(Aashima Samuel, the National Director of EFIC@R, interviewed by CEDAR)
“In Indian villages, when we and church pastors advocated anti-child trafficking, some Hindi nationalists accused us of, or even attacked us for ‘brainwashing’ villagers to convert them into Christians. In fact, among them, there were traffickers slandering us to extinguish our anti-trafficking voice,” said Aashima Samuel, the National Director of Evangelical Fellowship of India Children At Risk (EFIC@R), CEDAR’s partner.
Continue reading Fear Not the Slander and Shadow, But to Break the Silence – Interview with Indian Anti-child Trafficking Activist
Angela (second from the left), Kimberly (centre) and her grandmother
[“SHARE” JUL – SEP 2019 ] TAKING ACTION
Written by: Jady Sit (Communications Officer)
“Snap!” A colourful image emerged slowly from the blur in an instant photo. A grandmother from an impoverished village in Zimbabwe saw herself and her granddaughter, Kimberly, in the picture and broke into a smile, which was rarely seen on her face. Suffering from AIDS, Kimberly was physically disabled. She was unable to speak or sit up, and had been abandoned by her mother when she was 3 years old. Since then, she had been cared for by her grandmother, who sold vegetables in front of their hut. Owing to her disability, Kimberly was sick very often. Since she did not have a birth certificate, every time her grandmother took her to the hospital, they were either refused treatment or had to pay very expensive medical fees. Nevertheless, this grandmother never felt despair. She gritted her teeth and bore it. The smile on her face when she was holding the photo clearly showed the power of love.
The person who asked Kimberly and her grandmother to take this photo was Angela from Hong Kong. Angela had gone to Zimbabwe to visit the beneficiaries of CEDAR with staff from CEDAR and other brothers and sisters in Christ. She was deeply moved by the story of grandmother and Kimberly after meeting with them. Every day, Kimberly laid on the bed in that dark little hut and fought for her life. Her grandmother prayed twice daily for her because she believed that Kimberly was the good and perfect will of God. She hoped that one day her granddaughter could study and play like other healthy children. The pair’s perseverance and hope won Angela’s respect – she decided to respond to their practical needs by sponsoring their living expenses on a regular basis.
Through the effort of our partner in Zimbabwe, Trinity Project, we finally located Kimberly’s mother. We helped Kimberly obtain her birth certificate and apply for social welfare benefits from government departments. Grandmother and Kimberly’s story even caught the media’s attention in Zimbabwe, and some of them called for society to advocate the rights of underprivileged children. Eventually, the hospital voided the pair’s debts, so Kimberly’s grandmother no longer had to worry about paying for large medical bills. And with birth certificate, Kimberly could even enjoy free medical treatment.
This one photograph records the deep love between Kimberly and her grandmother. Unfortunately, it was probably the pair’s last photo. Kimberly had gone to heaven on 8th May this year. With the grace of God and the unconditional love of her grandmother, Kimberly bravely lived until the last moment.
When this article was being written, Kimberly was still in the intensive care unit. Angela told me that she was very worried, but believed that everything was in the Hands of God. Kimberly passed away not long afterwards.
Angela reflected on her encounter with Kimberly, and she was convinced that even though sometimes things can look hopeless and futile, it is not so in God. Let me share a Bible verse as an encouragement to us all: “ and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” (Isaiah 58:10)
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In Bangladesh, arranged marriage is seen as a blessing to the family of young girls, who are often below the legal age of marriage.
Rainy is an Indian girl living in the slums of Bangladesh. Her family is of the lowest caste and could only sustain themselves by doing corpse clearers and janitorial works. They were forbidden from interacting with their community and the women in the family were not allowed outside. Rainy’s parents believed that arranging a marriage for her is a blessing to the family, and was conceivably grateful when they found a man in a rich family proposing to Rainy when she was 15, who recalled, “I was only a kid at the age of 15, I didn’t want to get married yet.” Despite her obvious reluctance and concerns, Rainy’s parents proceeded to arrange for the wedding ceremony. Fortunately, SATHI’s staff visited them in the process and explained to them the drawbacks and unlawfulness of underage marriage, which consequently led them to give in and cancelled the marriage.
Rainy is one of the few lucky girls in Bangladesh who escaped the fate of arranged marriage at a young age, who subsequently finished her high school despite the demeaning tradition.
Continue reading A Life with Hope, Untangled from Underage Marriage
Jannatul, “The Garden of Heaven,” is the name of a girl who possesses the same transcendent glow in her life, pursuing her dreams despite social and sex limitations of her culture.
Continue reading Supporting A Young Bangladeshi Girl’s Ambition
Applying for birth certificate appears to be nothing extraordinary, but for the Zimbabwean it is far from certain. Because of different reasons the Zimbabwean parents could not obtain birth certificate for their children, and their children will be limited by the lack of this certificate in their lives.
Continue reading From life to livelihood, walking with Zimbabwean
Gambi treats TPT’s project manager as his father.
Can you imagine a life without parents, health and a legal identity? At birth, Gambi (fake name) contracted HIV from his mother and later became an AIDS orphan. Instead of caring for him, his aunt took his parents’ house and even abused him. When Gambi was diagnosed with tuberculosis and became seriously ill, CEDAR Fund’s ministry partner Trinity Project Trust *(TPT) knew his case from a call asking for help and then sought for police intervention. Although Gambi was 17 years old, he was NOBODY under the law because he did not have any identification! This is also why his aunt could easily steal his house and properties.
Continue reading Invisible AIDS Orphans