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The Choice - pull Sina back from the brink

The Choice - pull Sina back from the brink – 12 Sep 2013

Sina* is 28 years old. She has three children: Yuth (aged ten), Bunton (aged eight) and Den (aged five and a half months). Sina is married to Bora, who is also 28. Sina is a warm, strong, dignified woman. She has a beautiful smile, but a lot to worry about. She’s open about her hopes and fears, and strong in spirit – she holds on to the hope that things can somehow be better for her children.
‘Sometimes I find it hard to sleep, because I have a lot on my mind. And sometimes I wake early in the morning with worry.’ (Sina)
Sina’s father died when she was a teenager, and she is now close to her mother Sokly and sister Sokha. Her mother doesn’t live very close by, but comes to stay with the family sometimes. Sina’s sister and her family live two doors down from Sina, and both sisters face very similar struggles.

Sina lives in a tiny one-roomed shack. The walls are made of dried palm leaves, and some sides are open, with just fabric hanging from the tin roof. The whole family sleeps on one raised wooden platform, and at one side of the shack is a fire for cooking. There is no electricity, running water or toilet – Sina and her neighbours go to the toilet in the field at the back of the house.

Sina’s small home was built by her and her husband with their bare hands, using scrap and second-hand materials. The family can’t afford a proper house or their own land, so the shack is built on government-owned land. This means Sina’s family could be moved on any day, and would have to start again.

Sina’s family is among the poorest in her village Tonle Batie. In Cambodia, the government gives ‘poor cards’ (officially called equity cards) to those least well-off – Sina has a ‘poor card number one’, which means she is among the very poorest (the cards are graded one to three, one being allocated to those in most need).

Rice is a staple food in Tonle Batie. Rice with vegetables is a popular meal for families like Sina’s, fish when they have it. Other meals eaten by the family include vegetable broth, fish broth, rice soup and dried fish – when they have those things to cook. Meat is extremely rare for families like Sina’s. ‘It’s very hard when we struggle to have enough food. I pity my children.’ (Sina)


Currently, Sina’s husband Bora is working as a security guard, and the family rely completely on his small income. Bora and Sina are both poorly educated and unskilled, so those few jobs available to them are extremely limited, insecure and poorly paid. Despite this, Sina is immensely grateful that her husband is in work. She is also grateful that, at the time of writing, her husband’s work is close to Tonle Batie village.

For many families like this, things get harder and more hopeless, and children are pulled out of school in order to save on school fees and so that the children can contribute to the family income. This limits the future prospects of the children, meaning generation after generation is stuck in extreme poverty.

Sina is desperate to break this cycle and give her sons a better life. She feels she could do this, if she could fulfil her dreams of growing vegetables and keeping animals – the first steps towards a better future.

This would provide the family with more food, as well as the option to sell vegetables and animals at market to make more income. Eventually, Sina would love to have her own piece of land and live there with her family in a house that is more secure and fit for purpose. Then she and her husband could work the land and make a sustainable income – he would not need to go away for work, and she could contribute while still being there to care for the children.

When she talks about these things, she gets tearful – the prospect is so lovely to her, and seems so far from reach.

She feels she currently lacks the power, skills and resources to fulfil these ambitions – and has no option to lead her family out of poverty. ‘I hope the future is better than the here and now, where we have nothing. Right now, because we have no money, it’s hard to dream dreams about the future.’ (Sina)

Sina is not forgotten. The local church is helping villagers like Sina beat poverty. They’re pulling them back from the brink and helping them build a future that’s safe and secure.

But people like Sina need your support.

Around the world, churches are reaching out to whole communities, right to the edges. Can you help them stretch further?

Please download this ‘Sina giving flyer’ and make a regular gift to Tearfund and make life secure for many more like Sina. Today, tomorrow and beyond.

A regular gift of €7 a month for one year could give 12 people like Sina the chance to learn skills such as breeding chickens to sell for extra income.

You can also donate here.

For more resources (including prayer ideas and kids activities) on our project in Cambodia visit our Resources page.

Syria needs your prayer and support

Syria needs your prayer and support – 11 Sep 2013

Many have left everything behind and have no income, no healthcare and no certainty over what lies ahead. You can give to our Syria crisis appeal by donating to our Disaster & Emergancy Fund

Tearfund’s partners are providing food, help with shelter and hygiene goods. Eventually, we hope to help refugees return to their homes.

Please join us to pray for peace in Syria. You can also download our Prayer for Syria.

Book your tickets now for September 28th - Belfast Community Gospel Concert in Derry

Book your tickets now for September 28th - Belfast Community Gospel Concert in Derry – 9 Sep 2013

Watch the video to find out more.

All money collected from the tickets will go towards supporting Tearfund projects.

Saturday, 28 September 2013 from 19:30 to 22:30
Lisneal College, Derry, Northern Ireland

Book your tickets (€14 and €12 concession) through the office directly: 01 878 3200

Spread the word and we hope to see you there. It’s gonna be a great night so don’t miss out!

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India flood survivors tell of hardships

India flood survivors tell of hardships – 13 Aug 2013

Monsoon rains in June caused extensive flooding in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, leaving 500 people dead and 5,000 others missing.

Two Tearfund partners, the Emmanuel Hospital Association and Eficor, responded by organising distributions of food, hygiene items, cooking utensils, blankets and tents to the badly affected districts of Tehri, Rudraprayag and Chamoli.

Among those helped was 70-year-old Mrs Chhotidevi, a widow without family, who lives on a pension equivalent to just €6 a month.

The flooding disrupted pension payments and left her unable to buy food: ‘I used to beg and people were giving me left over food,’ Mrs Chhotidevi recalls.

‘But Eficor gave me good quality food. I will not forget Eficor, may the Lord bless Eficor.’


An indication of the devastating power of the floods is provided by 40-year-old Anil Bhatt, a father-of-two and businessman from Vijaynagar village who owned six shops.

He said, ‘Water from the river Mandankini came in with huge force and took away my house, shops, and even my land. Within a few hours I was left with the clothes on my body and nothing else.

‘The relief kit is comprehensive and very useful. I thank your organisation for this timely help.’

Lalsingh Pawar, 60, lost two grown up sons who were swept away in the torrents of flood waters.

With so many families losing loved ones to the floods, partner teams are also offering counselling to the bereaved.

Mr Pawar said his family were going through very testing times, but after Eficor counselling visits they were now able to start thinking about moving forward in life.

If you would like to contribute to the relief work and protection for vulnerable families in the aftermath of the flooding you can purchase a disaster survival kit.

Alternative approach by UNICEF and Tearfund Ireland is transforming children lives.

Alternative approach by UNICEF and Tearfund Ireland is transforming children lives. – 19 Jul 2013

Long before there was a UNICEF, faith based communities were among the greatest advocates for the world’s neediest children, providing guidance, aid and comfort to millions of disadvantaged families.

Today UNICEF and Tearfund Ireland are showing this partnership in action through jointly hosting the launch of UNICEF’s Partnering with Religious Communities for Children report. Minister of State Joe Costello will contribute to the presentations and Rt. Rev Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore will chair the event.

Sarah Chhin from Cambodian partner M’lup Russey (jointly funded by UNICEF and Tearfund) will present on how faith based organisations are offering an alternative to institutional/orphanage care for Cambodian children. After two decades of relative stability, Cambodia’s economy is growing, drawing in foreign investment and tourists. However the plight of children institutionalised in orphanages has been an alarming and increasing phenomenon.

Almost 10,000 children are still cared for in the more than 250 orphanages registered in Cambodia.

This care model is decades-old and largely unquestioned. Sarah Chhin says: ‘The majority of children and young people living in Cambodia’s orphanages today have parents and other relatives who could be supported to look after them. The tragedy is that most of them have become disconnected and alienated from them’.

M’lup Russey is the only programme in Cambodia which helps children in residential care become reintegrated into families. It also trains caregivers and has been involved in helping government ministers draft policy on standards of care and alternative care. And its lobbying has borne fruit. In February 2012, the Ministry of Social Affairs in Cambodia announced a new policy aimed at keeping Cambodian children out of institutions, in favour of family-based care. In time, the government hope orphanages will become ‘community centres’ that strengthen and support families.

Sharan Kelly of Tearfund says: ‘Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the lonely in families.”, ‘M’lup Russey has grasped God’s heart for vulnerable children, it’s counter-culture and no doubt controversial – but it’s transforming children’s lives.

Details of the event:
Tuesday 23rd July, 10am-12pm
Irish Aid Volunteering & Information Centre,
27-31 O’Connell Street Upper, Dublin 1

About Tearfund Ireland
Tearfund prioritises the most vulnerable and marginalised people working through churches and Christian organisations to bring help and hope to people living in dire poverty. Tearfund works with forgotten children, vulnerable women, and people affected by HIV and in times of disaster to provide emergency relief to people who have lost everything.

Working in over 150 countries across the world, UNICEF is committed to finding the best and most cost-effective ways to save children’s lives, providing health care, nutrition and education to help every child realise their full potential.

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Don’t let Syria down

Don’t let Syria down – 23 Jun 2013

Some 1.8 million Syrians have fled their country as the conflict at home escalates.

Many have been forced to leave everything behind. They have no income, no healthcare and no certainty over what lies ahead.

Tearfund’s partners are working to help people find food and shelter. Our partners are providing blankets, mattresses and wood burning stoves to help people survive the harsh winter. Eventually, we hope to help them return to their homes.

Please join us to pray for peace in Syria. Please also sign our petition now. We’ll deliver this petition to President Putin and President Obama, calling on them to work with all parties to the conflict to make the peace talks a success.

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