Letters

Further strategies needed in favour of female students

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, female schoolchildren face specific schooling issues. Many parents do not approve of training for girls at higher levels. Parents think that girls should just get married rather than get an education. Traditional culture plays a big part in this phenomenon. UNICEF’s ‘All girls to school’ campaign had a noticeable impact on increased numbers of girls at school, especially in lower level primary school classes. At higher levels of education, the number of girls decreases compared to the number of boys. The few girls who do attend at higher levels are very busy with domestic work and household chores after school which puts their studies at risk.

Our not-for-profit organisation has set up out-of-hours study in certain schools. The idea is that students, generally male and female together, learn ‘how to learn’ and, above all, we try to give the girls a bit of study time.

We require further ideas and strategies to improve this work.

Josias Kamwira, President of the board of PASEDEC

Email: kamwirajosias@yahoo.fr


Working with traditional healers

Although there are many benefits to traditional medicine, some of the practices of traditional healers can be damaging to health or lead to death. The cultural practice of Infant Oral Mutilation (IOM) – pulling out children’s healthy milk teeth – is usually carried out by traditional healers in rural communities in many parts of Africa. In some areas, infant deaths following this practice are reported to be second only to malaria as the cause of infant mortality. Dentaid has plans to establish and implement local, national and international strategies and activities to start combating the practice f IOM. Working positively with traditional healers will be included in this strategy.

If you can share experiences of cooperating with traditional healers to improve health care whilst raising awareness of potential dangerous practices, please contact Nicky Triance at:

Dentaid Giles Lane, Landford Salisbury, SP5 2BG UK

Email: nicky@dentaid.org


Spiritual care for people living with HIV

Spiritual care is the very first need of people who discover that they are HIV positive. Whether they want to or not, they will have to ask themselves painful questions. Christians often have negative thoughts, such as doubt about God’s unconditional love, rebellion and self blame. Every person living with HIV that we have talked to has mentioned this black period which fortunately was quickly relieved by their approaching the church or other organisations which are aware of this inevitable reaction. People who are not Christians tend to decide they want revenge, or deny the existence of God and see their own existence on this earth as absurd.

As a result, Vigilance works in the following areas:

  • Helping those living with HIV to understand that it is not a curse but a disease for which we need God’s help.
  • Helping those living with HIV to understand that all humans go through times which are dark. Those who withstand these difficulties are those who seek to solve their problems by putting their trust in God.
  • Interceding with and for those living with HIV who are suffering from psychological and physical problems.
  • Bringing the good news about Jesus to those living with HIV who are burdened and rejected.
  • Helping people living with HIV to discover and fully accept their value as human beings made in the image of a God who loves them.
  • Fully involving those living with HIV in the response to HIV and AIDS.

Emmanuel Coulibaly, Vigilance, Burkina Faso

Email: vigi@fasonet.bf


Hail

A severe hailstorm fell on Kalonge, a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on 24th March which devastated fields, houses, churches and schools.

Do you have any information on how to reduce the damage of this sort of hazard?

Revd Jacob Lipandasi Bahavu

Email: Lipandasi_jacob@yahoo.fr

Mobilising the local church - new section of tilz website

At Tearfund we believe that local churches around the world can make a huge contribution to reducing poverty at local, national and international levels due to their passion, permanent presence in the community, commitment to relationships and spiritual hope.

On the tilz website we have launched a brand new section that looks at how local churches can best be equipped for their role in transforming communities. It can be found at /Churches.

The section is useful for Christian relief and development organisations, church denominations, Christian NGOs, local church leaders and church members. It contains ideas, principles, examples and resources to help people to mobilise the local church to take action in its community.