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Imagine living in a rural village of about 250 people. It’s been your home since birth, and each day follows the simple but tough life of subsistence farming. Access to health services, education, and employment opportunities is severely limited, so, like everyone here, you make a living off the land and strive to give your children the opportunities that you didn’t have.

But for four to five months of every year, the dry season and erratic rainfall make it impossible to grow your crops. When the seasonal drought hits and there isn’t enough water for farming, you and every working-aged person along with your families must migrate far away from home to try to find work to survive. The village becomes practically deserted, leaving only the elderly. Think of what this instability does to your children’s education and the development of your community!

This was the case for a village in Sarenga, West Bengal before our partners the Church of North India (CNI) through the Diocese of Durgapur asked how they could help.

The villagers’ request was a simple one: find a way to put in place a sustainable source of crop irrigation that doesn’t dry up when the rain stops and the local streams become empty.

Thanks to the generosity of UnitingWorld supporters, our partners were able to purchase and install two submersible pumps that can channel large volumes of water across long distances. The new sources of irrigation mean that the community can continue farming throughout the year and not have to travel away and work for others to earn a living. Summer in Sarenga this year has the usual erratic rainfall and dryness. But due to this project, we know that there is now an entire village of people who no longer have to uproot their lives for months at a time and who are hard at work contributing to their families and community.

UnitingWorld’s Program Manager Shreshtha Kumar visited the village this year and was blown away by the complete turnaround described by the people.

It’s so heart-warming to see how the village has become a self-sufficient community. The people can now rely on far better food security and the whole life of the village is benefitting.

Our partners are also helping the community to access high-quality education through their study centre and self-help groups, teaching skills to people to help them develop extra sources of income and pathways to career opportunities.

This is how our partners are making incredible change in 26 rural villages across Sarenga and Ranibandh provinces as well as in two urban slums in Durgapur. These communities are extremely poor and marginalised but are on the way to having more sustainable, healthy and hopeful futures thanks to the love and support of our partners.

This project is such an inspiring example of the life-changing work that UnitingWorld and our supporters get to be a part of, and it’s a testament to our belief that just a few small interventions—guided by communities themselves—can lead to radically positive and long-term change for so many people.

As part of Lent Event, we’re fundraising to support this work that is changing lives and transforming communities in India and beyond. Will you help us reach our goal? Your gift will go a very long way to helping so many people and communities lead lives of dignity and hope.

Durgapur Sewing Centre for Adolescent Girls and Married Women

This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). Thanks to ANCP, we’re making a huge difference together; lifting families out of poverty and helping people improve their lives.

 

With everything going on in the world, it’s easy to feel powerless. The challenges are huge.  

But here’s the thing: by supporting UnitingWorld, you’re part of a global movement working together to change lives – including yours! Because when we work for change, we ourselves are changes. 

Lent is coming. It’s a 40-day season to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, seeking to practice a life focused on prayer, simplicity and generosity. It’s a precious opportunity to step back from the noise, take some intentional time to fix our hearts on what we can do to love our neighbours and heal our hurting world. 

Join us for Lent Event 2023

Pray – Use our prayer guide to pray alongside our partners as they address the challenges facing their communities. 

Live simply - Give up something in solidarity with people who have less. 

Give - Donate or fundraise to help our partners fighting poverty and injustice.   

This is the difference you can make

$25 can provide nutritious food to kids in Timor-Leste. 
$50 can help a family start pig breeding in Indonesia. 
$100 can provide job opportunities and education for a person with a disability in Sri Lanka. 
$500 can send a girl to school in India. 
$1,000 can supply clean water for a village in Papua New Guinea.

Join Lent Event

 


Kim’s Story

Kim is a youth leader and champion of bringing clean water and sanitation education to where it’s most needed in remote Papua New Guinea. 

“When we build clean water infrastructure on our church or school properties, we always try to put it in the middle of the island so people can stop by on their way to town to get water,” Kim told us.   

“We try to do things in ways that ensure everyone in the community benefits.”  

Kim is making waves in his community with the support of people like you. Read his full story here. 

This is what happens when we choose to walk hand in hand with our neighbours. Together, we can change lives. 

Will you join us?

Make a difference

“When I was a child, I would sit on my mother’s lap and she would tell me the stories of our people. It meant that my whole life I’ve known who I am because I know my story. 

“I’m so grateful for it because today it’s fading away. It’s harder for young people because of the noise of modern life.” 

Ever since I heard this from Kim Allen (pictured), a youth leader with our partner, the United Church in Papua New Guinea, I can’t get it out of my mind. I think it’s because his words transcend his culture and speak into our current moment in time.   

At just 28 years old, Kim is responsible for around five thousand youth across almost ten remote islands. He acts as a facilitator to connect youth to the work of the church.  

“The challenges we’re facing are school dropouts, unemployment, early marriage and the impacts of climate change,” he told me.  But the underlying problem affecting young people today is what he describes as ‘noise’.  

“Young people are exposed to so much noise, with the internet, mobile phones, drugs, peer pressure, music. They can’t focus.”  

I asked Kim how he and his church are addressing it: 

“The first step is to help them be aware of themselves and their lives as children of God,” Kim said. “With that awareness we can then meet them at a practical level, training them to be good citizens, to work against violence, to build up their communities. The church gives them hope and a solid foundation to be human. We see that as intrinsic to spiritual development.”  

I think we can all relate to that feeling of too much noise in our busy, modern world. I love that Kim’s antidote is having greater awareness of who we are as children of God as a first step to refocusing our lives.   

I know I don’t have to tell you how powerful that idea is, but I always find the reminder encouraging. When we see ourselves and others as created children of God, infinitely loved and valuable, our hearts are changed. We can’t ignore the cries of people suffering in poverty and injustice. We long to make a difference, and through God and God’s people, we find the power to do it.  

I hope, like me, you find strength and encouragement in that thought, because it’s a critical time to play your part, however you can. Here at UnitingWorld and across our church, we do that together during Lent with Lent Event. We reach out to others through prayer, living more simply and practising generosity.  

It’s such a powerful time! 

Pray – Use our prayer guide to pray alongside our partners as they address the challenges facing their communities. 

Live simply - Give up something in solidarity with people who have less. 

Give - Donate or fundraise to help our partners fighting poverty and injustice.   

Every prayer, action and gift make a difference, and not just for people overcoming poverty. Because when we work for change, we too are changed.  

I hope you’ll join us for Lent Event this year as we seek to refocus our lives through prayer, simplicity and generosity.  In 2023, Lent is from 22 February to 6 April.

Head to www.lentevent.com.au today to get started.  

In hope and gratitude,  

Dr Sureka Goringe
National Director, UnitingWorld

Methodist Church in Fiji Circuit Minister, Rev Uluilakeba Ligiraki, was one of 26 leaders who attended a workshop on Gender Equality Theology, run by the church in partnership with  UnitingWorld.

He found the training confronting, challenging his whole perspective about gender and what the Bible has to say about positive human relationships.

“I used to have the perspective of male‑dominant rule in the family, and issues of gender were confronting to me, but after the workshop my perspective of seeing things changed,” said Rev  Ligiraki.

“It drastically changed my thoughts and behaviour. Before, I used to see household chores as female work but now my wife is happy to see me helping her out in washing the dishes, ironing my children’s uniforms in the morning, cooking and other little tasks. My wife has spoken to me about the changes that she has seen in my life, and [that] she is happy about it. I really thank God for that.”

This change of perspective has also become a part of his preaching and work as a Circuit Minister.

“I now view violence against women as one of the most important issues to address especially in the church. I am doing it through preaching, teaching and talanoa sessions,” Rev Ligiraki said.

“Women in the church have now positively voiced out their opinions and men are willing to accept to hear from them in a respectable manner. That wasn’t the norm before in the circuit that I now serve.”

Photo: Methodist Church in Fiji Gender Equality Theology (GET) Minister, Rev Noa Turaganivalu presents Circuit Minister Rev Uluilakeba Ligiraki with his GET Advocate and Trainer certificate.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to our appeal to help our church partners end family violence through Gender Equality Theology. At time of writing, we’re just over two thirds of the way to reaching our $90,000 goal.

If you’re inspired by the work of the Pacific Church, please support their mission by visiting www.unitingworld.org.au/endviolence

Our church partners in Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati and Solomon Islands are reaching out in faith to shift community norms and behaviours that allow or excuse family violence, to prevent it long before it has the chance to happen. They are doing it using the heart language of the Pacific, where upwards of 90% of people identify with a Christian faith.

Since 2012, we’ve been supporting our Pacific partners in a unique and powerful approach, addressing the root causes and breaking cycles of violence that go back generations, through gender equality theology.

The results are incredible. There’s exciting change happening in our partner churches: hearts moved, lives transformed away from violence, families and communities made safer. Read more

Here, some of our partners share about the impact of gender equality theology in their lives and communities.

And you can see it for yourself! Download our Gender Equality Theology Resource Pack here.

We need your support to continue this life-changing work.

This program was previously supported by the Australian Government, but the grant expired in 2021. Your support will help us continue this powerful and unique work to end family violence, led by our Pacific partners. We hope to raise $90,000 to keep it going strong. 

Donate now

Mereani Nawadra, Methodist Church in Fiji and Pacific Conference of Churches

“What does peace mean to me as a woman? Peace is gender equality. Peace is education. Peace is freedom from violence and oppression. Peace is being able to walk on the streets of Suva without the fear of being sexually harassed or assaulted.”

Pastor Lima Tura, United Church in the Solomon Islands (centre)

“90% of people in the Solomon Islands believe in God. When a message about women comes from the Bible, their eyes are open, they feel it has more weight. And that’s why we will see a reduction in gender-based violence and increased respect for women in our society.”

Pastor Nippy Aiong, Presbyterian Church Vanuatu

“Many people don’t believe until they study the Bible notes we make [on gender equality] and then they say, ‘Oh! There is something here for us!’ And they are accepting women as equals. I cannot tell you what a change this is for us.”

Rev Dr Cliff Bird, United Church in the Solomon Islands

“Statistics on violence against women and girls and children are shocking… they must lead [us] to actions that counter the evil head on. It is people who construct cultures, it is also people who can and must change cultures that dehumanise and deny certain groups of people their God-given humanity, dignity and equality.”

Bairenga Kirabuke, Kiribati Uniting Church

“Rates of violence are too high, and people need to choose a more peaceful way. It starts with small things: men being more helpful, sharing the load, considering others. That can be a good first step. I hope we can take the message of Gender Equality Theology to all the outer islands of Kiribati.”

Growing up, Rev Noa Turaganivalu had a typical life for a boy in Fiji.

He was raised in a rural village on a small, remote island, played a lot of rugby and went away to a boarding school (where he played more rugby). And as the only son in a family of six, he was always regarded as ‘first’ and ‘above’ his three sisters.

“It’s been a cultural and traditional norm for the male to come first and be at the top of everything we do. That’s how I was raised. … I was taught that being a man meant to be strong, and women were inferior to men,” says Rev Noa.

It is no secret that such norms can be a factor in the prevalence of violence against women everywhere. In the Pacific, where the vast majority of people identify as Christian, Pacific churches have a huge role to play in ending violence.

Today Rev Noa is an ordained minister and, supported by UnitingWorld, is a champion of gender equality for the Methodist Church in Fiji (MCIF). But it’s been a long journey to where he is now, Rev Noa admits.

The patriarchal mentality he grew up with continued into his marriage.

“Back then I tried to take ownership of my wife. I was abusive and she can tell many stories of how I used to treat her,” Rev Noa says.

The journey to change for Rev Noa started at theological college but wasn’t fully developed until he was confronted by the theology of gender equality expressed by Solomon Islander theologians Rev Dr Cliff Bird and Rev Siera Bird, and others.

Before embracing his post as Gender Equality Theology (GET) Minister for MCIF, Rev Noa spent an entire year grappling with the gender equality Bible studies and other resources, first reading and meditating on the ideas, and then starting to enact them in his life.

“As I looked deep into the theology, it was something that transformed me: The way I see the world, the way I see my wife and my children and the way I see others,” says Rev Noa.

“When we go out from the right interpretation of the Bible, that men and women were created in the image and likeness of God, that does not allow you to do any harm or abuse to anyone.”

Rev Noa says his life has changed in a way that makes him proud as a husband, father and grandfather.

“I can now respect my wife for who she is, her dignity and also my children and grandchildren. They can tell the story of my transformation in the way I speak and the way I act now.”

Supported by UnitingWorld, Rev Noa has been travelling throughout Fiji, preaching at churches and fellowship groups, running workshops, training ministers and lay leaders and changing hearts with his powerful testimony as he teaches the biblical basis for gender equality and anti-violence.

It’s busy, hard work. But Rev Noa says things are changing before his eyes.

“The ball is rolling. Slowly, because this work is countercultural and counter-traditional,” he says.

“Thank you all in the Uniting Church for your partnership. We need your prayers and support as we try to bring peace and stability to our nation and our world.”

We Need Your Help!

This program was previously supported by the Australian Government, but the grant expired in 2021.

Over the coming months, we will be sharing stories and fundraising to continue this powerful and unique work led by our Pacific partners. We hope to raise $90,000.

To donate and find out more, visit www.unitingworld.org.au/endviolence We look forward to keeping you updated about this life-changing project!

Top photo caption: Rev Noa and his family “I can now respect my wife for who she is, her dignity and also my children and grandchildren.”

 

Rev Noa, Gender Equality Theology Minister for Methodist Church in Fiji, preaching about the biblical basis for gender equality and anti-violence.

 

Even before she was conceived, Mery Kolimon had a calling.

Her parents, Timorese nationals from one of Indonesia’s most beautiful archipelagos, dedicated their first child to God’s work even before Mery’s mother fell pregnant. It was a promise with a profound impact.

Rev Dr Mery Kolimon is now the first woman to become Moderator of our partner church in West Timor, the Christian Evangelical Church in Timor (GMIT). Under her leadership, GMIT is deeply committed to helping transform every aspect of the society it serves.

“I’m glad that my parents promised me to the Church and to the world,” Rev Mery says, via a Zoom call squeezed in between many others. She is recovering personally from COVID-19 and leading a team responding not only to the pandemic, but to the worst cyclone in West Timor’s history.

“I believe the role of the Church is to be actively immersed in every part of our society- the economy, environment, socially, politically and spiritually.

It’s not enough for us to teach or proclaim the Good News. We must work hard to become it for those around us.”

It’s an absolutely no holds barred approach to the meaning of faith, refreshingly clear about the role of the Christian church. In a country where COVID-19 is decimating the population and the economy, and where poverty has always stalked families and hollowed out dreams, Rev Mery’s vision of the good news leaves no room for debates between word and deed.

“We are here to strengthen people’s faith and spirituality, but we can’t be only busy with ourselves,” Rev Mery says. “Malnutrition, human trafficking, poverty, disaster – how is the Church the good news in all of this?”

A church relevant to its people

GMIT is right where its community needs it most. They offer prayer, trauma counselling and activities to engage children who lost everything in the recent cyclone.

Their preaching focusses on finding God in suffering, care for creation and environmental stewardship.

They help re-train those who are in desperate need of income, offering small business start up loans and education on everything from livestock breeding to marketing.

They’ve been actively assessing disaster-struck regions to support government efforts to provide help, and on the ground providing their own resources like solar lamps, food, clean water, school uniforms and building material. And they’ve been in touch with other partners in the region to find out how to build back better.

In other words, they’re a people with an impact upon every aspect of life. Their ministry really matters.

Unique perspectives

As the first woman to become Moderator of her church, Rev Mery is often asked what she wants her legacy to be. GMIT has a long history of women’s engagement in ministry, with ordination of women beginning in 1959. But what would a church led by a woman in the top job look like, she’s asked?

“I don’t know if its about gender as much as it is about power,” Mery responds. “I see my role as being about empowering others, about how power is managed especially for those who have the least. This has always been the way of Jesus – standing with those who are poor, bringing liberation to those with heavy burdens.”

Each year, GMIT chooses a passage of scripture to guide its ministry for the next twelve months.  This year, Rev Mery says, Ezekiel 37:10 has provided the vision the Church needs.

“God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy that the dry bones in the valley would come back to life,” she says.

“That’s our role – to breathe life back into that which seems dry and hopeless. We are building something new for the child who dreams of going to school and can’t afford the fees… for the family looking for hope… for the earth itself as we look for ecological renewal.”

Rev Mery and GMIT stand among so many of our partners who share similar holistic, inspiring approaches to their life together. This month, we’re highlighting their work and hope you’ll join us in prayer and giving as we live the gospel among our global neighbours.

Donate here to support our partners like Rev Mery and the Christian Evangelical Church in Timor

My name is Anna and I am 58 years old.  I live in Gokwe South. I’m a proud member of a group started by the Methodist Church of Zimbabwe Relief and Development (MeDRA) in 2017.

Our group is called kunzwa nekuita which means ‘hearing and doing’. As well as education about health and hygiene, we began an internal lending and savings project to help boost our household income. We started our poultry breeding project with 50 chickens and sell an average of 6 chickens to neighbours at an average monthly income of 800ZLW (A$3.17)

We inject this money back into our group so we can expand our activities. We encourage our communities to maintain clean homes free from litter and practise personal hygiene by washing with soap and water. We’ve also taught our community to erect tippy taps at their homes, dig rubbish tips and use blair toilets.

Recently MeDRA staff visited us to provide COVID-19 awareness to our group and gave us education and communication materials for an in-depth knowledge of the disease. We weren’t sure about the hand washing, social distancing, symptoms of COVID-19 or the referral path for a person suspected of a COVID-19 infection, but we now have flyers and posters so we can prevent the spread of the disease.

As a group we really feel there is a need to reach out to men as they have challenges in practicing measures given by our government on COVID-19 prevention. Many men also believe hygiene is only a women’s issue and do not take awareness campaigns seriously.

I would like to thank MeDRA for supporting us with this education so we can spread the word and keep our community safe from COVID-19. I also feel there is a great need for sanitisers, masks and more training to prevent the myths about the disease from spreading.

If we remain united and practice the regulations, we are very hopeful we can fight COVID-19 in our community.

UnitingWorld’s partner, the Methodist Church of Zimbabwe Relief and Development Agency (MEDRA) is working to raise awareness and stop the spread of COVID-19. While many regular activities are currently on hold due to lockdowns, the team have re-focussed all their energy toward providing vulnerable communities with education and awareness on COVID-19, as well as supplying food and sanitation items like soap and hand washing stations.

You can help by donating today to our COVID-19 appeal. Please give to help save lives and protect livelihoods.

*As a valued partner of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program, we are eligible for funding that means tax-time donations can go up to six times as far in the field saving lives. We’ve committed to raise $1 for every $5 for which we’re eligible, and that’s where your donation has its power.

Every dollar will be used for immediate COVID-19 responses providing food and sanitation packs, health information and hand washing facilities, as well as fighting to keep poverty at bay long term through sustainable development projects.

Please give at www.unitingworld.org.au/actnow or call us on 1800 998122

UnitingWorld is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

Almost exactly three months ago, a colleague and I threw on medical masks to board a plane for Colombo, Sri Lanka. We snapped off a few pics for laughs and then chucked them in our bags for the rest of the trip…I haven’t seen them since.

Over five steaming hot days (think humidity so solid you can eat it), I met people who left me feeling inspired and hopeless and uplifted and angry and helpless and all the usual things because #Cathgetsfeels… but one young guy in particular, let’s call him Raj, put down a little anchor in my heart. He has Down syndrome and went through schooling provided by the disability unit of the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka, mainstreamed within his local school. His teachers remember him as ‘cheeky, talkative and always ready with a laugh ❤️

Finding people who love and respect the value of others, especially those with disabilities, can be a challenge anywhere in the world, including right here in Australia, yes? But in developing countries, that heartbreak is magnified tenfold. The staff in that school weren’t just pinpricks of light in the lives of individuals, they were a blazing counter-cultural beacon. Raj’s family knew it, too. They were anxious about what would become of him once he outgrew formal schooling. Poverty among Tamil people on the east coast of Sri Lanka is much higher than for the rest of the population – and many times worse for people with disabilities.

But Raj struck gold again – the church approached his neighbour, a mechanic, who took him on as an apprentice. When we met him, he was welding bike bits and dreaming of, “never marrying. Just buying as many shoes as I like.” ?? What’s not to love about that ambition?


His sense of freedom was as radiant as the sparks from his tools. Inclusive education and an advocate who believed in him have changed his future forever.

We left with his tale and his pics and I promised him we’d tell his story far and wide. Within two weeks of our return, Australia’s borders were shut; since then 349,000 people have died from COVID-19. And this is the first time I’ve spoken about Raj to anyone other than family.

Do you know how many people like Raj, who took the opportunities in front of them and ran for life, face the prospect of being dragged back to poverty’s dungeon as a result of COVID-19?

Half a billion. Half a billion.

In Sri Lanka, the streets are quiet. There are no bikes to fix and no school; those with the means clean out the supermarkets on the few days they’re open, and people who relied on a daily wage – like servants, construction workers, small stall holders – have no money for food. Raj isn’t working, isn’t earning an income, and doesn’t have a place to share his grin – not now, and not for the foreseeable future. This is what COVID-19 will take from him and millions of others.

I know it’s not only Raj and people in the developing world who are struggling; it’s also our own families and friends who’ve had jobs and income snatched away, and lost maybe just as much at the visceral level of anxiety and loneliness and hopes eroded. Acknowledging our local need is deeply significant, but it’s not the whole story, and it’s not forever. What comes next?

There’s been so much talk of ‘in this together’ but how long can it last? As our own restrictions start to lift and we put toes back into social and economic waters, how long will we still speak about ‘together’? And who’s included in that category? It’d be so easy for us to try to just ‘get back to normal’, albeit with an even greater commitment to safeguarding ourselves physically, emotionally and economically from another event like this one.

And yet for a few more weeks at least, here we are, still a bit raw and nervy with our bellies exposed. For just a few more weeks, the absolute fragility of our lives still hangs in the balance and we feel, perhaps a little, what it might be like to be without job security, or deflated entirely by the reality of what’s hit and what’s to come. And maybe even a bit alone.

We know that when budget time comes around next, the Australian Government will most likely raid the foreign aid budget to help make up the massive debt we’ve racked up rescuing ourselves from this train wreck. And we know that most Australians will get behind the move, because even though we give 0.21% of GNI (Gross National Income – about 21c for every $100 Australia earns) to support our neighbours, the population in general THINKS it’s about 14%, which they believe is too high and should be reduced to 10% ?. Every single country in the world will do the same. And the people with the least means to survive this thing, once again, will suffer the most.

Unless?

Tonight, flicking through the pics on my iPhone, I found Alex, me and Raj in a selfie (okay quite a few selfies) and I wonder: how is he doing? What is he thinking? Is there any hope for his future?

Actually, there is. But it means each of us continuing to embrace the vision of ‘together’ and walking away from the fear that makes us wonder if we have the means to look after anyone but ourselves.

We do. We can. If we were each to give even just a small amount, today, or even better each month, we could be part of making life immeasurably, unimaginably, better for someone like Raj. It really doesn’t take that much- but it gives back out of all proportion.

The video below is the story we told, when we got home, instead of Raj’s. I feel sadder about that than anything. Please take a look and if you can, act. Donations to UnitingWorld can go up to six times as far for people like Raj right now thanks to the help of Australian Government funding.*

I’m delighted to see the way we’ve managed this crisis as a nation and the steps we’re making toward recovery.  But it also breaks my heart that once again, that recovery will be deeply uneven around the world.  Please don’t chuck your mask in your bag and move on forever. This story still needs telling.



*As a valued partner of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), we are eligible for funding that means tax-time donations can go up to six times as far in the field saving lives. We’ve committed to raise $1 for every $5 for which we’re eligible, and that’s where your donation has its power.

Every dollar will be used for immediate COVID-19 responses providing food and sanitation packs, health information and hand washing facilities, as well as fighting to keep poverty at bay long term through sustainable development projects.

Please give at www.unitingworld.org.au/actnow or call us on 1800 998 122

UnitingWorld is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

Timor Leste is still one of the youngest nations in the world. Officially formed in 1999, 42% of its population is under the age of 14 (18% of Australians are under 14). That adds up to lot of young people to be nurtured and guided, all of them the children of parents traumatised by years of conflict during the fight for independence.

Timor Leste’s Protestant Church is building the future from the ground up by nurturing and protecting her young people. With UnitingWorld’s support, they’re giving groundbreaking insights into the nature of child protection, implementing new policies in schools and churches, teaching leaders to spot the signs of neglect and abuse, and standing up for the victims of family violence.

The workshops have been funded by your recent gifts through Lent Event and are dramatically changing the way children and young people are cared for.

“There were 60 people at the recent workshop in Dili from churches, schools and the community,” says UnitingWorld’s South East Asia Coordinator Debora Murthy. “For most, this is very new information. Culturally, children tend to be overlooked, especially when there are added pressures like family trauma or poverty. If a child has a disability, they are even more vulnerable. We’ve been looking at the special place Jesus gave to children and the way Jesus stood up for those who were badly treated. In many places, if abuse happens it is covered up; both pride and shame prevent crimes against children from being reported.”

Recognising Frederick Douglas’ suggestion that it is “easier to build strong children than to repair broken (wo)men,” the Church in Timor Leste is determined to chart a future of peace, compassion and hope by providing the best possible care for its next generation.

Your gifts are
making it possible.

THANK YOU to everyone who gave so generously to Lent Event this year, making it one of our best supported fundraisers in recent years.

We’re looking forward to doing it all again next year! www.lentevent.com