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The Stories

What the SHG means to Hailu Asaro

Hailu Asaro (pictured below – right) is part of Geta Yirdan ‘May the Lord Help Us’ Self Help Group (SHG) in Ethiopia that represents 60 household members including 40 children: 19 boys and 21 girls. We have asked him what does being part of this SHG mean to him?

“I’m married with seven family members. Before I joined my group, I used to work as a daily labourer at a construction site and my wage was very low to feed my family. I worked really hard but was still unable to put food on the table for my family three times a day.

image After joining my group, they gave me a loan and I opened a small kiosk selling food items for the village people. My kiosk is less labour intensive than my former job and has a better income. I returned my loan with its interest and retained the shop for my family. Besides my kiosk, I also work for the wholesale business owned by our group and they pay me for the time I spend in the shop. I am a shareholder and also employee of the business. My family’s life is getting much better now. We eat three meals a day; my children are going to school; I buy clothes for my children and in a nutshell we are all happy. This is basically because of the Self Help Group approach. It was a lack of knowledge that kept us in poverty but now we understood we have potential of our own to come out of poverty.”

With your help, we can support the further development of the Self Help Group programme so that more people can work together to use their own resources to feed their families, send their children to school and improve their communities as this group has done.

Join our Coffee Campaign because as little as 2 euro does make a big change!

Singing from the same Hymn Book - Marriage Counselling in Malawi

Singing from the same Hymn Book - Marriage Counselling in Malawi

On his recent trip to Malawi, Markus Köker, Tearfund’s International Programme Manager visited Ekwendeni, where Tearfund’s partner LISAP with partnership of local churches is providing marriage counselling to couples. The program has become so popular that it has been adopted in other villages around the area.

Amos Mukandavire and Theresa Dinidi, a young couple, that received counselling, reported to Markus that their family has changed. They became closer and more intimate as a couple. The husband has also started to inform his wife about his business, whilst previously he would have never told her for how long he was going to be away from their home. They feel that they have opened up to each other and they trust each other more.

Village Headman and wife Thomas and Angela Ngwira is another couple who received counselling. Angela testified that thanks to it, now they do things together. They are both tobacco farmers (tobacco is the most popular cash crop in Malawi). They grow it and they sell it together, making income, whilst before her husband would have gone to sell it on his own and would have spent the money inappropriately.

marriage counsellors Markus also spoke to Wiseman Nkosi and Darlise Nyirenda (pictured left) who are marriage counsellors for those with families and those preparing for marriage. Their report about the benefits of the program is clear: marriage counselling has helped reduce gender based violence, maternal deaths, HIV (thanks to men becoming faithful), and has also changed families by debunking myths (i.e. about not being able to sleep with your wife after her menopause in fear of producing something other than a baby) and teaching men how to help wives with food if is she is sick rather than still expect it of her (traditionally in Africa only women cook). After counselling men are also known to care more about women who are pregnant and after the babies are born.

Markus, who has lived in Africa for over 4 years and has visited many African countries, after visiting this particular program says: “I have never seen people in Africa hugging each other and expressing love openly. That’s unique”.

Marriage counselling in Malawi is another success story – not only does it bring couples closer together but it also has a real impact on serious social issues within Malawian communities, whilst reducing the spread of HIV.

Stopping Hunger in Uganda

Stopping Hunger in Uganda

In Autumn 2012 we brought you the story of young Moses from Organgora Uganda (pictured right).

Moses has a love of football and a cheeky grin and is like many other twelve year old boys. But poverty had made his life anything but normal. When food was in short supply his stomach and face swelled up as if he were fat.

Tearfund’s partner Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG) is one the largest evangelical denominations in Uganda with some 4,500 churches. Since 2001 it has been mobilising churches and communities in Soroti district, using the Bible as a catalyst for community action that brings physical and spiritual transformation in the areas where the need is greatest.

Hunger has been halved in the communities that are part of PAG’s programmes to mobilise people to realise the resources that they do have and to make use of them. Pastor Wilbrod and his wife Grace (pictured below) were part of PAG’s programme in their village.


We identified agriculture as a way we could help ourselves. I learned that the soil in our part of Uganda is perfect for growing oranges. I sold a bull I owned and bought 100 orange tree seedlings. I now have 300 trees which I can harvest and last year I earned 2.7 million shillings (about €800) by selling the fruit. This has enabled me to send my daughter to University and I have been able to buy 7 cows, pigs and chickens.

Your giving can stop hunger, a regular donation of €12 a month can enable a family like Wilbrod’s to participate in one of PAG’s programmes and ensure that they are fed not just for today but for the rest of their lives.

Philippines Update

To date Tearfund supporters and Irish churches have raised over €180k following our Philippines appeal. This was far more than we anticipated and we are truly grateful – thank you.

Three months on from Typhoon Haiyan and our partners on the ground are moving their programmes from emergency relief to rehabilitation. In the emergency relief phase emergency supply kits were provided for families, debris removal through cash for work initiatives were set up and child friendly spaces to provide activities and support for children were established.

wardrobe refresh

The main emphasis of Tearfund Ireland’s programme in the Philippines will now become the protection of and provision for children who are very vulnerable to abuse and being trafficked at this time.

Our partner the Philippine Children’s Ministries Network (PCMN) is managing the REST programme – Restore Eastern Samar Together. Its main focus is to increase and strengthen the child protection mechanisms in 100 villages. Why Eastern Samar? Facing the Pacific, Eastern Samar was one of the first and worst hit areas by Typhoon Haiyan. In the 100 villages that Tearfund will be focussing their efforts, there are 18,468 families directly affected by the typhoon and within these families are children who have lost loved ones, the security of a place to call home and the security of a place to call school. Our mandate is to follow Jesus where the need is greatest and even before the typhoon, Eastern Samar had the highest incidence of poverty in the entire country – 63.7%.

Some of the activities of the REST programme are:

  • Support for recently orphaned children and children in need of short term care while they are seeking to be reunited with their families.
  • Day to day care for out-of-school children as they wait schools to be re opened
  • Creating support groups for parents and food security for families through the Food Always in the Home (FAITH) gardening partnership
  • Training school guidance counsellors and teachers in trauma debriefing

Combating Child Trafficking: Chheoun’s Phanith’s Story

Read this true story of the impact that the Cambodian Hope Organisation (CHO) is having in combatting child trafficking on the borders of Cambodia and Thailand through its Anti-Trafficking Programme.

“My name is Chheoun Phanith. I am 13 years old. My parents are farmers and I have six siblings. I live with my family in Sentepheap village. I study in a CHO non-formal school (school on a mat class) in my village. In the past, I had never heard about human trafficking or sexual abuse. I used to walk to school alone in a very quiet place; I never thought that something bad could happen to me, and didn’t think these things could happen to boys. I had trusted strangers when they came to my village and gave me some sweets. One day, I had the chance to hear information about preventing trafficking and abuse from CHO’s anti-trafficking staff on a children’s day camp in my village. I learned how to protect myself from danger and I will share this information with my neighbours’ children. Finally, I would like to say thank you to CHO staff for spending your time to teach the children in my village. Please continue to provide more awareness information to the people in other villages. May God bless you all!”

Syria stories

The Kasouha family

The Kasouha family were well known in their region for trying hard to prevent militants from invading their village. They built barricades and lost several young men who were killed in the process. Finally, they lost the battle, and with it their homes, businesses, churches and more. This particular family was wealthy and influential; nonetheless, they found themselves internally displaced with hardly anything to live on.

The surviving relatives refurbished a small barn to shelter three generations of the family. They decorated the walls with photos of family members lost in the struggle. Though relatively small, the food assistance provided by Tearfund’s local partner has had a significant positive impact on the family at this difficult time.

Larissa’s story

Larissa is a foreigner who was married to a Syrian and has two children. She is now a single mother, and was living in Homs with her children. They were recently displaced and are now living in another village without any income. Tearfund’s local partner was well placed to assist Larissa, meeting her and her children’s basic food needs during this period of displacement.

Aram’s story

Aram Ishak Banonian, 28, is married and has a one-year-old baby. Aram was caught up in an armed ambush inside Syria, and was wounded in his shoulder, knee and lower abdomen.
He has undergone several serious surgeries, and will need more – but for now he is on the path to recovery. Without an income, and with significant medication expenses, the food assistance from Tearfund’s local partner has allowed the family to meet their basic food needs during this hugely challenging time.

Samar’s story

When Asif, one of the workers from Tearfund’s local partner, delivered a package of food to a Syrian woman named Samar, he didn’t realise the crucial timing of his visit. As Samar opened the door and recognised the food package, she immediately began to cry. Ushering Asif into her home, she showed him a humble kitchen with empty food shelves and a refrigerator containing only a few loaves of bread.
With tears falling down her face, Samar said, ‘Thank you Lord, because from nowhere and from an empty kitchen I now have plenty, and all is full.’ She continued, ‘How generous you are, O Lord,’ and started thanking God for all those who had made this possible. As Asif was leaving Samar’s home, he could hear her saying in a faint voice, ‘My house is full – my house is full!’

(*Names have been changed to protect identities)

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