As the end of the financial year approaches you can make a huge contribution to the work of our partners overseas. Tax-deductible donations made to the Matching Gift Fund are combined with funding from the Australian Government under the AusAID-NGO Cooperation Program. All funds will support our partners working in education, livelihood support and peace building.
In West Timor, small business owner Mary is up early to catch the morning traffic. Her small kiosk at the village market is a favourite
and people stop by for her hot tea and coffee on their way into town. After the morning rush Mary cooks up a storm in the small kitchen out the back.
As lunch time approaches business really gets going and Mary is often busy serving customers well into the afternoon.
A determined woman, Mary’s story is an encouraging one. Armed with a good idea but not much capital she approached local loan provider TLM. The good news for Mary is that TLM, the development arm of UnitingWorld’s partner in West Timor, provides small loans with very low interest. With her loan, Mary has expanded the original stall into a small kiosk with a kitchen, allowing her business to really thrive.
Vience, who works for TLM, says stories like Mary’s are one of the reasons she was attracted to working for TLM in the first place.
“Our clients are often not eligible to receive a loan from a bank because the business is too small or they don’t have property or assets to offer as collateral,” she says.
“TLM provides loans and collects repayments weekly or monthly from the clients. Repayments collected are then recycled to help more people. Clients also deposit savings with TLM. It is often the first time many have had the opportunity to formally save money.
This system aims to motivate clients to work hard to improve their businesses and way of life. It is more of a ‘hand up’ than a ‘hand out.’”
In many areas of West Timor, low interest loans and savings accounts are not available. That means people looking for a loan often get charged sky high interest rates which cripple families’ finances. In other areas loan providers require collateral that many people can’t supply.
Throughout West Timor, women are committed to turning their ideas into businesses that thrive so that they can support their families in difficult circumstances. If you’d like to match the commitment of women like Mary and Vience, you can support the work of TLM today by donating to Uniting World’s Matching Gift Fund.
All donations are combined with Australian Government funding, making your gift go so much further.
In 2012 UnitingWorld is offering you an amazing chance to trek in the Himalayas, experience the cultural and historical richness of India and to visit a community development project changing the lives of communities in North India.
In remote villages in North India, UnitingWorld’s partner the Church of North India is working with Dalit communities who have long been pushed to the very edge of Indian society. Recognising marginalised children often need extra support, the project offers tutoring to school children to make sure they can keep up with their school work. The project also contributes to school fees and the costs of uniforms as well as providing the whole community with information about health.
The project aims to spread awareness of the importance of education for everyone – from children to adults.
Young girls like Raima are benefitting from the project. Raima’s family has a very low income and Raima often used to work with her mother for the local land lord to make ends meet. The extra tuition has helped her improve her grades and also made her parents aware of the importance of her education.
Visiting our partners and engaging with their work will be the first point of call for a group of energised UnitingWorld supporters in September. After the visit they will set out on a five day trek through the Himalayas visiting historic and religious sites while enjoying the region’s natural beauty.
If you are interested in joining the team for this once in a lifetime opportunity, click here.
UnitingWorld’s Relief and Development Unit 2011 Annual Report is now available. The Annual Report offers a comprehensive overview of the Unit’s work in 2011, including program highlights and condensed financial information.
The 2011 Annual Report highlights the value of working through partnerships that ensure relief and development work is effective on the ground. Highlights from the Report include:
- Working with the Uniting Church in PNG to provide 6 additional villages, or 3,500 people, with a sustainable supply of safe and clean water
- Providing 400 village children in North India with educational and health support in partnership with the Church of North India
- The opening of a new micro-finance branch in Sumba, West Timor, which provided 710 people with small loans and an additional 146 people with savings accounts
- Extending health services to isolated areas with a population of approximately 25,000 people in Solomon Islands
- Garnering impressive support from Australian communities for drought relief in the Horn of Africa
UnitingWorld would like to thank individuals and Uniting Church communities throughout Australia for the generous support that has made these transformations possible.
You can download a copy of the 2011 Annual Report here.
Alternatively, call us on +61 2 8267 4267 to order a copy.
On a 40 degree day in Andhra Pradesh, South India, Reverend John Barr joined worshippers inside the Machilipatnam Cathedral to celebrate Pentecost. As he settled down ready for the sermon his host, the Bishop of the Church of South India, leaned across and whispered confidently, “Of course, you will bring the message today.”
Flustered and nervous, John took the pulpit and survived. He says it was a wonderful reminder of just how naturally partnership is embraced by those UnitingWorld serves amongst overseas.
“To preach in the Cathedral is a great privilege,” John says. “And, most importantly, it takes place because of the warmth, the hospitality and the generosity of our partners. Uniting Church representatives are, indeed, welcome in India. We are deeply valued by our partners.”
UnitingWorld’s history of service alongside overseas partners stretches back over one hundred years. Through the work of UnitingWorld’s forerunners, Uniting International Mission and Uniting Church Overseas Aid, God’s love has been proclaimed in word and deed, forging partnerships that nurture both the international church and congregations in Australia.
In July, more than twenty five members of Partner Churches will visit Australia to take part in the National Assembly of the Uniting Church. From Zimbabwe, India, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea and China, our partners will come to worship with us, share their insights and be part of our celebration of the work and witness of Christ.
“Partnership will always be central to our identity,” says John. “There is real enthusiasm among our overseas partners to build closer links; they are keen to share in the life of the Australian church. There is distinct joy here as we celebrate our common faith and witness in Jesus Christ.”
The Maynard Family, Grant, Anthea and their three children, are several months into their one year volunteering stint with UnitingWorld at Matthew Rusike House, a development project supporting vulnerable children in a community in Zimbabwe. Anthea, a community health worker, is supporting the local AIDS clinic while Grant works alongside the school and learns from local ministers. This is an extract from their blog which you can follow here.
I’m just back from church where I understood very little of what was said during the three-hour service. The frustration of missing out on what everybody else seemed to be enjoying was a small price to pay for the glorious singing. It really is futile to try to describe the rich, joyful sound of African worship. I have a recurring thought in Zimbabwe:
“I think that is the sweetest sound my ears will hear this side of Glory”.
I thought that when I heard the staff singing at Matthew Rusike. I thought it again one Sunday when a men’s choir filled a little church with blissful sound. I thought it again one morning at dawn when a child at Matthew Rusike sang a plaintive song whilst doing her chores. I thought it again when a dancing throng in a village sang like angels…and, of course, I thought it again this morning!
Although it is futile to try to describe the way Africans sound at full voice Mark Twain made a worthy attempt -
When Mark Twain visited Switzerland in 1873 he heard an African-American choir in a beer hall. Inside “…was a crowd of German and Swiss men and women…with their beer mugs in front of them – self-contained and unimpressionable looking people…The singers got up and stood – the talking and glass jingling went on. There rose and swelled out above those common earthly sounds one of those rich chords the secret of whose make only the Jubilees possess, and a spell fell upon that house…Away back in the beginning – to my mind – their music made all other vocal music cheap. It is utterly beautiful to me; and it moves me infinitely more than any other music can.”
Amen Mr Twain.
To find out more about volunteering with UnitingWorld through our Experience program, contact Roz Elkington on +61 2 8267 4269.