Thursday, 28 April 2011

Unlocking the shackles of poverty

Over the last few months, students in the UK have been up in arms about the prospect of paying for their University education, which they feel should be free. They argue that the level of the fees means that only the most advantaged people will be able to study.

In some countries of the world, the prospect of fees doesn’t just deter University students, but also children of primary school age. In Pakistan, for instance, the average annual wage is just over £1000, life is a struggle and education, particularly of girls, is often seen as a luxury rather than an essential.

Yet education is widely seen as the key that will unlock the shackles of poverty. Those with a good basic education can earn more, stay healthier and live longer. They contribute more to their society and improve life for many others.

In 2009, World In need opened the Community Free School in Islamabad. Unlike most schools in Pakistan, our students pay no fees, which means that children are able to come whatever their parents’ income and background. The education they receive is monitored by both the State and National Boards of Education, thus assuring parents of its quality, and consequently our children are able to dream of a brighter and better future.

The school catered for seventy pupils but recently had to expand to admit another thirty, because parents came, begging us to give their children a chance at a better life. We explained that we didn’t have enough desks but the parents were undeterred. They would be happy for their children to sit and work on the floor rather than not come to school.

We believe children in the developing world deserve the same opportunities as children in more prosperous countries, and a chance to climb out of the poverty that has overwhelmed their families. We have therefore taken these extra children into the school. Now we are working to provide them with the desks they need. A desk for two costs £20, which means we are currently trying to raise £300 for this project.

If you would like to know more about the school, or would like to help, please contact info@worldinneed.co.uk or phone us on 01892 669834.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Painting Hope in Afghanistan.

Poverty and conflict. They stalk the world, giant predators with voracious appetites. They target the weak and the vulnerable, devouring hope, gnawing at the future and diminishing the potential of their victims.

The twin evils of poverty and conflict have held sway in Afghanistan for far too long, preventing the people from living the lives that should have been theirs. And, as always, children are among those who suffer the most.

World In Need began helping vulnerable children in Afghanistan in 2003, building a day care centre for children of the Hazaras, an ethnic group that was severely oppressed by the Taliban regime, and which still faces hardship and discrimination today.At our day care centre we provide a medical service, food – including reinforced food for the severely malnourished, education for children under eighteen, a safe place to play and art lessons.
One of the teachers at the centre was a professional artist. He gave lessons to the children and quickly discovered that a number of them had a real talent, which he nurtured. The paintings produced were of such good quality World In need has been able to export them and sell them on the children’s behalf, boosting their family income and restoring the hope for the future that had been lost.

From 15th to 20th May, World In Need is holding an Art Exhibition at which several of these paintings will be displayed, alongside work by artists based in Crowborough, where World In Need has its Head office. We hope many people will visit our offices during the week of the exhibition and see for themselves the excellent art work. Paintings will also be available to buy.

For further information, contact us on 01892 669834 or info@worldinneed.co.uk

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Welcome to our new International Director

On April 1st 2011, David Shamiri became International Director of World In Need. We thought it would be good to get to know him a little better, so we asked him some questions.


1. How did you come to work for World In Need?

In Summer 2002, I went on a mission to Turkey. The man I worked with had worked with Ron George the year before, and had copied Ron’s model. When I got to Turkey, everyone , it seemed, was talking about Ron George and World In Need.

The following December, I went to a conference in Germany and World In Need had a stand there. I introduced myself to Ron, told him I was from Yemen, that I now lived in Poland, and wanted to get into Missions and relief work. Ron invited me to the World In Need conference, which took place in May 2003.

I then went back to Poland and to my studies. After graduating in 2004, I was sent to Yemen to work there. I quickly realised that I needed more training and came back to Poland. Soon after that I met my wife, Magda, and my plans changed.

I went to work for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) and worked with overseas students in Poland. When my time with them came to an end, I emailed friends all over the world, asking them to pray for me as I worked on what to do next with my life. Ron emailed back, inviting me to come to Crowborough, to work for World In Need.

2. What drew you to World In Need?

I grew up in Yemen, the poorest of all Arab countries. I was surrounded by examples of poverty, and the difficulties and complications that caused for people. I wanted to help. As a Christian I wanted to get involved, helping people hear the gospel through me, as I had heard it through others. Working for World In Need enabled me to merge these two things.

3. What do you see as the strengths of World In need?

The biggest strength is that we work with indigenous people, locals in the countries rather than sending foreigners in to tell them what to do. We listen to local people and hear what they need, then get alongside them to help them achieve it.

Also, we are a low budget organisation. We think more of the poor people in the field than we do of ourselves at our Headquarters. This model is our strength.

As well as caring for those overseas, we care about communities local to us. We reach out to people here, and are always looking out for volunteer workers, no matter their age or physical abilities.

We are pioneers in many fields. World In need started working through indigenous peoples long before anyone else did this. Other organisations now do the same. Ron George is a visionary, and is far ahead of everyone else. We also build sustainable projects, and work to build trade not aid. We encourage communities to work for themselves and not be dependent on foreign aid. We are always looking for new ways to assist people, and are very flexible in our work.

4. What do you hope to achieve as International Director?

Here in the UK, I hope to be able to reach out to a greater number of people, so that more people will hear about our cause and come alongside us. Internationally, I hope that we can complete all the projects we’ve started, especially the bigger ones, that we can help more children to go to school and grow up with hope, and that through us, more and more people will see that they can do things for themselves.

5. Where do you see World In Need in five years time?

In five years time, World In Need will be a well known humanitarian and development NGO. We will have a number of sustainable projects by which communities find hope and employment, and more children will be able to access education. We will be working alongside bigger organisations, from whom we can learn and we will be growing.

Friday, 1 April 2011

An Interview with Ron George

After twenty years as International Director of World In Need, Ron George is moving on. We caught up with him on his last day in his old job and asked him a few questions.

1.       You started World In Need from one room in your home, and it has grown into a multi-national organisation. Is there anything you would point to and say, “This is what I am most pleased to have achieved”?
Survival. There have been times when things have been difficult, as they are for many organisations, but God has kept us going. Every day is a blessing.
The vision has become clearer. It is still the same vision that it was at the beginning, but over time it has matured and become more realistic. I feel that the job has trained us. When Lech Walesa became President of Poland, it was not something he had expected to happen, or that he had prepared for. He said the job trained him, and that is how I feel we have been at World In Need.
We’ve also grown in the Lord. As we do His will, we grow in our knowledge of Him.

2.       Do you have any special memories?
It has not been an easy road. There have been many ups and downs along the way. At times, I have been discouraged by the behaviour of some Christians, and have had to accept that they are also on the path to maturity but are not quite ready to stay with us. On the other hand, I have been privileged to know many faithful people, especially in the fields. These people have shown good leadership and strong vision.

When we sponsor children, we have no idea how they are going to turn out. It is wonderful to see them grow into mature citizens of their countries, and to see our input in their lives bear fruit.

3.       What are your plans for the future?
I am going to do much more teaching, both in the fields and in other places. For example, in September, I am going to a college in Moldova, where there are 70 central Asian students as well as about 400 others. Then later in the year, I am going to Nigeria, where I will speak to the Redeemed Christian Bible College, Lagos Nigeria. I have spoken there before, and the Principal recently emailed me to say:

“ Your teachings on Islamic Faith has been a blessing to us in the Bible College here.
It may interest you that your visit and teaching sessions enhanced our introduction of a course titled: "Understanding Islam As A Religious Faith" which is being taught at our undergraduate level in the Bible College.
The insight you gave to the knowledge of Islam as a religious faith enriched my approach to teaching Islamic Religion as a Philosopher of Religion.  Sincerely, your teaching complemented the knowledge I acquired during my undergraduate and post-graduate days in the University.
Thank you and God bless you.”

I have also been asked to go to Sweden, to lecture all mission agencies in Scandinavia on the subject of the Haddith. This sounds boring but is actually a fascinating subject. For a start, I have been able to link the stories of the 1001 Arabian Nights to the Islamic Haddith.

As well as this teaching, I am working on a new website, http://www.worldchristianministries.org This has a media section if you log in, which is already available in Russian, English and Arabic, and will soon be available in other languages. In this section, we have put training materials in subjects such as health, agriculture, Bible teaching and Islamics. We hope to add subjects such as Hinduism and Buddhism. The site means that people can download these materials, for free, in their own languages.