Causes

World Refugee Day: Highlighting a global crisis

Earlier this month, Collins Kaumba, a World Vision communicator in Zambia, shared his experience visiting a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sudan. His words were jarring: "Indelible memories of the suffering I saw in Darfur have followed me since the day I left Sudan...I have seen suffering and poverty in Zambia and other places in Africa -- but not of the magnitude I saw when I visited Darfur’s camps..."

A reader in Israel commented on the post and made note of the thousands of Sudanese refugees there who are watching the situation in their homeland as the South prepares for its independence in just a few weeks.

Years of conflict in this African country have caused millions to flee for their safety -- not just to other places within Sudan, but internationally as well. This is one global hotspot recognized as an origin of refugees. But the problem is much larger.

What would you do...if you knew?

One of the greatest blessings I've ever experienced was the opportunity to travel to Southern Africa with my daughter, Amanda, who was 20 at the time. I had worked with World Vision for almost 15 years in various capacities, mostly related to web and social media communications, and had traveled abroad several times. But this would be my first opportunity to meet our sponsored child, Gracia, in person.

The day Amanda and I spent with Gracia -- who lives in the southern part of the Congo and was 8 at the time -- is forever burned into our memories. Gracia is sweet, funny, and very smart. She lives in the poorest of circumstances, but has great potential to break the cycle of poverty, thanks to the way the Lord is working in her life through World Vision and others.

I'll never forget how Amanda burst into tears at the end of a day in which she and Gracia basically became big sister/little sister.

All in a day's work for caregiver volunteers

Editor's note: This month is the five-year anniversary of the World Vision U.S. Caregiver Kits program -- an initiative that equips volunteers with kits containing simple items that assist in caring for those affected by HIV and AIDS.

To honor the outstanding difference this program has made in the lives of caregivers and their clients, we asked Miyon to describe how World Vision volunteer caregivers are an asset to their communities.

[caption id="attachment_4239" align="alignright" width="267" caption="Miyon visits an orphaned child and her caregiver. © World Vision/Miyon Kautz"][/caption]

The thing I love most about Zambia is the people. Sure, the landscape is beautiful -- big open land dotted with crops and thatched roof huts, blue skies with fluffy clouds. The wildlife is fantastic -- lions, giraffes, leopards, hippos. But it’s the spirit of the people who call this poverty-ridden country home that has truly captured my heart.

This spirit is especially evident in the volunteer community caregivers whom I have the privilege of working with every day as part of a World Vision program. These men and women are living out Christ’s command to love their neighbor in very tangible ways. And they do it willingly and with joy.

They visit those who are HIV-positive and those dying of AIDS, using Caregiver Kits to clean sores. They care for orphaned children by providing parental counseling. They gather firewood and water, and they clean homes. They support grandmothers -- praying with them, helping with house chores and being a listening ear to women who are struggling to care for their grandchildren.

Modern times, ancient stories

Editor's note: Abby Stalsbroten will be in Kenya with World Vision March 25-April 8.

John Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors. Right now I’m reading his classic, The Grapes of Wrath, about the migration of farmers in the 1930s from the Midwest to California and the downward spiral of poverty they endured along the way. A central theme of the novel is hunger. It focuses around one family and their search for work and food in increasingly desperate conditions.

[caption id="attachment_3133" align="alignright" width="210"] In the Horn of Africa, this family has had to survive on only one meal a day. (Lucy Murunga/WV/2011)[/caption]

He writes, “How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only in his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children? You can’t scare him — he has known a fear beyond every other.”

Over and over again as I read this book, I want to feel safe in the assumption that this happened in the wake of the Great Depression and be glad that all that is behind us now -- that the “fear beyond every other” is a distant and conquered one.

Made possible by water

It’s been a tough two weeks for the World Vision family. Our 40,000 staff work in nearly 100 countries, so when there is a devastating event in Japan, with its 75 World Vision staff members, it affects our entire family.

The stress level around here has been so high that today I decided....

A time to dance: Children experience love of God and their neighbors

A few weeks ago I was standing in the rural village of Drobonso, Ghana. It was Sunday morning and I was there as part of a World Vision team reporting on the delivery of new bibles for children – one of the many transformational gifts that World Vision provides to children and adults hungry for God's word, or to support youth Bible clubs in African...