Dear Friends of CEDAR,
In human’s perspective, a subject’s values are often determined by its benefits to people. For example, a down coat is a necessity for people living in cold areas, but often useless for those living in tropical areas. This methodology of defining a subject’s values not only applies to materials, but also to human beings. An old Chinese tale “Wu Yen” is a good illustration. When the country was in crisis, the all-rounded ugly queen, Wu Yen, gained attention from King Xuan of Qi Dynasty. However, when the war was over, the King avoided her the furthest as possible.
Continue reading The Letter From CEDAR | July 2019
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)
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[“SHARE” JUL – SEP 2019 ] BACK TO THE BIBLE
Written by: Wance Kwan (Assistant Professor [Practical Studies], China Graduate School of Theology)
“If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:3-4)
If you are one of the few in your church who are involved in poverty alleviation work, you may be angry with the snobs in the scripture above. You might probably think that you would never be like them. However, have you ever thought that always putting the poor at the receiving end can also be considered as a form of discrimination? Such attitude of judging people by their outward appearances is being challenged in James 2:1 as favoritism.
Continue reading The Trap of Discrimination in Poverty Alleviation
[“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.
Continue reading Dignity that Cannot be Seized — Interview of Women in a Zimbabwean Village
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.
Continue reading When Poverty Becomes a Sin
[“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.
Continue reading We are awake: STOP Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)