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 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

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

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

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 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, or email

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, 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