Lift Up the Voice of Afghan Women

CEDAR’s partner in Afghanistan set up women self-help group for marginalised women. Besides savings, the members also learn about about health and hygiene


Afghanistan is one of the most challenging places for women to live deemed by human rights organisations.


The bodies of women are conceived as culturally obscene. A grown woman must wear a head cover, and in traditional families, a burqa, covering them from head to toe and leaving them just a tiny mesh screen to see the outside world.


Even the names of women are disapproved of, it is a disgrace for men to call their wives by their name; hence, the wives are addressed as “someone’s mother/daughter”, “my chicken”, or “my goat”. Women’s names are not even allowed to be written on their gravestones. [1]

Continue reading Lift Up the Voice of Afghan Women

Pray for Earthquake Victims in Afghanistan and Pakistan & Support Quake Relief

Since the severe earthquake that occurred at the end of October in Northern Afghanistan hillside, relief efforts continue.  This earthquake had caused landslide, and over 13,000 houses were damaged.  Over a thousand had been injured and 200 had perished, most of them were children and women.

CEDAR partner in Pakistan, Pak Mission Society (PAK) expresses concern over the coming winter.  As the damaged area had been poor, and far from urban area, meteorologists say that the cold weather will only worsen the situation.

Continue reading Pray for Earthquake Victims in Afghanistan and Pakistan & Support Quake Relief

Pray for Legal Protection Soon for Those Victims of Domestic Violence in Afghanistan

[ePrayer – Pray for Afghan government and women]

women gather in the corridor of a house

A new law that banned relatives from testifying against each other was passed by parliament in Afghanistan last month. It awaits final signature from President Hamid Karzai but arouses many concerns. However, Hamid Karzai has recently ordered changes to the draft legislation that would have silenced victims of violence. It may signal a new turn.

The new criminal code, passed by the conservative-dominated Afghan parliament, will prevent relatives of alleged abusers from testifying against them. The consequence is making prosecutions more difficult on domestic violence against women, where relatives are often the only witnesses.

Afghanistan in 2009 enacted its “Elimination of Violence Against Women law” (EVAW) which criminalises domestic violence, forced and child marriage, women persecution, practices that use females to settle disputes, assault and more than a dozen other acts of violence and abuse against women. This new Afghan law is thus a backward step in the advance towards justice.

Afghan women faced unfair treatment when the Taliban ruled the country from 1996 to 2001. It is expected that this situation will be improved after the fall of the Taliban. Yet, according to various surveys, women’s rights are still at risk. It is believe that it is an attack on women’s rights if no amendments are made. [GuardianBBCUN]

Meditate on Hymn:

‘By the Powers for Good’ (

It is the final poem of Dirtrich Bonhoeffer in 1944 and later transcribed into a hymn. This is a part of its lyrics:

‘Wonderfully secured by good powers, confidently we expect what may come. God is among us in the evening and in the morning and [so] completely certainly on each new day.’

Afghan women suffer from many difficulties, and their rights and contributions are ignored. They can only strive for their lives. It will be a long journey to see that their situations are improved. May we persist in the faith and hope in our Almighty God and constantly remember them in prayers. 

Pray for Afghan government and women, that:

  • Afghan government amends the legislation code to allow relatives testifying each other so those acting violence against women can be penalized;
  • Afghanistan makes efforts to improve its justice and human rights so women and girls’ rights are secured and legalized;
  • Afghan women will gain rights and access to education, work and decision making, developing their talents and living out their value of life and dignity.


Myanmar – A Beam after the War Flame | Lisa CHAI

[ ‘SHARE’ Sept-Oct 2013 – Myanmar – A Beam after the War Flame ] FOCUS ~ Country Development

The Lisu pastor serving the displaced in the camp

Author: Lisa CHAI, Senior Programme Officer

Habakkuk 1: 2- 3

How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save?

Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. (NIV)

For decades the Myanmar government armed forces and opposing non-state armed groups have engaged in armed conflict. The frequent occurrence and brutality of reported human rights violations by these armed forces caused us to cry out like Prophet Habakkuk. Why do the innocent suffer and perish? We ask God to intervene yet violence and abuses prevail. Over the years CEDAR has supported partners operating in conflict affected areas in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, just to name a few. I am reminded by the book of Habakkuk that in face of conflict situation, we may be perplexed yet God is continuing His work. In the midst of violence and destruction, development is possible.

Currently there are 430,400 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country of Myanmar and conflict in Kachin State alone has displaced 115,000 people. Since a 17-year ceasefire between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burmese government broke down in June 2011, many are scattered in over 30 makeshift camps along the border. One Lisu pastor is serving 5,000 IDPs at one camp. The Lisu are peaceful people who do not take up arms, however they are caught between the two fighting forces,  and their crops and animals, even people are forced to become supplies for government military forces and the KIA.

This Lisu pastor has previously undergone agricultural training sessions sponsored by CEDAR. Besides his daily administrative duty at the camp, he goes around teaching displaced families how to grow vegetables, how to collect leaves to make compost as fertilizer to improve soil condition, how to make natural pesticide. When I met him in April 2013, he gave his affirmation to do his very best to take care of members from his 20 congregations at the camp. Daily life is surrounded by violence and misery yet the question of injustice and wickedness has not quenched his love and faithfulness to God. Through him CEDAR provided rice, oil, clothing to displaced families. The pastor’s agricultural knowledge and planting activity brings in a sense of hope to a distressed population, good agricultural practices on the soils reduce the stress that the displaced population put on the environment, issues related to camp site management, land rights, water supply have effectively been addressed which in turn reduce conflicts and help maintain peace.

Watch and Wonder   God is in control

In order for CEDAR to work in conflict affected areas, identifying key people who are conflict sensitive and committed to bring peace and able to create change is critical. In the past years I have witnessed how God has preserved a group of righteous individuals in a seemingly violent, oppressive place; how He prepared ‘strangers’ to visit, these strangers later became key to the success and development of the programme; how He used the widows and orphans to achieve His plan.

Our local partner Fullmoon, founded in 1997, looks after over 200 children and orphans from conflict areas. Fullmoon’s vision is to raise the children as Christian leaders who will return to their community after grown up to support development in their area. Some are now teachers, nurses, skilled farmers, mechanics, and community facilitators. In January 2012, the Karen National Union and the Burmese Government signed a ceasefire agreement, officially ending the longest-running civil war in the country (63 years). Fullmoon immediately seized this opportunity to explore the possibility of developing post-conflict work. This year I had the joy of visiting 30 Fullmoon children in their villages in MonState. These used to be restricted areas. Due to the ceasefire agreement and local partner’s relationships with local community leaders, we can enter these areas where no other NGOs or groups can go in. One highlight is a visit by a local former- armed group leader and his wife who came to thank our partner as their son K once lived at Fullmoon. The couple hide in the jungle for many years as guerilla fighters. The leader is actually K’s stepfather. After the death of K’s father, his mother remarried. When K learnt of Fullmoon‘s plan to support returnees and conflict affected children, he wants to contribute as he has some medical training. I am amazed how God has prepared these children long ago, through their love, skills and relationships to bring about post conflict development in MonState. So development is possible. And God has His way to bring that about!

2 former Fullmoon children now teach in a newly built school in TWT, MonState

Get prepared to act at appointed time

In past years UN agencies and other INGOs found it frustrating not to have free access into KachinState to provide assistance to needy populations. Similarly, though ceasefires are reached, INGOs could not get permission to enter sensitive areas in Shan, Karen, Mon. Due to CEDAR’s past strong network with local churches and Christian partners, who are ethnic minority groups from these post- conflict areas, we gain access to these areas to support displaced families to return, recover and restart new lives through addressing their needs on education, water and sanitation, livelihood, environmental protection, and land tenure issues. God has his own appointed time and season, when there is invitation and opportunity to respond to meet the suffering of these people, we must be able to act swiftly and to bring about development according to His timetable.

Fullmoon carrying out post-war reconstruction in the village of TWT

Young people in Mon State learning to make fertilisers

As ethnic minority grievances run deep, it will take more than reaching ceasefire agreements to maintain peace. Conflict has to do with relationships, with peace and reconciliation, with forgiveness and healing, with hope and potentials. Our Christian faith has much to offer as these are the core values of our belief. In Myanmar there are Christians who are willing to sacrifice their lives to bring peace to the country just like Jesus who acted as our mediator, and gave His life to bring about reconciliation. These individuals need us to stand together with them. Let me end this with an invitation and message from the Peace leader Say Paw who was a former armed group leader but has now made peace with the Burmese Government ‘I really hope there can be support (from CEDAR and NGO groups); we pray a lot for this. Meanwhile, I think through Fullmoon network there will be development (in Mon villages). With their connections, I believe we can do a lot for my people.’

The Plight of Undocumented Children in European Union

[ePrayer – Pray for the situation of undocumented children]

Palestinian children fly kites to show their solidarity with the Japanese people a year after the earthquake and tsunami.

It is estimated that there are between 1.6 and 3.8 million irregular migrants in the European Union. Many of them are children. Most come from other European countries like Turkey, Hungary and Romania, but a large number also come from Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. The reason for migration includes family reunification, protection from persecution, better living conditions, education and economic opportunities. A large number of these undocumented children, mostly from Hungary and Romania, are also victims of trafficking. They can be exploited in prostitution, forced labour, organised begging and can be compelled to commit crimes. [IPS]

Pray for the situation of undocumented children:

  • Pray that the basic human rights of these Europe’s ‘invisible’ children can be protected.
  • Pray also that they can have access to education, healthcare and shelter.
  • Pray that there can be effective measures to combat human trafficking and to reduce the risk of children.