite simply, fun, something outside the activities needed to survive. Just for giving them the chance to be children, the group is worth its weight in gold.

The whole school will benefit from the theatre group as much as the individuals who take part, since the group will inevitably raise the profile of CCFS, and draw attention to the work they are doing amongst the children of Smokey Mountain.

It will also give World In Need supporters a chance to see the difference sponsorship can make in the life of a child, taking them from scavenger on a burning rubbish tip to confident student and self assured performer with the world at their feet.

In March 2010, the fledgling group held their first auditions. Twenty children showed up. Of these, thirteen showed outstanding talent, and the theatre group was able to begin. The first presentation is to be held in April, with another in May, leading to a major Charity Show in relation to World In Need Philippines Day in June.

The group also plans to put on their debut play in December 2010.

Like most theatre groups worldwide, the CCFS Theatre Group is working on a shoe string, and they have pared their start-up costs to an absolute minimum. But, as with all theatre groups, some expenses are unavoidable. They will need make up, script pads, costumes and other things for their shows, and are looking for the funds to provide these things. Meanwhile, they are going ahead, nurturing the talents of the children and working in faith that all they need will be provided in time for their shows.

If you would like to know more about the theatre group, what it is doing or how you can help, please contact info@worldinneed.co.uk.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Opportunity under threat for lack of education in the Philippines

Small children scamper barefoot over the huge rubbish tip known as Smokey Mountain, looking for things amongst the garbage that their parents can sell in the market. If they find something, the family will eat. If they find nothing, they won’t.

Smokey Mountain is a huge rubbish dump in Baguio City, Philippines. Millions of tonnes of waste are there and it is added to by dozens of trucks filled with waste each day. The rubbish decomposes at such high temperatures it catches fire, and the smoke from those fires is what gives the tip its name. Many people die in the fires each year. More suffer from respiratory problems associated with the smoke.

The mountain, and the smoke it generates, can be seen from Manila, 250km to the south.

The families who live on the tip are the poorest of the poor. They cannot afford to rent a home, even in the worst slums, so they squat here under shelters of waste cardboard and plastic. The children’s feet are criss-crossed with scars from broken glass and other sharp objects, their limbs are dirty, their clothes torn. But they do not give up. As each new truck arrives, they scramble towards it, eager to be the first to claim its treasures.

World In Need works to help the people of Smokey Mountain. Our school, the Cypress Christian Foundation School, is built near the tip and caters for children who live there, children who would otherwise not be admitted to the world of education and the opportunity it brings of a better life.
We find sponsors for these children. A sponsor pays a small amount monthly, which enables the child to go to school, to eat, be clothed and have a childhood. The 66 pence ($1) a day it costs to sponsor a child means little to most people in the west, but it makes an incredible difference to the life of a child here.

Recently, the school was faced with closure when the future of the building was under threat. That threat has now been lifted and the building is secure. However, unless we find sponsors for the children, the school will not be able to afford to carry on and these little children will have no choice but to return to the life of rubbish gathering from which they so desperately need to escape.

If you’d like to know more about our work in the Philippines, or what is involved in sponsoring a child, please contact sponsor@worldinneed.co.uk and we will endeavour to answer all your questions.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

International Conference: 5 weeks to go

Five weeks today, delegates from many of the countries in which we work will descend on Crowborough, Sussex, England, to begin a ten day conference. It will be a fabulous time of getting together, sharing fellowship, ideas, you name it.

They'll come from places like Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, Sierra Leone, the Philippines, to name just a few. They'll meet together and form and renew friendships, share stories and ideas, and of course, pray together.

It would also be a wonderful time for people in the Crowborough area to meet with the delegates, talk to them, find out what it is they do and how, ask questions, and show support.

Some delegates are already booked to visit other places during their time here. Robert Mulumbi of Kenya, for instance, will preach at St Richard's Church, Crowborough at the 11am service on Sunday May 16th, which is also the start of Christian Aid week. (Did you think this stuff was thrown together at random?)

If you'd like to meet any or all of the delegates, if you'd like to talk to them, or would just like to know more about their work, please call David at World In Need on 01892 669834.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Congolese Women offer ideas for ending the conflict in their country.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been dubbed “the most dangerous place on earth for women”. Sexual violence has reached epidemic proportions as a consequence of the war that has raged for the last 14 years. Over that time, more than 200,000 women and children, some as young as 6 months old, have been raped by combatants who see their actions as a weapon of war, destroying the enemy by destroying their women, and thus, their future.

There have been attempts to end the conflict, so far to no avail. Meanwhile, women and girls continue to suffer. Now, they are asking that the international community listen to them and take into account their views and ideas.

In March, a group of Congolese women travelled to New York to participate at the United Nations 54th Commission on the status of women, to put forward their ideas for ending the conflict and thus the violence they and their countrywomen face daily. They had four key suggestions:

1. Call for an Inter-Rwandan dialogue between Rwanda’s Tutsi leadership and Hutu rebels inside Congo. There are no military solutions to what is essentially a political crisis.

2. Opening and expansion of democratic space inside both Rwanda and Uganda so their internal conflicts will cease being fought on the bodies of Congolese women.

3. Greater participation in political life and the decision-making process on the part of Congolese women.

4. Redirection of focus on the part of the global community from targeting the symptoms or effects of the conflict to addressing the root causes - primarily a foreign resource war being waged inside Congo to the detriment of innocent civilians.

What it comes down to is, sexual violence in the DRC is a consequence of the war, therefore to end the violence against women, we must end the war. Since these women are living within the situation daily, surely their suggestions merit serious consideration?

At World In Need we believe so. Through our sponsorship programme, we aim to help children who have been caught up in this violence. Sponsored children are able to go to school which gives them security and safety they might otherwise not have. Those who have borne children as a result of the rapes are given access to child minders so that they can continue their educations.

Of course, school also provides the girls with an education which will equip them for the future, giving them the knowledge and skills necessary to be part of the process of government. Women can bring a whole new way of thinking, and a new focus which can open doors for solutions that have hitherto eluded us.

Through the generosity of sponsors, World In Need has been able to help several girls towards a brighter future but there are so many more who have not yet been given the opportunity they need. The more we can help now, the better things will be for the whole country in the years to come.

If you would like to know more about our sponsorship programme and how it helps the children of the Congo, or if you’d like to know more about being a sponsor and what it entails, please visit our website, http://www.worldinneed.co.uk or email sponsor@worldinneed.co.uk

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Women and Food in Pakistan

“We girls and mothers eat last, after my four brothers, cousin and our fathers have finished. Sometimes there is almost nothing left to eat – but we are used to this.”
Nasreena Bibi, aged 12 years.

Nasreena and her family are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province. They live with her uncle and his family in the town of Kohat, 30 miles from Peshawar, the province’s capital. She was speaking to the UN Office for co-ordination of humanitarian affairs.

Nasreena, her mother and her aunt cook for the fourteen people living in the house. But as is so often the case, the women get only a tiny amount of the food they’ve cooked. Men are considered to need more food than women, which can lead to problems of malnutrition. 58% of those affected by malnourishment problems are women.

The situation can only get worse as IDPs and refugees from nearby Afghanistan increase the numbers living in the district. The people have fled from Taliban militants. Their attacks on any ideology but their own and their battles with the Pakistani army have pushed people into the cities and towns and swollen populations, making an already strained food situation worse. And as always seems to be the case, women and girls end up at the bottom of the list.

The thinking is that the men, who are mostly labourers, need more food than the women. Health workers are trying to educate people about the risks if expectant mothers, or girls who will one day become mothers, do not get enough to eat, but it is a long, slow process.

World In Need has a team based in Peshawar and we try to alleviate the problems through sponsorship of children. As a condition of sponsorship, all children, girls as well as boys, must go to school, and at the school, they receive a nutritious meal each day. Our longer term goals are to ensure the children receive the best education they can get, and thus achieve their fullest potential, which will improve life not just for them and their families, but ultimately for their entire community.

Sponsoring a child is not expensive by western standards. For each child, the cost of sponsoring is £20 a month (about $30), or 66 pence ($1) a day. Almost a throwaway sum to most of us, it can literally mean the difference between life and death to the children we help.

For more information on the work we do in Pakistan, and the children we support, please visit our website, http://www.worldinneed.co.uk and click on the Pakistani flag at the side of the home page.


Saturday, 3 April 2010

A prayer for one of our people, please

Steven Wilson, who heads up World In Need in Northern Ireland, had a heart and lung transplant some years ago. Things have suddenly gone wrong for him and he was rushed into hospital last night and is now on a life support machine, waiting for doctors to come and see him re: his kidneys.

Steven had planned to come to England in May for our International Conference, but may not be well enough to travel by then.

We just wish him better.

Please pray for a speedy and full recovery.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

The British 10k London Run

On Sunday 11th July 2010, about 25,000 people will converge on Hyde Park Corner in London to begin the annual British 10k London Run. This year, World In Need is sending a contingent of participants, all of whom can raise funds for the work we do by asking people to sponsor them.

10k is 6.25 miles, a distance that the average walker could complete in about two hours. In fact, if running is not something you can do, it is possible to walk this course, as long as you can manage it in under two hours. That's what WIN supporter, Hilary Mackelden, is planning to do.

"My doctor refuses to allow me to run," she says, "but he is perfectly happy to allow me to walk this distance. So I am in training, and am determined to be fit enough to take part, and raise money for WIN's work in the developing world."

WIN projects around the world include a children's day care centre in Afghanistan, schools in Northen Kenya and in Pakistan, a boys' hostel and now a girls' hostel in India, and many individually sponsored children in 22 countries, including Azerbaijan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and the Philippines.

If you'd like to join in, either by doing the 10k yourself, or by sponsoring someone who is, please contact info@worldinneed.co.uk

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The most dangerous place on earth for women

This documentary was screened in Britain on BBC 3 tonight. It was excellent, thought provoking, if upsetting, more so because the women interviewed were not hysterical and crying, but matter of fact and simple in their ungarnished truth. If you want to know what is happening, this documentary is recommended.

If you missed it, or you live outside Britain, you can see the programme online, at http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbc3 and then click on the programme title. It will be there for the next seven days.

Thursday, on BBC 3, Hollywood starlet Lindsay Lohan goes to India to investigate child trafficking.

Please watch these programmes if you can. It is only by exposing the wrongs in the world that we can hope to begin to fight them. If we don't watch, TV companies will cease to make the programmes, and then evil will be able to slide back into the shadows, doing its deeds away from our gaze.

Don't let that happen.

Friday, 26 March 2010

HIV/AIDS has a woman face

More than 58% of the people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa are women.

Morenike Ukpong of the Nigeria HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Group says that HIV/AIDS in Africa has “a woman face... further strengthened by high rates of domestic violence”.

Mrs Ukpong points out the socio-cultural status of the African woman predisposes her to the disease. Women’s rights are not of paramount importance in many African societies, they do not have the ability to refuse sexual favours to husbands who may themselves be infected, and they are not able to insist on condom use. Trying to do so often leaves women at risk of physical and sexual violence, with very little redress.

In conflict areas, women are also at risk because gang rape is often seen as an effective weapon of war, used to assert power, inflict pain, shame and humiliation, and terrorise and punish enemy populations. The victims of these heinous crimes are often at risk of disease, through no fault of their own.

Medical care for women is a low priority in many of the world’s poorest countries, and even where such care is available, many of the most vulnerable and at-risk women are not in a position to access it. Medicines and health care are expensive, and when the choice is a woman’s care or her child’s food, most women see no choice at all.

However, it is imperative for the future of the continent that women’s health issues are addressed and the risk to women of contracting HIV/AIDS is reduced. Women have a lot to offer society and if they are sick or weakened, their effectiveness is reduced and everyone suffers.

The next generation suffers if the women of today are unable to care for them, leaving the burden of care on the shoulders of older children, who then have to forego education, career and future to do a job that should not yet be theirs.

Sick and weakened women cannot work effectively, meaning farms don’t get tended, animals aren’t cared for, goods don’t get sold.

And of course, infected women risk infecting men who come into contact with them sexually, as well as passing on the virus to children they bear or breast feed. The resultant deaths are further increasing poverty, placing enormous loads on relatives who have to take care of the families of brothers and sisters who have died and creating a generation of child heads of home as 10 and 12 years olds now become the oldest in the family. This is in fact affecting WIN leaders already.

We'll tell you how next week...

Thursday, 25 March 2010

We CAN make a difference.



A painting done by one of the children in our Day Care Centre in Kabul.

In the developed world, we have grown used to opportunities to develop our gifts and talents. We believe it is important that children are given the chance to achieve their fullest potential, whatever their gender, race, creed or ethnic origin.

Sadly, this is not universally the case. Even in the twenty first century, there are places where people’s life chances are restricted simply by accident of birth, and nowhere is this more demonstrable than in Afghanistan.

For six years from 1996, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan and imposed one of the strictest implementations of Sharia Law ever seen in the Muslim world. Among many other things, their rule made it impossible for women to work and girls to be educated, and some ethnicities also suffered. The Hazara people of Kabul, for example, suffered severe oppression. There were large ethnic massacres of Hazara people, and the Taliban refused to allow food to be delivered by the United Nations to Hazara regions. During conflicts, they were openly and deliberately targeted, and there were cases of men and boys simply disappearing.

World In Need works with the Hazara people in Kabul. We have a carpet weaving programme where Hazara widows can earn a living, and we also have a children’s day care centre.

At the centre, we provide medical services, food, including reinforced food to help the severely malnourished, education, a safe place to play, and art.

Art?

The current manager of the centre, Professor Ali Khan, is a professional artist and he gives lessons in art to the children. He quickly discovered some of the children have a particular talent and he encouraged them. The resulting pictures are sold through WIN. Half the proceeds are given to the artist and make a huge difference to their family finances, while the other half goes towards the running costs of the centre.

Each painting comes with details and a photograph of the artist. Some of these paintings will be exhibited in Crowborough, East Sussex in September, as part of the Crowborough Arts Festival.

One of the girls at the centre, Hamida, came to us from a life on the streets. Professor Khan quickly noticed that she had a talent for art. He has nurtured and helped develop her talent, and we found her a sponsor, someone who pays a small sum monthly which enabled her to be educated, fed and cared for.

This young lady has just won a place at University, where she will study art. Proof positive that sponsorship and encouragement do make a difference.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

In memory of Daniel Olara and Apwoyo Sarah.

George Amoli is an Anglican Priest in Lira, Northern Uganda. The area around Lira has been devastated by “The Lord’s Army” rebels and many have been killed, orphaned, raped and scarred by these events.

George has a heart for the people and their suffering. He has taken into his own home 16 street children, and ministers to many more who stay living on the streets. Those in his care include former child soldiers, children who were forced to kill their siblings and parents to prove their loyalty to the Army. Some are so traumatised and damaged they cannot yet be integrated back into society. They cannot go to school with other children, or even play.

Some of the women under George’s care have had lips and noses cut off by the Lord’s Army rebels.

George works with World In Need in Lira and the surrounding area. He runs our child sponsorship programme; the sponsored children are able to go to school. Because of their pasts, and what the rebels have done to them, some of the children in the school have their own children with them as they learn.

There are plans to build a school, clinic and training centre on 2,500 acres of land. The land can be farmed commercially, providing the funds to sustain these projects. However we are trying to raise seed money to start the farm for him.

George’s tireless efforts have not gone unnoticed by our greatest enemy, and that enemy has not made things easy for him. Last year, his home was raided, and he lost all his household goods and office wares.

George’s first born son, Daniel Olara, was admitted to University, starting in September this year. At nineteen years old, he had the world at his feet. His fifteen year old sister, Apwoyo Sarah, was at secondary school. On Friday, 12th March, 2010, they were both killed instantly when their motorcycle was in collision with a lorry. They were buried on Tuesday 16th March.

The President of Uganda, His Excellence Yoeri Kagutta Museveni sent a representative to the funeral.

George writes: “It is a great shock to all of our family members but we hope they are with our Lord Jesus Christ and we shall meet them again. May their souls rest in eternal peace, Amen.”

Please pray for George and his family at this terrible time.