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Zimbabwe Appeal - Shadreck age 12 – 1 Jul 2010
Shadreck is just 12 years old, but caring for his sister and elderly grandmother. More than 1.8 million children in Zimbabwe are orphaned. We are making sure they are not forgotten.
Shadreck, age 12, and his sister Primrose, age 10, live in what seems an idyllic spot for children to grow up in.
From their home, there are far-reaching views for miles over the rolling countryside and forested hills. Wild flowers are in bloom, butterflies and birds are in the air and peace pervades this rural part of Zimbabwe.
But life for Shadreck and Primrose is anything but idyllic. Both their parents died from AIDS-related illnesses and the children are now among the poorest of the poor, facing a daily struggle for survival.
No regular income means a lack of food is their biggest problem. They often go hungry.
They live in a small thatched hut which has seen better days as the roof is coming apart and the walls are succumbing to the elements. Inside there is a hole in the ground where they have a fire to cook their food and the only piece of furniture is small table, crowded with plates and pans.
The children have a small patch of land where they have planted a maize crop but lack of rain in January means it is likely to fail, leaving them facing greater hunger.
Their hardship has been compounded by the theft of the few chickens they had.
Only Primrose goes to school. Shadreck had to give up attending in 2008 so he could work to provide for them both.
Shadreck said: ‘Yes, we feel hungry but there’s nothing we can do. If we have some mealy meal (a local type of porridge), in order for us to survive, we eat just once or twice a day. We have been living with hunger since our mother died.’
Although Shadreck is two years older than his sister, she is taller than him, evidence of how lack of food and a poor diet is stunting his growth.
While Primrose gets lunch at school, Shadreck goes without in the middle of his busy day.
The children get up at 6am. Shadreck works either his own or a neighbour’s land until 11am and then spends the rest of the day making two trips to fetch water in a 20kg bucket, walking a kilometre there and back over undulating countryside. After that he might walk up to four kilometres to find firewood.
‘I get very tired,’ he says in a quiet and understated voice. ‘I wish I could go back to school. I also wish I could get enough food and new clothing.’
Primrose rises at 6am too and walks two kilometres to school which starts at 6.45 and finishes at 3pm.
‘I feel pity for my brother. It’s also hard for me to see friends at school who have food when we don’t have enough’ Primrose says quietly.
Recently the children’s 85-year-old grandmother Sehli has been staying with them but she is in poor health. Mother-of-four Sehli has only one surviving son, who is blind, but does support her as best he can from his home in Bulawayo. With failing eyesight and the need for a stick to walk, Sehli relies on Shadreck and Primrose.
‘I have hope that God will protect us,’ says Sehli. ‘Yes the children are surviving but they need more food because they are always going short. Life was better when I was a youngster. I cannot work to help the children. Instead they are the ones working to look after me. It’s frustrating for me. I would like to be able to look after them.’
Both children attend the Agape Missions Pentecostal church, which meets at the local school. Despite their trials, their faith remains intact.
‘God is good and is going to bless us. He has been our protector,’ said Shadreck.
Tearfund’s local church partner, Zoe gives them porridge, mealy meal, sugar beans, cooking oil and maize supplies once a month. Primrose also gets help to pay her school fees.
We have also been able to provide them with some maize seeds. A local church volunteer Sellinah, supported by Tearfund, visits them regularly to offer support and train them in farming. She is teaching them how to dig and plant their own crops.
For years Zimbabwe has lived under the cloud of insecurity and political violence. Hyperinflation meant families did not know from one day to the next if they could put food on the table. A deadly cholera epidemic killed thousands and malnutrition became widespread. And at the same time HIV devastated the country. One child in four – over 1.8 million children – has lost one or both parents. For more information visit BBC to see their short film on Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children.
You can help give children a hope and a future
In Zimbabwe, Tearfund works through local churches and partners like Zoe. Individual church volunteers mentor individual children and their families, giving them not a ‘hand-out’, but a ‘hand-up’. Your donation will help to fund this work, and provide thousands of vulnerable children and families with the chance of a brighter, self-sufficient future. Give today.
- €45 will provide agricultural training for five church volunteers. With this training they could then help 120 orphans to farm their own food, giving them the skills and opportunity to build an independent future.
- €81 will provide orphaned families with seven chickens – providing them with nutritious eggs and food and helping them on the way to self-sufficiency.
- €119 will provide an entire community of 30 families with seeds from which to plant up to eight different crops, allowing them to diversify their crops so they are less vulnerable if a particular crop fails.
- €598 will pay to hold workshops to envision and train 60 church leaders – helping them to play a leadership role in their community’s struggles to defeat poverty.
To make a gift today, please give online, call Christine at 01 8783200 or post a cheque to Tearfund Ireland, 5-7 Upper O’Connell St, Dublin 1.
Fundraising – Make a meal of it
Summer, the perfect time for a barbeque – to eat, have fun and raise vital funds for families living in poverty in Zimbabwe. To help you pull together a Make a meal of it event, we have resources for you to download.
‘Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger’ Lamentations 2:19 (NIV)
Let the people of Zimbabwe know they haven’t been forgotten and encourage your church to pray today. To help you we have put together a short powerpoint presentation which you can download here.
Sahel Food Crisis – 9 Jun 2010
In West Africa, millions are desperate for food.
(Picture – Previously malnourished girl receiving nutritional supplement from Tearfund partner CREDO in Burkino Faso)
Bad harvests over a number of years mean staple foods like grain have shot up in price by as much as 43 per cent. At the same time, the value of cattle has plummeted. Families would normally trade their cattle for food – but now they’re not worth enough. This means they have no money, and many people are eating just one meal a day.
In Niger alone, a massive seven million people – half the country’s population – need urgent help.
In Chad, a further two million people need immediate assistance.
“The Sahel is one of the most destitute regions in the world and the spectre of hunger is pushing increasing numbers of people from the countryside and into cities where they are searching for food to feed their families,” says Thomas Yanga, World Food Programme’s regional director for West Africa. “People have lost crops, livestock, and the ability to cope on their own, and the levels of malnutrition among women and children have already risen to very high levels,” he added.
Millions more across Burkina Faso and Mali, as well as Niger and Chad, are at risk, and will fall into crisis if we don’t act now.
Our partners have been working in this region for 20 years. But, to respond to this growing crisis and save lives, they need more resources. We have therefore launched an appeal.
You can help support our continuing relief efforts by giving to our Emergency Fund
Cash for work: kick starting Haiti’s economy – 8 Apr 2010
Extract from Tearfund aid workers blog:
I moved quickly out of the way as the young man swung a wheelbarrow of rocks around me, making his way from a pile of rubble to the workmen behind me.
Tearfund is paying for a road to be constructed, linking two remote villages in the hills behind Leogane, west of Port-au-Prince. The rocks pack down on top of a clay road, making it considerably more durable during the wet season ahead. Donkeys walk along the road, carrying local produce in one direction to the rural market, and consumer goods in the other back to a remote village.
To be precise, Tearfund is not so much paying for a road as injecting cash into a starved local economy where markets fractured and collapsed along with people’s houses and assets after the earthquake. Each adult worker receives a wage in exchange for a week’s work; the fact that a road is built means everyone benefits. Another benefit is that creating roads from rubble is a great way to clear rubble from sites where new buildings need to go up, not to mention the benefits of bringing people together on a constructive project after such a tragedy.
People who have experienced injuries and are physically unable to work have a wage set aside for them so they are not excluded.
These highland communities were poor before the earthquake. Now, their houses, schools and churches lie in ruins and they are paying more for their basic goods after prices shot up on January 12th – the day of the earthquake.
Many agencies use ‘cash for work’ schemes, like Tearfund’s road building project, to kick-start the economy and create jobs where employment has collapsed.
Rather than make assumptions about what people need, this type of project enables families to make their own choices about how aid money is spent. Studies show that people typically spend the money wisely, for example on housing repairs, education fees or replacing household equipment and essential farm tools. There’s no way that Tearfund could have known the individual needs of each family, or provided for them in the short time since the earthquake, so working like this means each family can make sure their urgent needs are met.
It helps people help themselves.
Haiti: More than €160,000 raised – 31 Mar 2010
Generous Irish supporters have raised more than €160,000 for Haiti earthquake survivors. Some people have held fundraising concerts, others have gone on a sponsored fast and many people have helped raise awareness through their churches and schools. Because of this financial support thousands of families who had not received any aid in Haiti’s earthquake shattered capital are now receiving help from Tearfund staff and partners. More details of their work can be found here. Tearfund in the UK have raised more than €6 million which will address the immediate needs of the people and the longer term reconstruction.
Coping with loss
Getting a handle on the psychological pain caused by the disaster is not so easy but increasingly it is becoming evident. Virtually all survivors can testify to knowing a family member, friend or neighbour who died in the 12 January quake and are therefore carrying the pain of their loss. Add to that turbulent mix the awful hardship in the aftermath of the tremors – no food, water, shelter or medical help, plus lawlessness – and you have the conditions for lasting mental scarring.
A Haitian pastor’s story
One local pastor who has been in touch with Tearfund’s team responding in Haiti summed it up as follows:
‘I can tell you life is very difficult for us nowadays,’ he said. ‘It is really hard to talk and think about the night of 12 January, 2010. It was 4:50pm when this long night began with a strange phenomenon that no one understands.’ The pastor said, ‘Since 12 January, we sleep and live right in the street, without a tent. Right now, my wife and daughter have colds and my daughter has diarrhoea due to bad water. In spite of all, we can claim God is good all the time.’
Long term development
With more than €2 million raised by Tearfund supporters for Haiti, we’re currently responding to the immediate physical needs of thousands of Haitians. We’re also looking to the long term and are drawing up plans to rebuild lives, a process that will be measured in years rather than months. Standing alongside local churches, we’ll be there to help survivors come to terms with earthquake’s psychological, emotional and spiritual legacies.
‘We want to build back better‘ says Reuben Coulter, Chief Executive of Tearfund Ireland ‘There is a real danger if reconstruction is rushed that it will be done badly. If we plan well now and help support our Haitian partners to get back on their feet then we will see sustainable transformation.’
Most of the immediate needs have been met but there is still a need to finance the reconstruction. Donate now online here or by credit card by contacting Christine in our office – 01 878 3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org or post a cheque to; Tearfund Ireland, 5-7 Upper O Connell Street, Dublin 1.
Churches feed the hungry in Haiti – 21 Jan 2010
Hot meals comprising rice, beans and porridge are being served to 1,400 vulnerable people daily by World Relief (Tearfund partner) staff alongside volunteers from local congregations. World Relief, which has been working in the Caribbean country for 15 years, is using its close links with local congregations to mobilise manpower for the relief effort. They are planning to launch more feeding centres, including two in the badly affected areas of Leogan and Jacmel, which have received little emergency aid. World Relief staff are also working to boost desperately needed water supplies by drilling bore holes and installing water pumps.
Meanwhile World Relief medical staff continue to provide treatment to the injured at its 300-bed hospital in Port-au-Prince. It’s one of the few centres able to treat people and has three operating theatres working around the clock.
But it desperately needs more medicines such as antibiotics and painkillers, according to Dr Hubert Morquette, World Relief’s country director for Haiti, who has been treating people himself.
Prayer is also needed. Dr Morquette said, ‘Please continue to keep us in your prayers as our patients experience both physical and psychological trauma.’ Those who’ve escaped injury are also in dire need of aid support. A Tearfund team of disaster response experts has visited a camp run by another Tearfund partner in the district of Delmas, in Port-au-Prince, which is looking after 2,000 people, while another camp had 10,000 residents.
As rescue efforts to recover people trapped in toppled buildings continue, there are small signs of normal everyday life restarting in Port-au-Prince. Jean Claude Cerin, Tearfund’s Country Representative for Haiti, said, ‘Marketplaces are selling basic goods and merchants are back on the streets. ‘Banks are planning to start opening again sometime this week as soon as they can put together a security system to protect them. ‘A few gas stations are reopening and one can observe long lines of vehicles waiting to fill up.’ There are also signs that the Haitian government is attempting to play a bigger role in the earthquake response effort, currently being led by the UN and the US. ‘Haitians are crying for some leadership wherever it comes from,’ said Jean Claude.
Please give today
Only €31 can provide a tarpaulin for shelter for a family and €55 can provide a family of with emergency household items,water containers and blankets.
Download a powerpoint presentation here
Please share this with your church this Sunday
Keep checking our website as we will have updated information and video before the end of the week.
Donate now online here or by credit card by contacting Christine in our office – 01 878 3200.
Medical relief in Haiti – 18 Jan 2010
Medical staff with a Tearfund partner in Haiti are working around the clock treating hundreds of people with earthquake-related injuries.
The King’s Hospital, run by World Relief, is one of the few places offering treatment in the capital Port-au-Prince after escaping the tremors with just a few cracks to the walls.
It’s been operating since last Tuesday’s quake killed between 50,000 and 200,000 people. Tearfund emergency response teams have been responding to the disaster. An emergency appeal is underway to allow us to increase the scale of our response. To give, click here.
Broken bones from falling masonry are among the main injuries doctors and nurses are dealing with.
Dr Hubert Morquette, World Relief’s country director for Haiti, said, ‘We’ve treated hundreds of injuries as well as countless open and closed fractures. We work all day and late into the night as patients continue to flock to our facility. There’s a lot of suffering and we go above and beyond trying to save lives but at times they still succumb to their injuries. We thank God for the medical supplies we’ve received over the last couple of months which have enabled us to provide care to our numerous patients.’
More medical staff are needed, particularly surgeons, and there’s also a shortage of antibiotics and pain-killers. Dr Morquette added, ‘Port-au-Prince is in total despair. The major governmental institutions have crumbled. It is a major catastrophe.’
World Relief has been working in Haiti for 15 years, partnering with local churches on health projects and micro-enterprise schemes. Tearfund is responding to the earthquake through such local partners and has also sent a disaster response team to Haiti.
Please give today
Only €31 can provide a tarpaulin for shelter for a family and €55 can provide a family of with emergency household items,water containers and blankets.
Donate now online here or by credit card by contacting Christine in our office – 01 878 3200