CEDAR has been collaborating with 53 Christian organizations and churches worldwide from 2018 to 2019, to support 80 relief and development projects all over Asia, Middle East and Africa. With an enormous amount of projects and great needs in poor regions, how did CEDAR select and manage the projects? Let’s hear what our Programme Officer Hollace say.
This July, the world experienced perhaps the hottest month in over a century. It is true that the climate crisis can produce very divergent impacts on the rich and the poor. As UN expert pointed out recently, the rich have money to find ways to mitigate the threats of global warming, but the poor are powerless to protect themselves. They are left to bear the resulting heat, famine and diseases. CEDAR has had an insight into the great affliction that the poor in Zimbabwe in southern Africa have to endure.
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)
[“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.
A PADR facilitator (first right) is explaining a ploughing method
Stanley Enock Hanya is the Coordinator of Church and Community Mobilisation projects at Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), which is one of the biggest evangelical alliances in Zimbabwe. He hopes to equip faith leaders in churches to teach their congregation to facilitate community development based on biblical principles.
Written by: Stanley Enock Hanya (Church and Community Mobilisation Coordinator, EFZ)
The EFZ embarked on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) after calls for relief from previous project communities that had been affected by 2015/2016 El Niño induced drought. Realising that disaster response was not sustainable, the organisation began to intently look at the word of God for inspiration on issues of disaster prevention. It was after some soul-searching effort that we were able to adopt the Participatory Assessment of Disaster Risk (PADR) as a tool to guide the implementation of DRR initiatives in communities.
[“SHARE” JUL – SEP 2018 ] FOCUS ~ Disaster Management
Written by: Jady Sit
Every time there is a disaster, we feel sad and anxious for the suffering victims. While some people would pray for them, others would donate generously or organise a fundraising campaign, and some people would form a volunteer team to serve the devastated survivors through humanitarian work or counselling support. Although we try to give what we can, in the face of a natural disaster, we still feel helpless and powerless, because what could we do to stop tragedies that are not of our control?
In 2015, the massive earthquake in Nepal brought irreversible destructions: close to 9,000 casualties, 3.5 million people lost their homes, and Kathmandu Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was severely damaged. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the overall damage of the quake was about US$10 billion (about half of the country’s GDP). So, is it true that we cannot prevent a disaster from happening?