Help on a global scale

Not a drop in the ocean, but valuable help for people in desperate need: many helping hands and a series of small projects have brought a little warmth, a full belly, and put a smile on children’s faces.

Blankets for Moria II

It is freezing cold in the refugee camps on the Greek island of Lesbos. The temperatures in the tents are barely above freezing. Up to 19 migrants share a tent. There is no electricity, no warm water, and only a few toilets. Currently, 7,500 people are accommodated in the refugee camp Moria II, including 2,500 children. Blankets are scarce.

An aid project is now bringing a little warmth to this cold place: blankets are being provided for the migrants in Moria II. The patron of the project is Martina Braun, a member of the German Federal Parliament: “Under the leadership of Pastor Kodweiß and with the help of the industrial printer Marius Ritzi from Trossingen, who recently also set up a small sewing shop, 1,500 warm and durable blankets made of insulating fleece fabric will be produced over the next few weeks. A team of refugee women, who until recently have been sewing fabric masks at the Trossingen company, will now be deployed to work this project. The blankets are expected to be distributed by our local partner organisation Lesvos Solidarity at the end of February.”

The project is being coordinated by the Protestant-Methodist Church in Tuningen/Villingen-Schwenningen in Germany. Humanaktiv, the aid organisation of the New Apostolic Church Southern Germany is supporting the project “Blankets for Moria II” to the tune of 2,000 euros.

Beans for the congregation

Like many other countries, Rwanda too is struggling with Covid-19 at the moment. Shops, markets, and shopping centres are closed. The situation in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, is particularly dramatic.

Apostle Joseph Tuyisabe Serubibi describes the people’s plight: “We have five New Apostolic congregations in Kigali; they are all closed at the moment. Curfews in the city and stay-at-home orders have been in place for more than a month now, and people are suffering, especially from a lack of food and high unemployment. All activities have come to a standstill because of Covid-19.”

To combat the worst of the hunger, the members of the congregation Kirehe (outside of Kigali) collected money to buy 150 kilograms of beans. Bags of the typical Rwandan staple food were transported to the congregation Nyakabanda (within the city limits) and distributed.

School supplies and toys for children in Togo

Members of the church district Herford in Germany started another campaign to provide children in Togo with more school supplies and toys. The gifts arrived in the congregations in Dapaong, Togo’s northernmost city, after covering more than 7,000 kilometres. Petra Kunzmann, the coordinator of the project, writes that members of the UGUS Association in Lomé (Togo) wrapped the gifts, some of them in hand-sewn backpacks made of batik fabrics produced in the country. Four young people, Kafui, Raul, Sévérine, and Victoire from Lomé, undertook a ten-hour bus ride north to Dapaong to deliver the precious cargo. It was their first visit to the Savanes Region, of which Dapaong is the regional capital. It is 600 kilometres from the capital, Lomé.

When it came to distributing the gifts, they received help from Apostle Étienne Kloutse and Sister Pascaline Kolani. Nearly 300 children and adults benefited. Also distributed was clothing and food supplies from the charitable association Un Geste Un Sourire (UGUS).

People in this sub-Saharan region, who live mainly from small-scale agriculture, fear for their harvest every year, since the rainy seasons have become irregular and the dry seasons are threatening their livelihoods due to climate change. Donated funds were used to buy rice and beans, which were distributed to the congregations.

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Oliver Rütten, Peter Johanning
Aid agencies, Social commitment, Congregational life