Once again, thanks to your wonderful generosity, we have been able to give grants to a variety of Christian projects around the world. Receiving feedback from these projects is one of the delights of grant-giving. Without stepping on a plane, we travel all over the world, hearing about people’s lives, their struggles and hardships – and their vision and hopes for the future. What is it like living on the occupied West Bank; as an orphan in Zambia; or an elderly leprosy patient in West Bengal? Perhaps some of these snapshots will give you a tiny glimpse of life in such places – and of the difference your giving is making.
Dumi International Aid is a very small charity based in the UK, but supporting a local community in Zimbabwe. It aims to use its grant to help empower local people and enable them to take responsibility for their own sustainable development. Over the last 2 years, one area on which Dumi has concentrated is in providing much-needed practical resources for Mapengani Primary School.
A much larger organisation, to which we awarded a grant, is the Bible Society which supports a wide range of Bible-based initiatives – one of these last year was to set up two Women and Children Resource Centres in Malaysia.
The grant we gave Torch Trust in 2011 enabled them to develop a specialist IT project for blind and partially sighted people, providing accessible resources on-line. They road-tested their software for producing Braille and giant-print service handouts at Spring Harvest in 2012 and say it worked extremely well.
FRRME (Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East) was delighted to receive its grant, which will go towards humanitarian aid, medical and dental care through St George’s church, Baghdad. They write: ‘Please pass on the heartfelt appreciation from Canon White and the FRRME team … The theme’ I was a stranger and you welcomed me’ is highly appropriate in this context as St George’s welcomes believers, widows, orphans and those in tremendous physical need, as well as those with spiritual questions.’
LICC (London Institute for Contemporary Christianity) put our grant towards their PrayerWorks initiative, which focuses on Christians in the workplace. They write: ‘Having initially imagined that about 50 people might sign up for each of the 40 day ‘prayer journeys’, we have been thrilled at both the number of participants (over 3,000) and the level of engagement’
The charity Open Doors is using its grant to support, train and equip Christians in Northern Nigeria. They write of recent atrocities against Christians by extremists – and say: ‘We do value the prayers and support of women around the world for our dear sisters and brothers who daily face the reality of such traumas.’
Leprosy still carries a stigma in many societies and abandoned by their communities, those affected often face homelessness and a life of begging to survive. The Leprosy Mission used the grant we gave towards providing a residential home in West Bengal for elderly patients disabled by leprosy. The home caters for 46 people, offering a safe environment where residents are able to live with dignity and are provided with good nutrition, disability care and medical treatment.
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is well-known for its peace initiatives around the world. They are using their grant to fund one such project in Kenya. They write: ‘It was a huge thrill and privilege to receive your letter and grant for the Turning the Tide programme to build peace in Kenya. This is truly wonderful news for the programme…Please extend our heartfelt thanks to all involved.’
Sportsreach aims to ‘reach the world for Christ through sport’. They run numerous sporting events around the country for children and young people, where they also share the gospel message. They used their grant to buy Bibles and Bible literature.
‘We were absolutely delighted to receive your gift…’ writes Toybox, ‘…it came as a lovely surprise…’ Toybox works with children who have largely been abandoned and often abused at the hands of adults they trusted. They plan to use their money to carry out kitchen improvements at two of their partner children’s homes in Guatemala.
One of the charities we supported in 2012 was Ebenezer Child Care Trust, in Zambia. Our grant went towards the building of a medical centre at Ebenezer, Livingstone. You can read a little about those involved in the project in a separate article.
Another charity we have supported in 2012 is the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). Maureen Jack, a former Ecumenical Accompanist, writes of the work EAPPI does in a separate article.
These are only a few snippets from the lovely letters we have received from our grant recipients, many of whom work in difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions to support some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our world. I hope you will find them informative and inspiring – and that you will remember them all in your prayers.