Throughout the past five years, gifts of goats, chickens and bees have helped to break the cycle of poverty and bring about peace in the lives of people from India to Indonesia. More than $1.3 million generated through the Uniting Church’s gift catalogue, Everything In Common, has been injected into
UnitingWorld’s community development, ministry and leadership projects that give people the power to take control of their futures.
In the Pacific:
Their tiny island nation is already directly feeling the impact of changing climate and these young people are taking a proactive stand. Much of Tuvalu’s coastline is inundated by king tides and its soil is rendered useless by increasing salination. In response, seawalls are being built and Joshua, Kiki and Courtney are planting trees to help protect their coast.
But a response to climate change requires more than just seeds. It’s also about hearts and minds.
In Tuvalu, where most of the population is Christian, there’s a deep-seated belief known as ‘Noah Theology’ that God will never again inundate the earth with water. Combined with the evidence of flooded homes and land, this creates a devastating theological conflict for Pacific people and holds them back from fully engaging with the immediate threat to their lives and futures.
In response, the Church in Tuvalu is working with communities to understand theologies of creation, God’s covenant and changing climate.
This important work goes hand-in-hand with practical efforts to deal with the impact of salination and king tides, including the clean up of massive amounts of rubbish left by the waters.
Mali teamed up with her young goat, Streak, through the Methodist Church of Zimbabwe’s Relief and Development (MEDRA) Livelihood Project. She lives in one of the driest corners of Zimbabwe, where crop harvests are meagre and the sky withholds rain.
Streak may be small, but she signifies the beginning of something new for Mali and her community. She will grow plump and breed twice before being sent off to market, giving Mali a sustainable source of income.
“I am saving some money for my daughter who will be starting grade one next year.” Mali said. “Now I can manage to buy her uniforms and pay her school fees.”
The gift of a goat is part of a community-wide system that encourages people to take control of their futures and gives them the resources to make change happen.
Mali’s community is involved in a whole range of projects that help them overcome their difficult environment. As traditional crops fail, they’re encouraged to move into bee-keeping and raising sheep. They’ve been given the tools to enter into small carpentry businesses and are provided with the means to transport goods and livestock to market.
MEDRA also offers community members the chance to participate in training, where the unique challenges and opportunities of the community are considered.
Together the group decides where new directions for development lie and map out plans to bring their ideas to life.
It starts with a goat. It ends with whole communities using their creativity, new knowledge and resources to end poverty.
For more information go to: www.everythingincommon.com.au