Editor’s note: The night always seems longer when you are looking forward to dawn. The bombs and gunfire in the warzone, the ruined houses and the perilous escape have been deeply imprinted on the minds of each refugee. Today, the world is experiencing the biggest refugee crisis since the World War II. In Syria alone, over half of the pre-war population has been forced to leave their homes. In this issue of SHARE, we will focus on Syrian refugee children, known as the “lost generation”, and how CEDAR’s partner utilises satellite television to help them improve their psychological health and advance their personal development. In “Back to the Bible”, Professor Ip Hon Ho Alex shared how structural sins can twist our values and what the Apostle Paul’s reminder means to us. In “Blessings by Offering”, we will call on believers to spread love and hope by helping Syrians to survive the bitter winter.
[“SHARE” JAN – MAR 2020 ] FOCUS
Written by: Edward Lai (Senior Communications Officer)
The Syrian War has already been 8 years and it is still far from over. Chronic warfare resulted in uncountable casualties and destruction. More than 11 millions of civilians lost their homes, and were either displaced within the country or have fled to countries in the Middle East and North Africa to seek asylum, such as Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan . When their homelands are still devastated by conflicts, rebuilding their country seems impossible. How do these refugees live in neighbouring countries? Why are their children and other Middle Eastern and North African children described as the “lost generation”? While facing multifaceted challenges, how does this younger generation bear hope for the future? Kurt Johansen, executive director of SAT-7 Europe, Asia and Pacific, a partner of CEDAR, answered our questions one by one.
Continue reading Refugees Get Schooling through TV – Cries of the Middle Eastern and Northern African Children
(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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[“SHARE” JUL – SEP 2019 ] FOCUS ~ The Poor and Dignity
Written by: Tony Chan (Senior Partnership Development Officer)
“Although I’m HIV-positive, you can take photos and videos of me. I’m not scared of being seen,” said Branda, a 17-year-old girl grown up in a Zimbabwean village in Africa.
Branda lived in in Bulawayo Province of Zimbabwe. Many young people left their homes to South Africa or Botswana for a better life. However, in view of financial restraints, Branda stayed with her mother and grandmother in the village.
Branda in red long dress stood in front of my camera and performed her poems enthusiastically. Her smiles and actions showed her extraordinary self-confidence.
Continue reading Dignity that Cannot be Seized — Interview of Women in a Zimbabwean Village
Youtube screen capture of a SAT-7 ACADEMY programme, City of Stars
“Through satellite TV, we can reach out to 450 million people in this part (Middle East and North Africa) of the world, where most people have never met a Christian, seen a church or had a Bible in their own hands, but they can see the Gospel at home. They can watch our programmes in their language 24 hours a day — our production crew knows their problems and difficulties, and also their source of happiness.” —Kurt Johansen, executive director of SAT-7 Europe, Asia and Pacific
The conflict in Syria has already been 8 years. Although extremist group ISIS was reported driven out of the country, this multi-nations battle is yet to be ended. The Syrian government forces were still fighting with the rebels in May. Chronic warfare resulted in uncountable casualties and destruction. Millions of civilians lost their homes, and were either displaced within the country or have fled to countries in the Middle East and North Africa to seek asylum, such as Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan. When their homelands were still devastated by conflicts, rebuilding their country seemed impossible. How do these refugees live in neighbouring countries? Why are their children and other Middle Eastern and North African children described as “the lost generation”? While facing multifaceted challenges, how does this younger generation bear hope for the future? Kurt Johansen, executive director of SAT-7 Europe, Asia and Pacific, a partner of CEDAR, answered our questions one by one.
Continue reading Refugees Get Schooling through TV — the Cries of Middle Eastern and Northern African Children
Every year in Ethiopia, there are a few beneficiaries “graduating” from the Child Sponsorship Programme* supported by CEDAR. Generally, beneficiaries are no longer supported by the programme once they reached 18 years old, however, we believe that the criterion to “graduate” from the programme shall not be limited to their age. We, instead, take the holistic development of the beneficiaries into account. For this reason, even as they turn 18 years old, we continue to subsidise them in occupational training for 1 to 3 years in hope of a higher chance for them to be employed with a certain qualification. For those that were admitted to university, our subsidy will apply until the completion of their degrees. From 2018, the programme has subisdised 145 children and adolescents and helped 204 parents or guardians form self help groups to fight against long term poverty.
Continue reading Ethiopian Child Sponsorship Programme – Graduates Passing on the Love