Chennai, the largest economic and trading city in south India, is unfortunately the top suicidal city in India. Last July, our staff Fountain visited Christian Missions Charitable Trust (CMCT), CEDAR’s local partner in India, and spent some time with the families of the children beneficiaries to better understand their lives.
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Interviewed and arranged by>Jojo Poon
Last November CEDAR staff Chik Tsan-ming (‘Chik’) visited our partners Family AIDS Caring Trust (FACT) and Trinity Project Trust (‘Trinity’) in Zimbabwe and met some of the children and families under their assistance program. To Chik, Zimbabwe is rich in natural resources, has good infrastructure and a high adult literacy of over 90%, but at the same time many vacant shopping malls and factories, an 80% unemployment rate and the typical day of having no lunch for most people.
Zimbabwe became independent and the white minority rule ended in 1980. The country then elected its first democratic president Robert Mugabe and he has been ruling Zimbabwe since then. After coming to power, Mugabe evicted the white landowners and confiscated all their lands, ruining Zimbabwe’s agricultural production and development, causing a sharp fall in the nation’s economy. Facing a weak economy and long-term debt, the Zimbabwean government printed banknotes in an attempt to cover the deficit but that only resulted in inflation in terms of millions and currency devaluation. High inflation, high unemployment rate and a high AIDS population all contributed to Zimbabwe’s poverty today.
‘I believe what the Zimbabwean children need most is an “identity”, legally and psychologically.’ Chik visited a local primary school in which two-thirds of the pupils do not have any identity document, without which they can neither continue their education nor inherit their parents’ possessions.
A staff member of FACT told Chik that her wish is these orphans could feel loved like other normal children. This touched Chik deeply. Yes, love is not restricted by blood relations, and although these orphans no longer have their parents’ love and protection, they are still loved by the church and the local community. We pray that the AIDS-orphans in Zimbabwe will truly know and experience that they are also being loved.
Chik was saddened with what he saw in Zimbabwe but he also witnessed how God trained the local churches to respond to the community needs according to the bible’s teaching, that the churches take part in nurturing and training the Zimbabwean children for the nation’s future development. Chik believes this is the ultimate objective of children ministry in poverty relief. ‘Join Hands Join Hearts’ Children Ministry Scheme
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The 6.5 foot tall sculpture ‘Survival of the Fattest’ by Jens Galschiøt (who also made the Pillar of Shame) and Lars Calmar was exhibited in Hong Kong during the anti-WTO protest in 2003.
Author: Fountain CHIK, Programme Officer
I encountered the sculpture in 2003 and read its inscription: ‘I’m sitting on the back of a man. He is sinking under the burden. I would do anything to help him, except stepping down from his back.’ It has embedded in my mind and I have recalled it often.
Since 2006, either from a distance or close up, I started caring about CEDAR’s concerns. The skinny figure surged my mind as I met with the survivors of the Sri Lanka tsunami, the Hmong people of North Thailand who hold no identity, the impoverished farmers of Hubei, and the Bangladeshi slum dwellers. The figure shoulders a heavy burden, and although his back is straight, the load’s weight forces his head to be lowered.
The fat woman above him is blind to their dangerous situation: she is over-weight even to the point of threatening her own health; her ‘foundation’ is not steady either – top-heavy and fragile like hitting an egg against the wall; both seem to be in danger.
He is stressed, so is the fat woman; their fates are intertwined and tangled. The fat woman is hijacking the skinny man and both are at a dead end.
O Lord who daily bears our burdens  , You bore the sins of mankind but Your yoke is easy. You teach by word and deed and show the world a new way: ‘Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.’ 
How we wish the fat woman would step down and share with the skinny man the scales of justice in her hand, and walk humbly together with God on a new path.
Fountain went on CEDAR’s Sri Lanka exposure trip in 2006, was with a Hmong tribal village in North Thailand on a two-month seminary practicum in 2010. He joined CEDAR in March 2012.