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Wednesday, 11 November 2009 01:00

Christmas Bowl Helps War-torn Communities in DRC Rebuild Lives

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From Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia

People around the world have kept the Christmas message of giving and sharing alive by helping victims of violence and poverty.   This year's Christmas Bowl seeks to help church partners assist over 1 million people in some of the world’s most war-torn communities and in resolving the conflicts they face.

Mr. Alistair Gee, Executive Director of Act for Peace, said, “One story that symoblises the true meaning of Christmas for me is a story that was passed along by one of our project partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Bageni Katembereza, a refugee who recently fled the fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), headed down the dirt roads of Eastern Congo. She had no idea where she was going. She only knew that she needed to get her six children away from the violence as soon as possible. This is the third time that she and her family have been chased from their home because of fighting in DRC.

Her journey led her to Siyawna Mulingeza, a woman with not much more than Bageni, who was willing to take in complete strangers and offer them food, shelter and safety. For Siyawna, the choice was simple, “They were just wandering on the road and had no place to sleep, so we invited them into our home.”

“Bageni is just one among millions of people who have been left homeless in the country. For innocent people like Bageni, this means they must flee from their homes and move ahead of the military forces in order to survive, gathering only a little food and leaving most possessions behind,” says Mr. Gee.

In the DRC, more that 70% of refugees have been taken in by other families. It is the people with almost nothing who are willing to share what little they have with those who need it the most. One woman who had been aided in the same way as Bageni said that “their acceptance is so different from the violence we escaped.”

Gifts from the Christmas Bowl help Act for Peace project partners on the ground support the efforts of people like Siyawna, who have made a sacrifice to provide another family with hope. Act for Peace is working to help families who have taken in displaced people, through nutrition programs that provide food and teach parents how to ensure that their child is receiving proper nutrition. Act for Peace is also providing seeds, tools and educational programs in order to support agriculture in the region.

Christmas is a time for cherishing family, giving thanks and sharing with those less fortunate. The Christmas Bowl is an opportunity to help provide real peace and hope for war-torn communities in places such as Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gaza, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The Christmas Bowl helps these amazingly resilient and resourceful communities to survive and rebuild their lives.

With your support of the Christmas Bowl this year:

  • $50 can provide 50 children with a five piece clothing set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • $150 can train a community leader in conflict resolution in Sudan
  • $370 can provide a Burmese refugee with one year’s worth of nutritious food

To make a tax deductible gift or to order the Christmas Bowl Resources, please free call 1800 025 101 or visit:  www.actforpeace.org.au   

To download the image that aligns with this Media release, please go to http://www.actforpeace.org.au/Ways_To_Give/The_Christmas_Bowl/Resources_Events/Christmas_Bowl_Media.aspx

The Christmas Bowl is a program of Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia. Working through church partners, the Christmas Bowl helps war-torn communities to survive and rebuild in 15 of the most conflict-affected countries, Pacific communities to reduce the risk of disasters and Indigenous communities to reduce poverty in Australia.

For further comment call Alistair Gee, Executive Director of Act for Peace:  0417 672 650

Read 3321 times Last modified on Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:33

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