[ ‘SHARE’ Jan-Feb 2014 – Who Is Willing to Be Their Neighbour? ] FOCUS ~ SOCIAL CONCERN
Interviewed and written by> Jojo & Tiffany
In September 2013 the HKSAR Government has set the poverty line for Hong Kong to be 50% of median monthly household income, and the Policy Address in January 2014 has announced a series of poverty amelioration measures. A poverty line may help the Government set appropriate poverty alleviation policies, but data and a line cannot define or reflect the real situation of poverty and the voices and expectations of marginalised groups.
The three interviewees below are from different origins and backgrounds. You may see from their sharing how the personal experiences and life expectations of different social groups among them display the uniqueness in life value that is beyond numbers and a line.
[ePrayer – Pray for the health and sanitation condition in Niger]
Open air defecation is a widespread hazard in Niger, especially in rural areas. Out of 15.5 million Nigerians, 14.1 million do not currently have access to proper toilets, while 79 percent resort to open air defecation. Contagious diseases are caused by a lack of sanitation and hygiene. Because money is needed to construct toilet and there is difficulty of maintaining the deep pit required for latrine, people living in rural Niger do not use toilet frequently Aid agency attributes this to the government’s failure to honour previous financial commitments in the sanitation sector. [IPS]
Pray for the health and sanitation condition in Niger:
Pray for the improvement of health and sanitation in Niger as well as the awareness of Nigerians on health and hygiene;
Pray that the Nigerian government will achieve its target to increase the number of people with access to sanitation from six percent in 2009 to 25 percent per year by 2015.
Since the second half of 2011, CEDAR has put in much attention to evaluate and reflect on the impacts and directions of our children ministry. After a year of study and discussion, we finally set our focus to encourage community-based children development projects and to provide training to child care givers and service providers. This will be an collaborative effort with experienced overseas partners in order to give children better rights to protection, provision and expression.
Children at risk are the main target of our projects in Myanmar in partnership with local Christian partners. Full Moon is one of our local partners, founded in 1997 to provide hostels to conflict affected children. In January 2012, due to the ceasefire agreements reached by the Karen armed groups and the Burmese government, the local situation has so improved that our partner can start planning to help older children/youth to return and reintegrate into their home villages.
Prospect in the Coming Year
Conflict is a cross-cutting issue in Myanmar, having impact on various social issues, such as ethnic conflicts, education, health and hygiene, and human trafficking. Women and children are most vulnerable in conflicts. Therefore, in coming year we will endeavour to assist the resettlement of conflict-affected communities, particularly of the Lisu people in Kachin State and the Karen people in Mon & Karen State, and seek protection for women and children from human trafficking and exploitation, child labour and abuses through education and empowerment.
‘During a monitoring visit to Myanmar at one children home with children affected by cyclone, I used a “River of Life” exercise to encourage children to explain the events that they believed are important in the past, present and future of their lives. In the exercise, a girl drew picture of a school of fish swimming together before the cyclone in 2008, followed by a fish left along in the river after the cyclone. At the end of the river of life she had three fishes swimming together again. It breaks one’s heart to see her River of Life yet it helps us to understand the painful experience in her, allowing her to express this feeling and hopefully we and our partner can better response to her needs.’
After the exposure monitoring trips and discussions in the past two years, according to a series of measurement, such as the human development index (HDI), Gini coefficient, political and social stability, uniqueness and the possibility of monitoring project, we have finally chosen Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, India, Nepal, Myanmar and China to be the focus countries for our projects.