(Theit Theit Shwee sewing face masks made by cloth [photo from CEDAR’s partner])
“Kacha…Kacha…” Theit Theit Shwee, a woman from the slum area of Myanmar, sat in front of a sewing machine and sewed the fabric. She carefully wrapped the two white bands and sewed them with the fabric and finished making a three-layer cloth mask. This has been her daily job, making cloth masks with other women in the community center of CEDAR’s partner.
[“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.
(CEDAR’s Project Officer Pui Shan visits a Rohingya family in Cox’s Bazar. The mother, who gave birth to a newborn baby, heard about infant vaccination service during regular household visit conducted by community health workers.)
While strolling through a muddy and dusty field, CEDAR’s Project Officer Pui Shan saw rows of tents sitting next to each other that were simply built by timber and canvas.
It is hard to maintain one’s beliefs and dreams in a stifling society. Instead of blindly following the world in aiming for a good job, it is better to spend time identifying one’s purpose in life and run towards one’s goal. I decided to spend my gap year seeing and delving into Father God’s world, and I had the precious opportunity of spending three months at CEDAR.
About 45 IDPs are now living in this open-fronted, half-built hotel building in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq.
Highlights of the Updates in Iraq
Over 55,000 IDPs are reported to have crossed into Syria from Sinjar District, including many who were trapped on Sinjar Mountain. Most made their way back into Iraq through the Pesh Khabour checkpoint in the Kurdistan Region.
Over 200,000 IDPs have entered Dahuk Governorate (Kurdistan Region) and are occupying schools, churches, mosques and unfinished buildings. Schools may not reopen on 10 September as scheduled, affecting over 850,000 children (Syrian refugees, Iraqi IDPs, Kurdish host community children).
A water plant in eastern Mosul was partially destroyed by an airstrike, leaving large parts of the city without access to water. Food shortages are reportedly already occurring in Mosul as well. Millions of Iraqis may become severely food insecure later this year if these challenges are not resolved.
The sub-district of Amirli, in Tooz district of Salah al-Din Governorate, has been surrounded by ISIS forces and completely inaccessible by road. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people reportedly remain inside Amirli, primarily Turkmen Shiites. The humanitarian situation there is said to be deteriorating quickly.
There is mounting evidence that women belonging to the Yazidi and Christian religious minorities in Iraq are being raped and sold into slavery by the Islamic State (ISIS). One of the first to speak out was Vian Dakheel, the only Yazidi female MP, who addressed the Iraqi parliament in early August.
Ask God to stop the hand of those set on violence, bloodshed and intimidation in Iraq. Pray for the establishment of a lasting peace that all people groups will be accepted and protected.
Pray for God’s protection to the minority ethnic and religious groups, especially the vulnerable children, women and elderly. Pray that those who are being raped and sold as slaves will be rescued soon.
Pray for all those who have fled their homes and are living in fear and uncertainty. Ask God to keep them safe, provide for their needs and pour out His comfort and healing on all who are grieving.
Thank God that tens of thousands of Iraqis were able to escape from Mount Sinjar, and pray for protection, provision and a rapid rescue for those who are still trapped.
Lift up leaders in Iraq and around the world, praying that God will give them wisdom as they seek a solution to the crisis.
[ePrayer – Pray for those helpless and powerless in South Sudan]
Since the eruption of fighting between the government and the opposition forces in mid-December that span across nearly half of South Sudan, UN Refugee agency (UNHCR) has estimated that at least 923,000 South Sudanese are displaced within their own country and over 293,000 people have become refugees in neighbouring countries. Tens of thousands of the displaced civilians are seeking shelter at UN peacekeeping bases (UNMISS) throughout the country.
Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that one-third of the population of South Sudan is now experiencing food shortage. Some areas of the country will be even at high risk of famine in the coming months.
In the past 5 months, gross human rights abuses have been committed by both sides in the brutal conflict, including rapes, mass killings and torture. According to a recent United Nations report, civilians were not only caught up in the violence, but were directly targeted, often along ethnic lines.
The current militarised environment places women and girls at a heightened risk of sexual violence, as armed men are seen everywhere and civilian law enforcement is virtually absent,. Even those sheltered in UN bases are not safe. Women and girls are harassed at night. Many are even too fearful to bathe at night or go out to the toilet. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) estimated that 10,000 displaced women and girls reside in areas that are inaccessible to aid organisations and are at risk of sexual violence. [IRIN, UN News (1), UN News (2)]
Meditation on Scriptures:
He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. (Psalm 146: 6-9)
In the Old Testament, the foreigner, fatherless and widow are always mentioned together. These three groups of people are the most powerless among the marginalised. The foreigners live in places not of their own, the fatherless lost their parents and live alone without any provision from others, and the widows are often ignored in the community and live without dignity. God extends His powerful arm to protect and help the most powerless, and is pleased with those who act according to His will.
Come, let us raise our hands and pray for the refugees, orphans and widows affected by the current conflict in South Sudan; and for the God’s servants who are walking with the helpless and powerless in the frontline.
Pray for those helpless and powerless in South Sudan:
Thanks God for the recent signing of an agreement between the government and the opposition forces to resolve the crisis in South Sudan, and pray for an immediate cessation of hostilities;
Pray for God’s provision to the hungers, that the children and women are protected, and those suffered from diseases, violence, abuses and traumas are healed;
Medair and Tearfund UK, also member agencies of Integral Alliance, are now serving the helpless and powerless in South Sudan. Pray for their works and safety.