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Visiting project in Malawi – 13 Dec 2013
During his visit to Malawi Markus met Doreen Chilenda (pictured right) who has been taught about conservation farming, which is locally known as “farming God’s way”. Doreen was sceptical at first, but at the end of the workshop she thought that she should give it a trial. Now she calculates the spaces before planting, uses animal manure and covers the field.
Conservation farming is about keeping the water and nutrients in the soil. She noticed that she needs 60% less fertilizer and less weed is growing on her field. Being HIV positive Doreen said she appreciates that this means less work and thus better health. She hopes for a good harvest and that in three years time she will need no fertilizer at all.
To us Doreen is a wonderful example of a great strong woman, who once given a chance improved her life by making the right choices.
Girly Malitante is a primary school teacher in Marabut. ‘My school is damaged from the typhoon, but we need shelter for the children to have classes. The chairs and books, pencils and pens and blackboards are all damaged.’
Giving children the routine of going to school helps recreate a sense of normality for them. While adults begin the work of rebuilding their homes and their lives, Tearfund partners are working to create safe spaces for children.
There’s a lot to do, as Girly points out. ‘We received some food and clothing from the Department of Education, and the government has said they will repair our school, but not until January. There are computers floating in the floods, and we have to boil water to drink. But we have a lot of firewood!’ she says, pointing to the rubble.
As the shock of Typhoon Haiyan wears off, and evidence of trauma is settling in, our partners are training community volunteers from local churches in Northern Samar on trauma recovery for children.
Layo Mateo, a fisherman in Basey is concerned for the wellbeing of his children. ‘Sometimes my children still get scared. Now, even the level one typhoon warnings scare us.’
It might take time to rebuild schools. Nevertheless our partners are creating places for children where they can play, make things, and express their emotions with on-site care providers. Through our work in Samar, we’re making sure that children suffering acute trauma can be treated by Filipino psychologists to receive the level of care that they need.
Tearfund partners are working for long-term recovery in the Philippines.
It rains every day in Dulag, but there’s little shelter for the 9,000 families who live there. Just 30km south of Tacloban, almost all of the homes in the area were destroyed as they stood directly in the path of Typhoon Haiyan.
Shelter is the top priority in Dulag. Families whose homes have been destroyed urgently need protection from the elements.
Almost overlooked by the tremendous need in Tacloban, there was little support for those in nearby Dulag.
But Tearfund partners have quickly identified the need to bring help to the region. The team are already on the ground giving out 5,000 shelter kits to families in the area.
Guido Krauss is a shelter advisor. ‘We’ve talked to a lot of families, local authorities, and engineers, and everybody agrees that the main needs at the moment are food and shelter.’
As well as shelter kits, the team are giving people equipment to help them clear away debris from their ruined homes. In the long-term, our partners will train families to rebuild their homes in a way that makes them more resilient to disasters like cyclones.
Working with local officials is helping the team to target their response, Guido explains: ‘We don’t need a separate relief system. The destruction is so huge that it will be very difficult for the government and the Filipino people to recover from this solely on their own capacity. The best way we can help is to be supportive and to collaborate with communities.’
Tearfund partners are working for long-term recovery in the Philippines.
Human impact stories from the Tearfund project through local church partner inside Syria – 20 Nov 2013
Maha is a young woman who was displaced from Homs with her four children. They are now all living in a small rented apartment in another area of Syria. Her husband went missing more than a year ago, but Maha has not heard any details about him since. In Syria’s failing economy, Maha has found no work to meet her and her children’s basic needs.
Thankfully, Tearfund’s local partner has been active in the region since the start of the year, and has been providing emergency food assistance to Maha. The support has been crucial in this time of uncertainty for Maha and her children.
Ola Rahaal’s story
Four-year old Ola Rahaal was forced out of her village, together with her family and the rest of the community, by a group of Islamist militants several months ago. The family moved to the area of Syria where Tearfund’s local partner has been providing food assistance. Having left all their belongings behind and seeking refuge, they needed support for all their needs, including food and shelter.
However, the family soon received a further shock when Ola was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The entire community joined with Ola and her family in their sadness. A lack of medical support in the area due to the destruction of public hospitals forced the family to travel for medical care. Ola went through several operations, one of which left her blind.
Tearfund’s local partner has been helping Ola’s family throughout the process by providing food, and is seeking to meet medical needs where possible. Though a small contribution in itself, the food assistance has helped the family to cope and meet their basic nutritional needs.
THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE LOST TO TYPHOON HAIYAN – 11 Nov 2013
Tearfund partners, including local churches, have helped people to evacuate their homes and villages in time to avoid the worst of the typhoon, which is one of the biggest in recorded history. But despite the best efforts of emergency services and humanitarian agencies, many thousands of lives have been lost and homes have been washed away.
It has been difficult to confirm all the details because of power cuts and difficulties in reaching our colleagues but we know that landslides, flooding and high winds have wiped out homes, businesses and farms.
Our partners are in the evacuation centres, giving care to survivors who need food, water, shelter and help to find their loved ones.
Rescue operations and food distributions have started to reach people but there are still areas of the islands where people have not yet been traced.
Pastors, church workers and volunteers are travelling by motorbike to some of the more remote areas over the next few days to find survivors and offer help. Despite difficult conditions, they will travel long distances for three days at a time to reach villages where they expect to find high death counts and many grieving people.
Tearfund calls for prayer for the survivors, who will need assistance for many months to come.
As well as the urgent and practical things like helping people have a roof over their heads, we know that there will be a lot of grief as people come to terms with bereavement. We must pray for the thousands of people who are grieving and ask God how he wants each of us to respond to their needs.
Please also pray for the churches who are sending teams out, many of whom will travel long distances by motorbike, that their teams would stay safe and well on their travels and that they would be able to bring hope to the people they meet.
Corrie de Boer from Mission Ministries in the Philippines visited our Tearfund office in October. Tearfund Ireland’s International Programme’s Manager, Markus Koker gave her a copy of the Tearfund resource booklet – Disaster and the Local Church. Corrie found it very useful, as the Philippines face about 6 typhoons every year.
If you can, please donate to help us support those in emergency.
Syria Sunday 17th November 2013 – 7 Nov 2013
Since the civil war in Syria began in March 2011, more than 100,000 people have been killed. The number of refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries has topped 2 million, and these countries are feeling the strain. More than 4 million individuals have been displaced from their homes within Syria – but because of the fighting, aid agencies are unable to reach many of these people with the help they so desperately need.
A CALL TO PRAY URGENTLY FOR PEACE TALKS
International leaders are urging that a peace conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva II, should take place in late November, although at the time of writing a date has not yet been agreed. In response, Tearfund is calling churches to unite on Syria Sunday, 17 November, to pray for the peace process in Syria.
Please join us in praying that the Geneva II peace conference will take place without delay or hindrance, that all parties to the conflict will be present, and that the talks will be representative of the peaceful majority of Syrians, including women’s groups and refugees.
Download and share the resources for Sunday intercessions next week.
- Prayer Syria Sunday November 17th: Spoken prayers for you to use as part of Syria Sunday
- Syria – 7 Day Prayer Guide: Please use this guide to help you pray for Syria. You may like to focus on a different issue each day or to use these topics in a prayer group setting.
- Syria Sunday – Church Prayer Guide: Time is running out for the men, women and children affected by the conflict. Winter is coming, and the cold weather will hit refugees hard. A peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria needs to be found – now.
Basimah’s story is chilling but not uncommon among the thousands of Syrian child refugees. She saw her home in Homs destroyed, her brother shot. Her family fled for their lives. She is just one of almost 473,000 Syrians who have escaped to Jordan – and one of the many supported through our Syria Crisis appeal, which has raised more than €60,000 so far.
Home for Basimah and her family is now a camp where Tearfund is providing essentials like food packs, blankets, medicines and kitchen tools.
It’s evident from listening to Basimah that she has not fully left the conflict behind. She relives it often.
‘The army attacked us and our whole house was completely destroyed,’ says Basimah. ‘There was nothing left and we couldn’t stay. We fled for Jordan and arrived at the border at night._
‘The Syrian police started shooting at us and a bullet hit my brother’s head. We were all very afraid. We had to go to prison for a while. We went through a lot of difficult circumstances. Later we tried to enter Jordan and thank God this time we were successful. We got medical treatment for my brother and he is okay now.’
The trauma that Syria’s children are living with is clear too in the artwork they are producing with Tearfund partner Vision Hope International (see image). It is providing pre-school education, as well as ongoing trauma care through play and art therapy. Many children talk of losing family members, seeing homes destroyed, fearing death.
Other Tearfund partners are providing emergency food, funding for accommodation and other essentials for refugees in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.
Thank you for your generous support.
Please give further if you can