Tag Archive: World Vision Malaysia

The year of forgetting myself.

By Edmond Lee, Communications

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.
Proverbs 11:25 (The Message Bible)

As another year winds down and we look forward to the Christmas season (and the holidays!), it’s worth taking some time to reflect on the year gone by.

Geopolitical upheavals, financial uncertainties, war and tragedies… 2016 has been a long, eventful, and often tumultuous year. It can be easy to give in to pessimism when we turn on the news and see, for example, the latest updates on the civil war tearing Syria violently apart. Some days, one can feel a deep frustration with the world. And when you combine that with the pressures of daily life, it can feel like too much to bear. I’ve been there.

And yet, 2016 has been instructive in teaching me the value of looking beyond myself.  As a writer with World Vision, I know that every word I type makes an impact for the people we serve. If I can convince just one person to sponsor a child or give to a worthy cause through my writing, that could make all the difference for a child and a community trapped in poverty.

On certain days, that responsibility can be overwhelming. But on others, it energises me. It forces me to power through and discover creative energies I didn’t know I had. Sometimes my writing falls short of its potential (apologies to my long-suffering editor) but on good days I turn out something authentic that can move hearts! Most importantly, focusing on the needs of someone else helps me to forget myself, if just for a moment.

So as we look towards 2017 and the new uncertainties it may bring, maybe that’s one lesson we can take with us: When all we have to think about are our own fears and insecurities (which we often feed for no reason), the world can drag us down.  But when we can channel our energies into serving those who suffer, the light of hope we bring into their world may just light up ours as well.

May the light and joy of Christmas surround you this Christmas, and here’s to a very bright 2017.

Lydia – serving in Sabah

By Lydia Lee
World Vision Malaysia

My name is Lydia and I am responsible to initiate and oversee World Vision Malaysia (WVM) community development programmes (CDPs) in Sabah, provide direction for the growth of CDPs in Malaysia, capacity building of local staff, engage with stakeholders and explore partnering opportunities, collaborate with like-minded organisations and am one of the spokespersons for the media.

Before embarking on implementing any transformational community development programme with an aim towards a community’ self-sustainability, relationships and trust must be built with the community. The initial phase in starting in Tulid CDP starting from October 2011 was tough – no one in the area has heard of World Vision, WVM had no past track record in Sabah, the communities had limited engagement with NGOs. In one of the villages, some leaders actually thought I was from a new political party when they saw my orange World Vision shirt.

A lot of hard work and sacrifice was made, achievements were slow to come by (for example, it took one whole year of generally working alone in Sabah throughout 2012, before we had the first two Sabahan co-workers, and later on more Sabahan staff as field facilitators), plans can be suddenly thwarted by unexpected, unannounced events (such as the 13th General Elections and the Sulu crisis in 2013 when we planned to facilitate a series of participatory programme design workshops in several clusters of villages).

Personal life is usually at the backburner as a high degree of flexibility is needed to shuttle between West and East Malaysia to accommodate stakeholders’ timing. In spite of having the ‘best laid plans’, community development work in Sabah inevitably takes priority over other commitments, resulting in feelings of guilt from bailing on commitments to my husband, family and friends, or simply not committing to events and gatherings for fear causing disappointment later. Nevertheless, I am grateful that they continue to be supportive and I hope to do better in the area of being a good wife, daughter and friend.

I am touched by the care and hospitability of the community in Sabah and also a partner NGO, Good Shepherd Services when I first started working in Sabah. They took me in as one of them, allowed me to join them in their day-to-day activities even though I had zero farming knowledge – unable to chop trees and slow in moving tree trunks to clear lands for planting, slow in harvesting paddy and unable to distinguish edible and non-edible wild vegetables.

During the early, relationship-building period I got to know the community better. Through spending more time with the community, they opened up when they share their thoughts. Mothers, fathers and youths share their dreams and struggles. People really desire to do something to improve their condition, but lack the opportunities.

Successes are – when you are able to witness for yourself that children have shown increased confidence and motivation to learn, when field staff increase in their capacity, confidence and commitment, when a community showed initiative, motivation and ownership in setting set up their own pre-school in their village for their children’s well-being. Parents are willing to sacrifice for their children’s future. After seeing improvement in their children, parents are motivated to be good role models, even to the extent of changing their old habits for the sake of their children.

Last year, we responded to the floods in Kelantan. It was WVM’s first local disaster response. I was responsible for the relief and rehabilitation work among the orang asli communities in Gua Musang. It was a steep learning curve, I was further stretched to juggle a precious resource, i.e. time, in working in three locations – Sabah, Kelantan and Selangor.

The amazing grace of God, even though I do not have the ability to teleport or to be omnipresent (my occasional wishful thinking and outrageous daydream), God had protected me from major physical injury caused by accidents, and I have been safe from any serious harm that may have happened to a female staying alone in a village(s).

Throughout my time in World Vision Malaysia, I grew in my relationship with Jesus Christ. It is in times of struggle, uncertainty and knowing you are not able to do things with your own strength that leads you to a deeper dependence on God. When I was nearing the brink of burn-out after expending physical and mental energy throughout two months without a break, He brought forth renewal, sustained me from simply giving up and reminded me that He is my source of strength and hope.

He has also provided help in the form of people – people who are really committed to serve by availing themselves to be full time staff. I am very grateful for everyone I work with, for without such committed people giving their lives to do this work, we would not have gone very far.

What keeps me motivated? Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”  These words drive me to focus and do my best in every circumstance, that ultimately what I do will be pleasing to God.

Lydia Lee currently serves in World Vision Malaysia under the Malaysian Programmes team as a Manager.

回顾沙巴土立社区的蜕变

一颗种子的萌芽

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。

土立社区自那时候起开始慢慢有了变化,希望的种子也渐渐茁壮成长。

见证社区转型

2015年8月,马来西亚世界宣明会执行总裁拿督亚伯拉罕、理事会主席钟和娇、理事会成员孙添灵及赵秋霞探访了土立社区发展计划,见证社区如何在短短几年间发生转变。这趟行程当中,我们探访了土立地区的三个甘榜,并且有机会观看到世界宣明会在Simbuan甘榜举办的第二届12岁以下儿童足球赛。

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。

在2014年之前,任何来到土立探访的人都会看见这个社区在各方面的不足。然而今天我们很欣慰地看到了这里许多鼓舞人心的改善。

鼓励学习之爱

此次行程非常紧凑。众人到访土立社区当天,首先是由马来西亚世界宣明会本地发展计划经理李珊珊为大家介绍这项事工的情况。珊珊是土立事工团队的主要成员,也是这个团队的灵魂人物。其后,我们探访了社区里的一间小学、一个家庭和一间幼儿园。

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。

世界宣明会也很关注孩子们的健康。为了提高学生们的健康意识,我们资助学校建造盥洗槽,以鼓励学生维持正确的洗手习惯。在盥洗槽上,张贴了一份由卫生部贡献的洗手指南。最后,我们在探访的幼儿园,与25个天真无邪的学童见面。他们面对镜头和镁光灯时,一点都不害羞,且大方欢乐地摆出姿势。世界宣明会同工在幼儿园的其中一面墙上彩绘了一幅以大自然为主题的优美壁画。

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。

Pius和家人对孩子的教育非常热心。Pius有五个孩子,他详尽地道说世界宣明会如何尽全力地导引家长们意识到自己在孩子们的未来扮演重要角色。他很感激世界宣明会同工,自从世界宣明会启动了社区发展事工之后,对当地的孩子带来了明显的变化。他的儿子Oswald在2014年的UPSR检定考试中考获4A1B的佳绩。他说:「教育是无法用其他东西取代的资产。」孙添灵先生也同意Pius的说法,他认为:「教育是促成进步与成长的关键,而这个社区的家长们已经看到了教育的重要性。」

马来西亚民众透过世界宣明会的「希望之礼」活动,慷慨捐赠了教学器材和学习用品给土立社区。Kawakaan小学不但是土立最杰出的学校,也是根地咬县的杰出学校*,23位参加UPSR检定考试的学生中,有10位考得全A成绩,这所学校也创下了95.7%的及格率。

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。

*数据由沙巴根地咬教育厅提供

社区的团结精神

我们也探访了Mokotong甘榜,这里的居民在社区代表Sainggun的领导之下,建立了他们自己的幼儿园和社区中心。马来西亚世界宣明会供应了建筑所需的材料,居民通力合作把这居所建立起来。值得一提的是,村民是在世界宣明会召开的会议中拟出了设计图,更有两位村民自荐担任幼儿园的老师。两位老师也被安排到善牧社会福利基金会接受培训。

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。

马来西亚世界宣明会理事会成员赵秋霞说道:「居民们的投入与付出真的是非常感人。他们主动参与这项幼儿园计划有助于确保社区发展的永续性。他们或许拥有的东西不多,但他们献出了宝贵的时间和愿意亲手去建造。」

理事会主席钟和娇也说道:「看到居民们一起来建造这所幼儿园,真是让我们深受鼓舞,也让我们更可以预见未来的许多可能性。」

在此,我们也要特别感谢合作伙伴善牧社会福利基金会长期以来的配合,为我们和社区打下了重要的合作基础,这份支持非常可观。若没有他们,我们或许就无法达至今天的成就。

**幼儿园与社区中心已经完工,并于2015年11月27日启用。

迎向目标

探访当天的其中一个亮点是我们有机会在Simbuan甘榜观看到12岁以下儿童足球赛。即使是在沙巴如此偏僻的地方,足球依旧是许多人着迷不已的运动,而这也是推广儿童健康与营养的绝佳媒介。此外,足球运动也能够缔结社区民众关系以及为孩子们提供一个安全的完乐与成长的环境。

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。

主场村庄派出的A队成功超越来自其他四个村庄的队伍,并赢得比赛。经过了一场紧张刺激的赛事,社区居民和马来西亚世界宣明会团队进行了一场轻松的椰子保龄球赛。这场谐趣的赛事在当天带来了许多的欢笑和乐趣。

跃进与起飞

总而言之,自2012年以来,土立社区发展计划迅速稳定地成长。拿督亚伯拉罕回想此次探访时说道:「我深受鼓舞,我看见各方面都获得正面的改善。我也探访了一些家庭,与家长们会面。」马来西亚世界宣明会在土立推行的计划如此趋向稳定,相信也能够为这个社区带来长远及恒久的变化与发展。

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!

当我们问到李珊珊对这项计划有什么感想,她微笑着说:「土立的现况彰显了上帝的恩典与信实。祂安排我们来到这里,透过我们把祂的爱传出去。」是的,我们最要感谢神看顾着沙巴土立的发展,以及未来很多很多年的变化与成长。

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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 Pendidikan PraSekolah SIB, 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!

To give a donation in support of our Malaysia projects, click here.
To find out more on our community transformation, click here.
To find out more on our CEO & Board, click here

Beeehhh A Hero

FOREFRONT wanted to give back to the community. So they utilised their strengths as a Malaysian creative agency. From sketching out the mascot to dreaming the concept for their social media channels and using their tech skills to bring the mascot to life.

BeAHero
Image courtesy of Forefront.

The original idea of “Beeehhh A Hero” was inspired by this year’s Chinese New Year which is the year of the Goat. FOREFRONT also used this opportunity to engage more with their Facebook fans, corporate clients and their faithful employees. At the same time, they made the decision to support World Vision’s Gifts of Hope catalogue, with the intention to raise funds for goats.

The CSR-led campaign was a success and the employees also got a taste of supporting livelihood projects in communities around the world, through a custom made Goat’s Milk Interest Group game, organised by World Vision Malaysia.

If you are a corporate looking to partner with World Vision, do write a proposal to us based on this Corporate Partnership Proposal Guideline and email it to [email protected]

Thank you for ALL your efforts FOREFRONT!

Check out their entire campaign here :

Labour prompted by Love

MichCViet
Here’s Michelle sharing a lighthearted moment with Mr Lam, Lac Son ADP Manager

By Michelle Chun
World Vision Malaysia

The tall, narrow buildings looked like colourful blocks as our bus left busy Hanoi and headed into Vietnamese countryside. Suddenly, the tiny green patches I had seen from the plane became lush paddy fields stretching far and wide until towering mountain ranges stopped them from conquering the horizon altogether.

I was on my way to Lac Son, a province in northern Vietnam. World Vision Malaysia is the support office for an Area Development Programme there, and we were taking a group of Malaysian sponsors (and their companions) to visit their sponsored children.

Having been in World Vision Malaysia for three months, I still feel new. Every day poses a new challenge, a new climb. When I was asked if I would be willing to travel to Lac Son and gather stories for some of our publications, my first thought was, “God, is this You?”

I had come into World Vision after months of an incredible struggle between surrender and safety. Having taken unpaid leave from my previous job to attend a three-month Bible school, I had already felt that something new was coming. And when He told me to leave my job and simply trust Him with my future, I knew the something new had come. It was terrifying.

Three months later, after many tears, crippling fears and learning to utterly depend on a God I knew I could trust but was many times afraid to, I found myself in World Vision.

Another three months on, and there I was: sitting in a crowded bus, surrounded by Manglish chatter and an almost tangible air of excitement as we left the colourful buildings behind. Settling into the steady jolting of the bus, I had a quiet conversation with God, thanking Him for this rare opportunity and asking Him to keep my heart close to His. I really wanted the trip to be more than an assignment; I wanted to know Him better.

Needless to say, He never disappoints. Throughout the entire trip, I felt as though I was on a journey into the middle of His heart. Each day revealed a little more of God’s heart, a greater revelation of who He is. And as I discovered more of Him, I learnt more about myself, my faith and my work.

Growing up, I’d always wanted to love and serve God perfectly. But it hardly seemed attainable. I eventually burnt out after years of trying to be the ‘good’ Christian, disillusioned and discouraged. It was in Bible school that I reconnected with Him and embraced the knowledge that He has a great purpose for my life. All I need to do is trust Him.

My time in Lac Son was where He reassured me that World Vision is where He wants me to be, right now. I had always wanted my work to be my ministry, and it’s definitely easier to find that place in a Christian organisation. However, it’s also easy to lose sight of it. In marketing, I sometimes find myself chasing numbers instead of looking to the One who brings in the numbers. In Lac Son, the Lord brought everything back into focus.

It was also during this trip that I saw this truth in action: God is love. I’ve known this phrase ever since I could read, but I have begun to see it with greater clarity.  He is love. As a Christ-centred organisation, World Vision therefore works from a place of love. It is His vision of love we weave into people’s lives with each step we take toward community transformation.

I saw His love everywhere. It was in Canh—an ADP sponsorship staff—who knew the name of every child running up to her trying to steal a hug and hello. I saw it shining through the gentle Mr Lam, faithfully leading his small but passionate team of staff committed to serving the poorest of the poor. I saw it amongst the child sponsors as they lugged their big suitcases and bigger hearts, bearing gifts for the children.

And I saw what His love brings—the shining confidence in Nguyet’s eyes as she recounted how, through World Vision’s training and help, she became a successful chicken farmer; the contagious joy in the children’s laughter as they darted around muddy puddles and yellowing columns; the beads of sweat glistening on young Minh’s forehead, proof of a healthy boy no longer suffering from a debilitating heart condition but now able to play football with friends.

I now realise my work extends far beyond the confines of my cubicle and the tapping away of fingers on my keyboard. From child sponsors to sponsored children, fundraising staff to field staff, volunteers to donors—we are all part of His vision of love. Immersed in His love, it spills out in everything we are and do. It starts with Christ, and ends with Him.

So I pray that my eyes remain fixed on Jesus, and that I live in the reality of my Father’s love for me. For I know that as long as I stay in that place, I will carry His vision of love—in my work, in my home and in my world.  As the Thessalonians lived, I too want my work to be inspired by faith, labour to be prompted by love and endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

That’s my world vision.

Pastors’ Field Visit To Arpana ADP, India

By Rev. Terrence K. K. Sinnadurai
Chairman, Desa Amal Jireh/Rumah Faith

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Group picture taken in front of World Vision India Office, Chennai, after an encouraging interaction session between the Malaysian pastors team and World Vision India on the first day of arrival. (From left to right: Front row –  Rev Calvin Lim, Rev Allen Tan, Dr Jayakumar Christian (CEO of World Vision India), Pastor Cheryl Lai, Rev Denise Yong; Second row – Rev Francis Ho, Sister Margaret, Brother Valentine; Last row – Pastor Faye Chen, Brother Joseph Lai, Rev Lynda Choi, Rev Terrence Sinnadurai, Brother Allen Benjamin. World Vision India staff)

I.    Introduction

Firstly I would like to thank World Vision Malaysia for inviting me to join the  Pastors’ Field Visit to Guntur, South India on May 19 – 23. This is my first visit to Andhra Pradesh .

Secondly, after being involved in social work for so many years, I realise that I am just touching the surface and our work is very small and specific compared to what World Vision (WV) is doing in India.

Thirdly, with limited funds and personnel, we can only do limited work but what World Vision is doing in India is a real eye opener. I would like to congratulate World Vision for their efforts.

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Pastor Faye Chen was showing the coloring work that she did happily together with one of the children in a community church that we visited.

II.    What Impacted Me Most During This Visit?

A.    First Impact – Adequate funding and personnel is needed to competently handle all the work that is being done. I also learnt one aspect of interdependence in the World Vision Partnership: the Malaysian office and other Support Offices in other countries commit to fund-raising while countries like India (designated National Offices) are the recipients of the fund. I realized that adequate funding is important to give good service to the poor. The rich must help the poor. The haves, the have-nots.

B.    Second Impact – That all of World Vision staff in India are passionate about the Lord and their work. Many are regular church goers, and some are even Bible College graduates. They work among all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. They are very professional in their approach. As they work among the poor and oppressed, their main aim is to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.

C.    Third Impact – World Vision’s structure must be commended. The founders and those who have spent a lot of time in working out the structure must be commended for it seems very successful. I believe this is replicated in many countries. The World Vision head of India, Dr. Jayakumar Christian has a firm hold on the organization and runs it well with the help of the support staff.

D.    Forth Impact – World Vision’s emphasis on regular prayer is commendable.

III.    What Significant Benefits Can The World Vision Community Development Programme Bring Or Provide To Arpana ADP?

In my opinion WV is doing a tremendous job among the villages in Arpana. Initiatives like Economic Development, Education, Health and Sanitation and Community Empowerment seem very effective and are touching many lives and raising them from their level of poverty. Many families, individuals, ladies and students are being helped.

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Children of a school in Arpana gathered under the WV program of “Child Health Now” to pledge on their commitment towards health while receiving mosquito nets and livestocks supply. Malaysia pastors team was overwhelmed by the cheering and smiles of the children.

The only way I can see further significant benefits that can be extended to them is to help more people in more villages. Maybe more funds should be raised to give further help to reach out to more villages.

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A family headed by a widow living in a “home” made do by cloths and bamboo sticks. The children and family are deprived of security, protection and provision.

Secondly, I feel after spending resources on these projects, there must be another back up group that tactfully ministers to the spiritual aspect.

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Malaysia pastors were praying for the children and families who respond to the sharing of the gospel. Years of laboring with the people living with HIVs in this community has opened up the hearts to receive the good news of Christ – a holistic transformation that World Vision pursues with faith.

Fourthly, the schools are in deplorable conditions with poor furnishings. I understand the Government is only constructing the structure and not helping with the furnishing. It will be difficult for World Vision to furnish all the schools in the villages. I hope that World Vision can work further with the local politicians to look into the furnishings.

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A community centre that World Vision started with local villagers to give safe space for children to play and to learn, and to hold community meetings that emphasize on the well-being of children.

IV.    What Will Be The Positive Learning Lessons You Gain That May Contribute To The Christian Social Ministry in Malaysia

The situation in Arpana is different to Malaysia and as such we can’t adopt all the programs that are being done over there. Though it may be hard to find hardcore poor in our country, there may be pockets of them in certain places and relevant programs should be considered.

The only hard core poor I can think of are the Orang Asli in West Malaysia and the Pribumi in East Malaysia. World Vision and churches should penetrate into these Orang Asli villages with the relevant projects.

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Children in a school that we visited raise up their hands with excitement to express their response to “Child Health Now” project.

V.    What Are The Opportunities That You Have Discovered And Would Like to Explore Further To Support This Initiative With World Vision?

While visiting some places I was impressed to give an offering. But I think my offering will be a small drop in the vast ocean of World Vision’s financial need.

It will be good if World Vision can share her vision with the local churches so that we can partner with World Vision in the mission fields of these needy countries. Sponsoring children will be a good way to start with.

I think churches will come forward to partner more readily if the social emphasis which is an important way to break the ice with the community is capped with a spiritual emphasis too.

Day 4 – The Final Day

by Daniel Lee

Widow and her brood

Mother of 2 children, she is HIV-Positive, and just lost her husband 4 months ago. He died of the HI Virus. Right now she stays with her mother-in-law at a very small hut.

Daniel

When we visited their house, the mother-in-law showed the picture of her loving son that has just gone, and she just couldn’t control her emotion, and tears just came down from her eyes. Well maybe she really needs some time for her heart to heal.

But we are happy to see that the family is healthy and we didn’t even see any signs of complaint through their eyes, their responces, even they are staying in that small hut, even if she lives with HIV…

They seem to cope very well. The mother still able to earn a living and the children go to school as normal.

Young Couple

A 20-year old young man with both parents who have passed away cause of HIV, he’s now taking care of his grandparents, and his newly married bride.

They used to be very poor and he grew up as a child labourer in a tobacco company since he was 12. But after a year, World Vision has started to help his family. From a house that didn’t even have roof to a bricked house, he now lives comfortably and plans to start a family soon with his young wife.

Final thoughts by Daniel

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Now I can really feel that, many people in India have a lot of sad stories because of HIV/AIDS. But we are glad that the number of people affected and infected by HIV/AIDS has dropped. Many of them are taken care of by World Vision through education and regular medication.

Day 3 – Understanding the Complexities of HIV/AIDS

After a brief hiatus, we’re back to continue Daniel’s journey in India.

By Daniel Lee

HIV/AIDS Drop-in Centre

It’s a place where most of the HIV/AIDS mothers and children gather together. For them it is a safe space for them to share their experiences, get counselling and supplementary nutrition from the doctors.

The mothers shared their experiences of being neglected by the community, of their children being neglected in school; some were even chased out from their rented houses.

Through the help of this Centre, the community began to understand more about HIV, and the people living with HIV/AIDS have been accepted. And now the community treats them better, but they still wish to reach out to more HIV patients and to help as many as possible.

But I’m glad that they are coping well, I feel that they should have brought this issue to the court for being treated this way.

And they were really happy to talk to us especially the children. I guess they just want to live normal lives.

Family of 5

In a very rural area, we met Raju*, his 3 children and his old mother.

Raju is HIV-positive; his deceased wife passed away cause of HIV.

The current situation showed that he’s very sick and cannot work, while his mother is about 75, too old and frail to earn a living.

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Raju’s simple house

So the villagers work together to give them food every day, while the children were sent to a hostel for their schooling. And they are taken care by the villagers and World Vision.

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Meeting the community under a tree

Hope of a Family

Husband and wife are both HIV-Positive, with 2 daughters.

World Vision was able to provide them with better opportunities.

Both husband and wife seems to be living health lives and working as carpenters

The wife also runs a small grocery stores with a public telephone and a refrigerator. And in the future she hopes that she can afford to run a cafe with a small hotel business.

HIV/AIDS is not as simple as getting an illness and curing it with medication. The fact of the matter is, HIV/AIDS has no cure, many factors come into play to complicate the circumstances for a family and the community. Do click here to learn more about the work World Vision does in terms of HIV/AIDS.

* Raju’s real name has been changed to protect his identity.

Day 2 – Getting adjusted

By Daniel Lee

School Visit

World vision has help the primary school to level the ground, build a water pump, construct a wall for safety and security and most importantly provided school materials, food and nutrition for the children.

So that they can have place to train, especially in sports. And I felt so proud to know that, they have always been the champion among the 42 schools in the area of sports.

They performed dances for us, and it was a joy to see them sing for us, we really enjoyed that.

Daniel

The tragedy of HIV/AIDS

Just about a week ago, World Vision got to know of this 20-year old young man, taking care of his family of six = the grandpa, grandma, mother, 2 sisters and himself. The father committed suicide over the pressures of being HIV-positive and couldn’t handle the burden of taking care of the family. The mother who is also HIV-positive, is quite ill.

The family lives in 2 simple huts next to a railway station.

Daniel

And all the while, this young man worked as a hard laborer on a farm.

Right now, the situation is still not so good, but World Vision has just started to help them as they are able.

In a month’s time, World Vision will help him to open a sundry store next to the railway station. And will help to take care of his mother and the grandparents’ health, and as a first step, see that the sisters get an education.

And we feel that, at least everything will be okay for them.

Light at the end of a Tunnel

At the end of the day, we met Rehenna. She was a World Vision sponsored child for the last 13 years.

She came from a poor family, but with the help of World Vision, she was able to continue her studies, and now able to pursue her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Logistic.

We are thankful that World Vision Child Sponsors have given these children hope and success.

Conclusion of Day 2

Today, we have seen some very difficult stories, we see little children with so much energy, passion and hopes, we saw a family struggling to survive with the basics of healthcare and living in dire poverty, and we also saw a very successful child that has been blessed by World Vision.