The conflict in Syria begins its ninth year with no sign of ending at the moment. As global attention drifts away, more than 6.2 million internally displaced people are still struggling to shelter and feed themselves. The most critical time for these refugees is to live through the brisk winter every year. Between December last year and January this year, it was reported that at least 29 children and newborns died, mainly from hypothermia, while fleeing to refugee camp in the eastern region of the country or shortly after arrival .
Youtube screen capture of a SAT-7 ACADEMY programme, City of Stars
“Through satellite TV, we can reach out to 450 million people in this part (Middle East and North Africa) of the world, where most people have never met a Christian, seen a church or had a Bible in their own hands, but they can see the Gospel at home. They can watch our programmes in their language 24 hours a day — our production crew knows their problems and difficulties, and also their source of happiness.” —Kurt Johansen, executive director of SAT-7 Europe, Asia and Pacific
The conflict in Syria has already been 8 years. Although extremist group ISIS was reported driven out of the country, this multi-nations battle is yet to be ended. The Syrian government forces were still fighting with the rebels in May. Chronic warfare resulted in uncountable casualties and destruction. Millions of civilians lost their homes, and were either displaced within the country or have fled to countries in the Middle East and North Africa to seek asylum, such as Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan. When their homelands were still devastated by conflicts, rebuilding their country seemed impossible. How do these refugees live in neighbouring countries? Why are their children and other Middle Eastern and North African children described as “the lost generation”? While facing multifaceted challenges, how does this younger generation bear hope for the future? Kurt Johansen, executive director of SAT-7 Europe, Asia and Pacific, a partner of CEDAR, answered our questions one by one.
(Photo taken in Kurigram District of northern Bangladesh)
Written by Tony Chan (Senior Partnership Development Officer)
Friends asked me, “Your organisation (CEDAR Fund) is for poverty alleviation. Why does it actively promote environment protection?”
This is closely related to CEDAR’s understanding of poverty. We believe that poverty is resulted from an impaired relationship. In the beginning of creation, relationships between man and God, man and man, and man and nature were good. However, man sinned and disobeyed God, and even exploited others and the nature for their own benefits. Those who were exploited became the poor.
In our seven weeks of Lent practice, we explored Creation Care from different perspectives. We also reflect on our relationships with the nature, neighbours in poverty, and our community through scriptures, songs, and actions. Creation Care is indeed propelling us to embrace the created world and all creations with care and love. This is what Jesus manifested to the world. Therefore, this care and love for creations and people are obviously evangelistic and missional.
The author (far right) and other trippers visited ethnic minorities in northern Thailand
[“SHARE” JUL – SEP 2019 ] TAKING ACTION
Written by: Janice Cheng (participant of CEDAR’s exposure trip in 2018; church pastor)
In December last year, I went to the Thai-Myanmar border with CEDAR to learn about their poverty alleviation projects in the area. The 8-day trip enabled me to understand more about the region. We visited some villages with CEDAR’s local partners and spoke to various individuals during our time there.
The residents are mostly ethnic minority groups from the mountainous areas, and they all have their own predicaments to overcome. There are abandoned single mothers and minority groups who have been relocated to the border area in northern Thailand due to warfare and other problems. Since they have not been granted Thai citizenship, they do not enjoy any social welfare, employment or education benefits or support.
[“SHARE” APR – JUN 2019 ] JOIN HANDS JOIN HEARTS
We put on armors to fight to eliminate harmful traditional practices
Subvert the harmful influences and effects
We are united and determined to take actions
Because we are now well awaken to the scourge.
Ignorant people in the past
Have been badly harmed by them
Because they did not know any better.
Ignorant people in the past believed
Harmful traditional practices were good for them
When indeed their lives were at stake.
Female Genital Mutilation is a major harmful practice.
Sugar-coated as prestigious and noble,
FGM suffocated our mothers
We regret and repent for the harm incurred.
FGM steals away sexual pleasures, corrupts marriages
And adds complications to child birth.
(Lyrics edited by CEDAR Fund, originally written by a member
from the ant-FGM group in Ethiopia.)
Under the warmth of the bright and serene sun, a group of Ethiopian village and school girls stood before a hundred villagers, and sang the above song with shiny smiles and beaming faces. Some of them had a uniformed yellow T-shirt on, where the slogan “STOP Female Genital Mutilation” was displayed clearly in the local language. This day was the special day of village education day, and also the performance day of the advocacy club.