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World Humanitarian Day 2016

We share with you the stories 6 different individuals bound together by their quest to help the displaced.

There’s a female driver, two volunteers who give their time to coach football, an engineer in Syria and two others who have personal experience with conflict and now give back to help those in need.

Amira who works with children
Khalida who uses her driving skills to benefit others
Akram the Syrian footballer and volunteer
Khalil who works in Iraq
Raja the mother and volunteer
Ahmad who works in Syria

We are grateful to our colleagues who work in the World Vision Middle East and Eastern Europe offices for providing these stories to us.

Ahmad – Engineer in Syria

Photo: Hussein Sheikh Ibrahim/World Vision

In July 2016, World Vision reached over 400,000 people with clean water, emergency toilets and waste disposal services in northern Syria.

Ahmad Nassan is a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Field Engineer with World Vision in Syria.

‘We can see the impact the project has for the people, the provision of clean water, installing toilets and water tanks, we can see how satisfied they are and how happy these activities are making them. It is all based on evidence and need, ensuring that we can provide the services long-term. We do this with the hope that people can go back to their homes, to a rehabilitated community.’

Raja – Volunteer Syrian Refugee Coach

Photos: Suzy Sainovski/World Vision

In November 2015, coaches from the English Premier League travelled to Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan to train thirty-six people from several humanitarian agencies, as well as a number of Syrian refugee volunteers, in how to coach football. The coaches are now using what they learnt on a regular basis to teach Syrian children football skills. Playing sport in the camp gives children the opportunity to stay active, have fun and make friends.

26-year old Raja is from Dar’a, Syria. She has a 2-year old daughter and a 3-year old son and has lived in Azraq refugee camp for two years. She has been a football coach in the camp for about two months and shares her thoughts on girls given the opportunity to play football.

I find it extremely beautiful that the girls are given a chance to play football! I used to enjoy playing football back in Syria. I liked football more than any other game as a girl. Here I enjoy teaching the girls. I feel like they are my children.

The girls come and play and release their energy. Some girls come to the multi-purpose sports pitch feeling sad and release their energy and feel better. The girls talk to me about their problems, they open up to me. I sometimes cry with them.

I will talk to parents who don’t want their girls to play and explain the importance of playing. I tell them that people and strangers can’t see into the girls’ pitch and sometimes after I talk to them they send their girls to play football. Many families in the camp are very conservative so it’s important for them that the girls have privacy when they play.

Khalil – The Response manager

Photos: Suzy Sainovski/World Vision

In July 2016 World Vision provided 4,212 primary health consultations through six health clinics in the Kurdish Region of Iraq.

Khalil is from Lebanon. As a boy he was displaced by conflict and now works as World Vision Iraq’s Response Manager.

I know their feelings. I was once in their shoes. I slept as they are sleeping. Saw my father waiting for food kits in Lebanon.
I know their feelings. I lived the moment when I only had ‘A Dream’ to escape reality.
I know their feelings. Missing my home. Looking for hope in the eyes of others.
I know their feelings. When I only wanted to go back ‘Home’.

Akram – Volunteer Syrian Refugee Coach

Photos: Suzy Sainovski/World Vision

During the current school holidays, there are two football sessions for children at the World Vision football pitches at Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan. One in the morning and one in the evening. There is a break in the middle of the day as it is very hot.

30-year old Akram from Homs in Syria coaches the boys’ teams and the older youth team. He has been in Jordan for 2.5 years.

I used to play for a famous football team in Syria called Al-Karamah. We got to the semi-finals in the Asian Champions League in 2006.

I was once a kid and I had football coaches and they were my idols. I know that with the experience that I had, I can be a good example to these boys. The best thing about being a coach is putting a smile on the faces of the children. This generation has been deprived of so many things, it’s a bit of restitution for them, to give them hope.

The boys release their energy when they play football that could otherwise lead to aggression. It helps them release the extra energy that they have. If they didn’t have this space to play, they would play in the sand or think about stealing – instead they are occupied with football. When some boys first started playing football there was some aggression and we would ask them to leave the pitch for five minutes to calm down. We’ve seen a positive change, there has been development.

When new boys start playing football they need some time to adapt. The longer kids play football, the less aggression I see on the field.

It’s a beautiful thing that there are Syrian refugees in the Olympics. It’s good that people still have the determination to compete. When they eventually go back to Syria, the athletes will take those achievements back to Syria with them.

Khalida – Driver at World Vision Jordan

Photo: Suzy Sainovski/World Vision

World Vision is currently constructing a kindergarten at the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan. It will open in late September. Khalida has worked as a driver at World Vision Jordan for two years. She is the only female driver.

Khalida is very expressive, friendly and quick to smile. Here the 50-year old shares her excitement for the role.

Being the only female driver is a unique experience. When I drive World Vision staff to other NGO offices, the staff at other NGOs can’t believe that I’m a female and a driver – once I got chocolates and coffee because of it! They are surprised that I drive everywhere in Jordan – the camps, Zarqa, Irbid everywhere.

I feel very happy and proud to work in this field. Before this job I was a driving instructor for 20 years. Women are willing to do lots of things. They just need the space. It was rare to have female driving instructors and when I started, my friends and family didn’t like the idea of me being a driving instructor. While I was an instructor I stopped learning new things after a while. I wanted to keep learning though.

At World Vision I meet people from different cultures and backgrounds, my English is improving and I feel like World Vision is a family. (Khalida did an English language course through World Vision.)

When I drive World Vision staff to the camps to do their work, I’m happy that I’m contributing to helping refugees. Before I worked at World Vision, I wanted to work for a humanitarian organisation – If I’m contributing to helping people it makes me happy.

When I was a driving instructor I put my children through university so they could learn, now in my job at World Vision I am learning.

Driving gives me a sense of freedom. The people in my car are my responsibility, I like to be professional and I like taking care of them. In the future I’d like to do work where I am working with refugees directly.

Amira – CFS worker

Ralph Baydoun/World Vision

World Vision runs child friendly spaces (CFS) for Syrian children in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. The spaces provide the opportunity for children to play, learn and spend time with other children. Psychosocial support activities help children process their feelings.

When asking Amira about the reason she works in a CFS, the simple answer that you expect is a typical, “because I love my work”. What one doesn’t know is that Amira finished law school, and had many opportunities to work as a lawyer  but she chose to work with World Vision instead.

Why? ones asks, “The smile of a child is worth everything in this world” Amira says. It’s probably her role as a mother that made her feel this strong attachment towards children and why she has dedicated her life to this cause, or as she describes herself, “I have a soft spot for children, all children”

Every morning Amira wakes up with high hopes about the day to come. Her challenge is to make a change in children’s lives especially the children who attend the CFS. “This is my motivation, this is what keeps me going.” Amira adds.

World Vision works in cycles when it comes to the CFS. Every cycle is for a duration of 3 months. Amira can’t help but talk about how unpleasant is to be attached to children for 3 months and then not see them ever again. “They become part of a bigger family”, Amira tearfully says. Even the children’s families come begging Amira and the team to keep their children for another cycle due to the significant progress they showed!

Amira who is a Lebanese woman in her 40s, lived and survived the Lebanese civil war herself. Seeing the refugees remind her of herself in an earlier stage of her life. She knows exactly how they feel and what they need, and tries as much as she can to help them through their pain. “Because I know for a fact the children are vulnerable and they are the most affected, when it comes to their hygiene, education and physical and mental growth!”

During the the interview Amira explains how beautiful her childhood was and what she tries to do is to ease the childhood of these refugees a little because she believes that every child should live their childhood to the fullest!

The scourge of human trafficking: Is there hope?

By Edmond Lee
World Vision Malaysia

The world is moving
In 2015, Europe faced an unprecedented refugee crisis. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 1,011,700 migrants arrived there by sea and almost 34,900 by land.

Many of these refugees hailed from Syria, where the civil war rages on, driving families from their homes and forcing them on a dangerous journey to the safety of Europe’s shores. They face uncertain futures, but to them, that is preferable to almost certain death.

Unfortunately, where there is human suffering and desperation, there are people ready to exploit it.

The tragic costs of human trafficking
Closer to home, news broke in May 2015 that 28 illegal human trafficking camps had been found along the border between Malaysia and Thailand, near which were found 139 mass graves filled with the bodies of migrants. This case, and the subsequent trial of 92 human traffickers in Thailand, threw more light on the horrific spectre of human trafficking.

The scale of the problem is staggering: an estimated 21 million people have been trafficked worldwide – victims of a ‘business’ that has made $32 billion in profits. Sadly, 5.5 million children have been caught by this dark trade, forced to beg, perform hard labour, or even become sex workers.

Although traffickers often prey on refugee children, more commonly they lure underprivileged children and youths into their sinister web by the promise of steady work abroad.  Economic desperation at home often places enormous pressure on migrating young people to succeed and send money to their families; helping their families survive can make even the worst hardships seem worthwhile.

Occasionally, victims of trafficking escape or get rescued, but continuing poverty and suffering is driving more people into the arms of criminals every day. What can stem the tide?

A reason to stay

Sauphorn with a large harvest of corn.

If economic desperation is a key reason people choose to leave, then economic opportunities can persuade them to stay. Take Sauphorn, a woman in Leuk Daek, Cambodia. Previously, during the dry seasons, she didn’t have the water to grow crops.

“I felt so upset when we didn’t have much food,” she says. “My children would get sick because they didn’t have enough.” In this vulnerable state, Sauphorn could have been swayed by the opportunity to earn an income abroad to care for her children at home.

But after World Vision arrived in her community, she was empowered to keep her children healthy through health and hygiene education, and has even gone on to train others in her community. By learning best practices for farming, her yields have more than quadrupled.

World Vision is transitioning out of her community soon, but she isn’t worried. “World Vision has already strengthened me for 10 years.” With her newfound confidence and expertise, others in her community gain the resilience to stay.

Education empowers
Traffickers often prey on the less-educated, but they would have a hard time in Leuk Daek, Cambodia. Families now have food security and know the value of education, so more and more children are able to go to school, where they can learn more about their rights and how not to be taken advantage of.

One such student is Bunteum, who is now 22.

His parents struggled to feed their family of 10. But through World Vision, they learned life skills and agriculture expertise that enabled them to provide for their family.

Bunteum now shares his knowledge as a school teacher and advisor to the Youth Club.

By taking part in the World Vision Youth Club, Bunteum learned about children’s rights and how to help his community. He worked alongside World Vision to raise awareness on education, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and of course, human trafficking.

All of this had a lasting impact on Bunteum’s life. “After I joined the club, I understood about my future. I could prepare my plan,” he says. He finished school and has returned to his community as a primary school teacher. He also consults with the Youth Club, educating and empowering a new generation of children.

Having hope keeps them safe
In 2013, the UN adopted a resolution to make 30 July the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Raising awareness is indeed important, but awareness alone won’t keep vulnerable children and families away from human traffickers; not as long as the economic rewards seem to outweigh the risks.

But what is true in Leuk Daek is true everywhere: by giving communities access to education, economic opportunities and social protection, children and families won’t succumb to the risks of trafficking and exploitation in order to survive. The promise of hope and self-sufficiency will keep them safe at home, where they belong.

By sponsoring a child, you can give families hope and help them resist traffickers. Click here to become a child sponsor today.



马来西亚世界宣明会推动土立(Tulid)社区发展计划的目的是要支援沙巴州贫困社区的迫切需要。在我们的合作伙伴善牧社会福利基金会(Good Shepherd Services, 前称Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd)的协助之下,长期驻守沙巴的马来西亚世界宣明会团队已经推行了各种项目,以解决沙巴孩童在教育、健康和保护儿童措施方面的需求。经过两年时间的评估、资料搜集和社区探访,这项社区发展计划正式于2014年开始启动。




WVM CEO Dato Ir. K J Abraham with the children of Mukim Tulid. 马来西亚世界宣明会执行总裁拿督亚伯拉罕与土立社区的孩童合影。
Photo caption: 马来西亚世界宣明会执行总裁拿督亚伯拉罕与土立社区的孩童合影。




我们的第一站是Kabatang Baru小学,马来西亚世界宣明会和这所学校合作推动了多个项目。该学校的师生感谢世界宣明会所给予的援助。世界宣明会支援学校重新修建了图书馆,使其焕然一新。图书馆增添了色彩明亮的书架和各种类型的书籍。社区里的家长和考完UPSR的学生们前来一起建造书架和涂漆。其后,世界宣明会供应了许多教育类书籍,以启迪孩子们的智慧与心灵。

The WVM visiting team and volunteers met the students of a pre-school in Mukim Tulid. 马来西亚世界宣明会探访团和志工们与土立社区一所幼儿园的学童们相见。
Photo caption: 马来西亚世界宣明会探访团和志工们与土立社区一所幼儿园的学童们相见。


A mural at a pre-school painted by WVM staff. 马来西亚世界宣明会同仁为一所幼儿园绘制了一幅壁画。Photo caption: 马来西亚世界宣明会同仁为一所幼儿园绘制了一幅壁画。



Kawakaan小学的副校长Gibin Gansayak笃定地说:「世界宣明会赠送的作业簿帮助提升了我们学生的成绩,特别是那些就读六年级的学生。」来自马来西亚全国各地的支持者的爱心,给了孩子一个丰盛且充满希望的未来。




Building Gotong Royong: Community leader En. Sainggun briefs (from left) WVM Board member Gary Soon, WVM Malaysian Programmes manager Lydia Lee, WVM CEO Dato’ Ir. K J Abraham and WVM Board member Dorothy Teoh on the building of the preschool cum community centre. 社区领袖Sainggun(左)正在向马来西亚世界宣明会理事会成员孙添灵、本地发展计划经理李珊珊、执行总裁拿督亚伯拉罕及理事会成员赵秋霞讲解有关建立幼儿园校舍和社区中心的详情。Photo caption: 社区领袖Sainggun(左)正在向马来西亚世界宣明会理事会成员孙添灵、本地发展计划经理李珊珊、执行总裁拿督亚伯拉罕及理事会成员赵秋霞讲解有关建立幼儿园校舍和社区中心的详情。







The U-12 Football League was full of thrills and spills. 12岁以下儿童足球比赛洋溢着汗水、热情与欢笑。Photo caption: 12岁以下儿童足球比赛洋溢着汗水、热情与欢笑。




GirlsPhoto caption: 孩子们根据接收到的指示来进行分组。粉红力量不容小觑!



Stories of a Malaysian community transformed

How it all began

World Vision Malaysia’s Tulid Community Development Programme (CDP) was born as a response to the pressing needs of the poor in Sabah. With the help of local partner Good Shepherd Services (formerly Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd), our dedicated and passionate WVM team in Sabah set into motion a programme that would address the needs of Sabah’s children in Education, Health and Child Protection. Two years of thorough assessment, research and gruelling legwork later, the CDP officially started operations in 2014.

And signs of change are increasing by the day.

Seeing the transformation firsthand

In August 2015, World Vision Malaysia CEO Dato’ Ir. K J Abraham, Board Chair Ms. Catherine Choong and Board of Trustees members Ms. Dorothy Teoh and Mr. Gary Soon paid a visit to the Tulid CDP to witness how the community had changed in just a few short years. The group visited three villages in Mukim Tulid and even had the opportunity to watch the second annual Under-12 Football League in Kg. Simbuan.

WVM CEO Dato Ir. K J Abraham with the children of Mukim Tulid. 马来西亚世界宣明会执行总裁拿督亚伯拉罕与土立社区的孩童合影。
Photo caption: WVM CEO Dato Ir. K J Abraham with the children of Mukim Tulid.

Prior to 2014, any visitor to Mukim Tulid would find a community marked by great need. But today, we have many heartwarming accounts of a community being transformed for the better.

Nurturing the love of learning

The visit kicked off with a briefing by WVM Malaysian Programmes Manager Lydia Lee, who has been a key member of the CDP team since the start. The group’s itinerary was packed to the brim, with a visit to the site of WVM’s beginnings in Sabah, a tour of a primary school, a family visit, and a trip to a pre-school.

The first stop was SK Kabatang Baru, a primary school WVM has been partnering with on various projects. They were filled with great appreciation for WVM’s help and support, which was plainly visible everywhere you looked.  In particular, SK Kabatang Baru’s library was truly a sight to behold, with brightly-coloured wooden shelves heavily laden with books of all kinds. A true community effort, parents and students who had finished their UPSR examinations came together to build and paint the shelves. Then, WVM lined them with educational books, a true treasure trove for young minds.

The WVM visiting team and volunteers met the students of a pre-school in Mukim Tulid. 马来西亚世界宣明会探访团和志工们与土立社区一所幼儿园的学童们相见。
Photo caption: The WVM visiting team and volunteers met the students of a pre-school in Mukim Tulid.

With an eye on health, WVM sponsored a sink project in the school to encourage students to wash their hands properly. An illustrated hand-washing guide has pride of place above the sink, a contribution from the Health Department. The visit concluded with a tour of the pre-school, where 25 bright-eyed students greeted the visitors and joyfully posed for the clicking cameras. A beautiful nature-themed mural painted by WVM staff covers one of the walls, a vibrant and colourful reminder of our service in the community.

A mural at a pre-school painted by WVM staff. 马来西亚世界宣明会同仁为一所幼儿园绘制了一幅壁画。Photo caption: A mural at a pre-school painted by WVM staff.

Typical of the growing enthusiasm for education in Mukim Tulid was Mr. Pius and his family. Pius, a father of six, spoke eloquently about how WVM had raised awareness among parents about their role in their children’s future. As he thanked the staff, Pius spoke about the visible difference in Maatol’s children ever since WVM began its efforts in the area. He might have been thinking about his own son, Oswald—who scored 4 A’s and 1 B in the 2014 UPSR examinations—when he said, “Education is an inheritance that cannot be replaced.” Mr. Gary Soon echoed Pius’ sentiment, saying that “education is the link to progress, and parents are seeing that.”

The generosity of caring Malaysians has certainly made a huge impact on education in Tulid, in particular through the learning resources donated via World Vision’s Gifts of Hope programme. Sekolah Kebangsaan Kawakaan is the top school not only in Mukim Tulid, but in the district of Keningau!*, with 10 out of 23 students achieving straight As and 95.7% of students passing the 2015 UPSR national exams.

SK Kawakaan Penolong Kanan Cikgu Gibin Gansayak affirmed, “World Vision’s gift of school workbooks has helped improve our students’ grades, especially those in Standard Six.”  Indeed, the big hearts of our supporters across Malaysia are giving children here hope of a future free of poverty and need.

*Statistics provided by Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah Keningau Sabah

The spirit of community

Next on the itinerary was a visit to Kg. Mokotog, where community members led by Wakil Ketua Anak Negeri (WKAN) En. Sainggun were building their own pre-school-cum-community centre gotong-royong style with materials provided by WVM**. In the spirit of cooperation, everyone in the community had a role to play. The building was designed by the villagers themselves during meetings organised by World Vision. Two community members stepped up to become future pre-school teachers and received training from Good Shepherd Services (GSS), WVM’s close partner in Sabah.

Building Gotong Royong: Community leader En. Sainggun briefs (from left) WVM Board member Gary Soon, WVM Malaysian Programmes manager Lydia Lee, WVM CEO Dato’ Ir. K J Abraham and WVM Board member Dorothy Teoh on the building of the preschool cum community centre. 社区领袖Sainggun(左)正在向马来西亚世界宣明会理事会成员孙添灵、本地发展计划经理李珊珊、执行总裁拿督亚伯拉罕及理事会成员赵秋霞讲解有关建立幼儿园校舍和社区中心的详情。Photo caption: Community leader En. Sainggun briefs (from left) WVM Board member Gary Soon, WVM Malaysian Programmes manager Lydia Lee, WVM CEO Dato’ Ir. K J Abraham and WVM Board member Dorothy Teoh on the building of the preschool cum community centre

Board member Ms. Dorothy Teoh was inspired by what she saw. “The communities’ response and involvement was very heartening. The fact that they’ve taken ownership of the pre-school project will help ensure its sustainability. They may not have much but they gave what they had – their hands and their time.”

Board Chair Ms. Catherine Choong sums it up, “Seeing the community come together to build the pre-school building was such an encouragement, and a prequel to future possibilities.”

The partnership of GSS was critical in helping us make inroads into Tulid and build lasting relationships with community members. We could not have achieved so much without their support.

**The pre-school and community centre was completed and opened on 27 November 2015.

Going for the goal

One of the highlights of the visit was an afternoon spent watching the Under-12 Football League in Kg. Simbuan. Even in rural Sabah, football is an obsession like no other sport, which makes it a perfect platform to promote health and nutrition for children. Besides, football is a great way to bring communities together and give children a safe environment to play and grow.

The U-12 Football League was full of thrills and spills. 12岁以下儿童足球比赛洋溢着汗水、热情与欢笑。Photo caption: The U-12 Football League was full of thrills and spills.

During the League, the hosts’ A-team swept to victory in convincing fashion over four rival villages. After the thrills and spills of the League, community members and the WVM group participated in a relaxed and friendly coconut bowling competition, in which WVM carried off the honours amidst plenty of laughs and cheers.

By leaps and bounds

All in all, Tulid CDP has grown in leaps and bounds since work first began in 2012. Reflecting on the visit, Dato’ Ir. K J Abraham said, “I’m very encouraged, coming here and seeing the possibilities, and meeting the families and parents.” With WVM’s programme now firmly established in the Mukim Tulid district, there is great potential for lasting change and development among communities in the area.

GirlsWhen asked for her thoughts on the programme, Lydia Lee mused, “Tulid is a picture of God’s goodness and faithfulness. He has sent us to show His love in action.” Indeed, we thank God for the progress made in Tulid, Sabah. Here’s to many more years of transformation!

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To find out more on our community transformation, click here.
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