Monday, 4 March 2019

2019 Mid-Antrim Tearfund walk

Friday 17th May at Shanes Castle, Antrim

from 10am until dusk, refreshments provided

This year's walk will be our 30th! The first walk was in 1990 and over the 30 years you have helped us to raise the staggering total of £449,295 for Tearfund.

Our target for the 2019 walk is to raise £20,000 to help alleviate hunger and poverty in Burundi, Africa.

Three year old Nyanda was abandoned by his parents. Suffering and hungry, his father was forced to go to Tanzania in search of work. Alone and unable to care for herself or her child, Nyanda’s mother fled to Bujumbura, leaving him to starve.

Nyanda’s family is one of many who have been driven apart by the emergency situation in Burundi.

One of the poorest countries in the world (ranked 184 of 188), 58 percent of people in Burundi are chronically malnourished.

But the hunger that drove Nyanda and his family apart is a symptom of a deeper issue. Without fundamental changes, families will continue to be divided and undermined by extreme poverty.

Tearfund is partnering with local churches to put an end to this suffering and restore dignity, health and hope - we believe that local churches are uniquely positioned to address the root causes of poverty, enabling long-term change and security, so the impact is lasting and maintained.

Thank you for partnering with us to do this.

The Tharcisse family were struggling for food themselves. But when they met little Nyanda (left) and saw his condition, they opened their home and adopted him into their family, without hesitation.

The local Christians were able to support the Tharcisse family in this remarkable decision by providing the critical emergency nutrition that Nyanda needed.

The Church and Community Transformation process empowers communities to do this. It encourages Self Help Groups which help people to save and free them from having to take loans from loan sharks at high rates of interest. SHGs are groups of 15-20 people who come together voluntarily each week to support each other financially and with mutual encouragement.
Members begin by saving small amounts, which are used as loans to start new businesses, as well as funding costs such as school fees and health bills.

With your help 5,000 people in the Mutaho region of Burundi will directly benefit from this project.

       58 church and community leaders and six health workers will be equipped.
       10 community facilitators will be trained and Self Help Groups established to increase household income and community resilience.
       Health and nutrition will be improved through training on malnutrition: its causes and effects and the importance of a balanced diet.
       Food production and environmental sustainability will be improved through training on modern farming techniques, environmental care and fuel-saving stoves for beneficiaries, local church leaders, community leaders and SHG facilitators.
       Seeds will be purchased and distributed to increase food security through yields.

As the Self Help Groups strengthen and grow, members will be able to diversify and boost their incomes. Increasing household incomes and farming yields will improve the living conditions and nutritional status of beneficiaries. They will be better able to afford healthcare and education for their families and have more capacity to take of the vulnerable in their communities.

Sharing resources and investing in each other’s businesses brings trust and openness, while working together towards shared goals grows unity. Strong communities are more resilient and can overcome challenges that individuals can’t tackle on their own.

A breakdown of the costs involved per year is noted below.

COST (£)
Church and community envisioning
Training on health, nutrition and food insecurity
Training on agriculture, environmental care and fuel-saving stoves
Purchase and distribution of seeds
Training and establishing SHGs
Monitoring, evaluation and learning
Equipment (two computers)
In country administration (utilities, audits, office supplies)
UK support costs**
Total costs


       Pray for peace and security in Burundi, for government leaders to act in wisdom and compassion.
       Pray for protection of the Tearfund and local partners as they work to address critical needs in insecure areas.
       Please continue to pray for people across East Africa who are affected by the drought, famine and loss of livelihoods. Pray for those whose crops have been damaged by the fall armyworm.
       Pray for governments, business leaders and individuals to take more responsibility for climate change and the impact it is having on others.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

2018 Mid-Antrim Tearfund walk

Friday May 18th at Shanes Castle, Antrim

from 10am until dusk, refreshments provided

This year we plan to raise £20,000 to help a remote community in Nepal recover from the 2015 earthquake and prepare for the future

Sabal is 37 and lives in the remote region of Dhaubadi in Nawalparasi district. There are just 32 houses in his village. The roads that link the village to the rest of the district are so bad, cars cannot use them. In other words, Sabal’s village is isolated. As a result, most of the villagers, like Sabal, depend on agriculture. Sabal, has been rearing livestock since he was a seven year old. He owns 17 goats, four cows and two oxen. These animals are his lifeline. In Nepal, agriculture can be the difference between eating and going hungry, getting educated and being forced to drop out, thriving and just surviving. Sabal’s future, and the future of his family, depend on his animals.

However, in Nepal, disaster is never far away. With families so reliant on agriculture, the impact of a climate related disasters, such as a floods, landslides or droughts, could be devastating, let alone an earthquake like the one which hit Nepal in 2015. As livelihoods are hit, people can be left with nothing, meaning children are withdrawn from school to work, putting them at risk of trafficking and ruining their opportunities for the future. Disasters also come in the form of disease. Over 80% of Nepalis live in rural areas, with agriculture as their way of life. Farmers are at risk of disease attacking their crops or livestock, which equally, could wipe out livelihoods. With such heavy reliance on agriculture, and the constant threat of disaster, many are teetering on the edge of poverty.

When nine of his goats died due to an unknown disease, Sabal lost the equivalent of 70,000 Nepalese Rupees, about £519. This was a huge amount of money for Sabal. He was afraid of losing more goats to disease, and so immediately sold six, even though they were less valuable than they could be as they were not mature. Sabal was becoming desperate.

This project, run by Tearfund partner United Mission to Nepal (UMN), is endeavouring to assist communities to have knowledge of disasters and their consequences, whilst learn the skills to become more resilient to the shocks they bring. It aims to challenge perceptions that communities can’t do anything to prevent the impact of disasters, and will look to address how communities can limit the damage they do to the environment. The project includes various aspects of prevention, mitigation and response for communities to become more resilient. The church will be involved by becoming leaders and encouraging community action, this will help provide sustainability once the project finishes. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

2017 walk is a great success!

Our sponsored 5K walk in May 2017 raised £25,300! A huge thank you to all who walked, sponsored and helped. Our biggest participating group was Cullybackey College, whose pupils raised an astonishing £4,355 - they are pictured below queuing for their well-deserved hot dogs.

The money which you have raised will go towards Tearfund's support of refugee children in Lebanon. £10 can provide a family with a monthly food parcel, so £25,300 will make a real difference. Well done, and we hope to see you again for our 2018 walk - Shanes Castle Friday 18th May.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

2017 Mid-Antrim Tearfund walk

Friday May 19th at Shanes Castle, Antrim

We invite you to join us for a 5K walk or jog in the beautiful Shanes Castle grounds, enjoy the barbecue and help raise urgently needed funds. We will be there from 11am until dark.
The walk is buggie-friendly and dogs on leads are welcome.

Why are we doing this?
When her husband was kidnapped crossing a checkpoint, Karena and her children fled from their home in Syria to a refugee camp in Lebanon. Distraught, Karena considers herself to be a widow because she has lost all hope of seeing her husband again. Karena and her children are living in a tent with two other families. Like most of her fellow refugees, Karena has no money - she left everything behind in Syria. But occasionally she is able to work as an agricultural labourer for which she receives a small amount of food. She constantly worries about her children and where their next meal will come from.

Can we make a difference?
Karena and her children (left) are a long way from home, but they are not struggling alone. They receive regular visits from Tearfund’s partner as well as monthly food and hygiene parcels which contain the essential items that they need. Tearfund’s partner has also provided the family with clothes and mattresses and the family have attended hygiene classes to help them stay healthy whilst they are living in the camp. Karena enjoys attending Bible studies organised by Tearfund partner staff and church volunteers. She says, ‘You are the only ones looking after me - I am really grateful for your visits and all the support that you’re giving me.’   

Tearfund’s partner in Lebanon is committed to serving the needs of marginalised and vulnerable people. With your help 142 Syrian refugee families (about 850 people) in Beirut will receive physical, emotional and spiritual support between April 2017 and March 2018. Last year you helped us raise £20,000 - we can do it again!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

2017 Tearfund Walk

Friday 19 May 2017 at Shanes Castle Antrim

Amira is a normal 16 year-old. She’s got the usual interests: pop music, boys and her mobile phone. But, along with 30 million other children and young people around the world she’s a refugee. Amira lives in a camp with her family after fleeing the civil war in Syria. 

Our 2017 sponsored walk will support Tearfund's work among refugees in Lebanon - please join us.

Another great effort - £20,000 raised

The 2016 walk (that's you!) raised £20,000 for drought-stricken Chad. Thank you for making the effort and making a difference.

Friday, 1 April 2016

2016 walk

Please join us on Friday 20th May at Shanes Castle for our 2016 sponsored walk. We will be there from 11am, the cafe will be open and the barbecue will be on. Please contact us for sponsorship cards.

Growing food in Chad
The full details of our 2016 project are below - we plan to make a difference for 3000 people!
​Sévérin​proudly shows off his market garden (Source: SCMR)
The reason: The people served by this project live in almost constant fear of not being able to feed their families. In Chad around 87 out of 1,000 babies die, compared to around 4 in the UK, many due to hunger or indirectly due to poor nutrition. It is vital that local churches play a central role in training people to overcome the problems they face so they can be lifted out of material and spiritual poverty.
The results: This project will strengthen churches to take the lead in developing and transforming their communities. Farmers will learn to use their land more productively and sustainably to feed their families and earn a profit. Marginalised people living with HIV/AIDS will also be encouraged and supported to start small businesses to earn a living. Money earned will allow parents to send their children to school and to grow their businesses. The project aims to reach over 3,000 people, both directly and indirectly.
This project needs your support: The project year will cost £26,744 and runs between July 2015 and June 2016. Among other important activities, this money will be used to teach communities to farm in keeping with changing climate conditions, strengthen churches to take the lead in transforming their communities and support people living with HIV/AIDS.

Tandjilé in south-west Chad is one of the country’s 22 ​regions and is divided into two departments. These departments are split into 13 subprefectures. For the duration of this project, the Service Chrétien en Milieu Rural/SCMR (The Christian Service in Rural Areas) will focus on five of the most needy subprefectures where most people rely on small-scale farming and many struggle to support their families.
The success of cereal crops, such as rice, millet and sorghum, is highly dependent on favourable weather conditions and reliable rainy seasons. But rainfall in Chad is becoming increasingly erratic. Alternating droughts and floods ravage the land, hitting agricultural yields very hard and threatening livelihoods, health and lives. It is a cruel injustice that world’s poorest people are those most affected by climate change, even though they are the least responsible for it.
A lack of knowledge on how to farm successfully in the changing climate is leaving many families in these Chadian communities desperately poor and hungry. A lack of surplus produce to sell is keeping incomes low, meaning that children are deprived of schooling, forced to marry young and robbed of their childhood.
Within this challenging landscape, local churches are reaching out to bring God’s love and salvation to people who desperately need Him. SCMR is working to strengthen these churches to work in their communities, bring spiritual and material support, and enable people to lift themselves out of poverty.

Sévérin is a farmer and a father of ten. He has similar dreams and aspirations for his children as any good father would. ‘I used to grow rice,’ he told us. ‘After harvest, I always used to sell a large part of the yield to have enough money for the children's school fees, clothing, medical care and other family needs. But we couldn’t always make ends meet before the next harvest. At times, I was forced into debt, and this took its toll on the family.
But five years ago SCMR gave us training on how to diversify crops to increase income for our households. I learned to do market gardening and SCMR helped me with vegetable seeds and agricultural tools for working in the garden. Since then, a great change has taken place in my family. With revenues from the garden, I’ve been able to build a house with two bedrooms. I bought a pair of oxen and a cart. I can now pay for my children’s clothing and school fees and if anyone in the family falls ill I can pay for treatment. Our diet has much improved and we are able to store provisions that allow us to cover the whole year without going hungry.
Our prayer is to increase our productivity, so we can live a full life and witness more of God's blessings in my family.’
In this project year, SCMR will inspire and equip three local churches to spread the good news of Jesus in word and deed to even more people. With SCMR-trained local churches taking the lead, communities will develop resources and skills they already have to improve their quality of life. This process will give local people a vision for determining their own future with their own resources.
An exciting aspect of this project is Hope Farm, a centre for theoretical and practical training. People will come here to learn about sustainable agriculture - how to invest in crops that are better suited to the changing climate and how to restore their soil using organic matter. Seeds, equipment and sacks of manure will be bought to demonstrate these sustainable techniques. On the farmer’s own land, SCMR staff will help farmers to implement the new techniques and monitor their progress. We pray that these farmers will reap bountiful harvests and be inspired to share what they have been taught with others, multiplying the impact of the training.
Ignorance and prejudice is marginalising and stigmatising people living with HIV/AIDS. A number of people with the virus have organised an association to join hands and tackle the challenges that they face together with strength and dignity. SCMR is following Jesus’ example by standing with these ostracised people and offering compassion and practical support. SCMR will provide this precious group with livestock to give them new opportunities to earn an income.
Through providing technical training and support, domestic vegetable production in the communities will increase. As well as improving families’ diet and health, proceeds from the sale of surplus produce will increase their income levels. This money will enable parents to send their children to school, expand their agricultural activities and increase their productivity.
Communities will take ownership of the project to make sure the work continues to develop and is sustainable in the long-term. Initially, SCMR will regularly monitor the use of new farming techniques so that future work will yield good results. Once funding has ended, the communities will be equipped to continue the work without external guidance.
Lessons learned during the outworking of the project will be shared, and agricultural practice will be improved upon from generation to generation. The sustainability of this project will be further strengthened through the establishment of church-led groups with a heart to serve and love their communities. These groups will share goods and knowledge to equip them to be more resilient and adaptable to climate change. Most importantly, we pray that through the work more and more people would come to know Jesus as their loving saviour.
The Service Chrétien en Milieu Rural (SCMR) was formed in 1976. SCMR supports around 500 churches in the Tandjilé and Logone Occidental regions of Chad. SCMR was initially set up by the Eglise Evangelique au Tchad (EET) to improve living conditions in rural areas. Their work includes improving food security, protecting the environment and preventing and treating HIV/AIDS.

This project needs financial support to run. We’re aiming to raise ​£26,744* towards the coming project year.
·          Thank God for the good work SCMR have been doing in Chad for so many years.
·          Please pray that the local churches will be beacons of hope within their communities. Pray
also that they would play a growing role in lifting the people of Chad out of poverty.
·          Please pray that God would change people’s hearts so that those living with HIV/AIDS would
no longer be excluded, but be accepted, valued and loved.
·          PraythatmorepeoplelikeSévérinwillbeequippedwiththeskillsandconfidencetheyneed
to thrive and reach their God-given potential.