Tag Archive: world vision

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
Communications
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

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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.

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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.

Clean water and latrines make life livable for Syrian refugee families in Lebanon

by Sandy Maroun
World Vision Lebanon

The path to Aisha’s tent is filled with lots of mud and small rocks. The uneven ground is littered with old unused stuff, like chairs and broken appliances. Between tents, round white structured latrines and water tanks can be seen.

“Two months ago, we did not have all this,” says Aisha, 34-year-old Syrian refugee woman. “[The] children used to pee outside the tent, in a hole in the ground, and get their bodies dirty. Today, we have a latrine installed by World Vision and actually it is great,” she adds.

As part of the Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH) project in the Bekaa valley, funded by the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), World Vision installed latrines around Syrian refugee tents as part of informal tented settlements.

Ibrahim
Ibrahim (Aisha’s 5-year old son) happily opening the latrine’s door installed by World Vision in
Bekaa Valley

When the minimum standards for humanitarian assistance were set in 1997, it was established that there should be at least one toilet installed for every 25 persons. Yet, to have a better impact on Syrian refugees, World Vision installed one latrine for every 15 people. The organization also installed water tanks around the settlement allowing Syrian refugees to access clean portable water (the 1,000 litre tanks are filled by World Vision every 10 days) and greywater (filled as needed).

“We have everything we need [in terms of water and hygiene] now. It is definitely much better than before,” says Khalluf, Aisha’s 16-year-old son. “Water is reaching our tent through hoses [now]. Before World Vision, we used to fill water in buckets to get washed or clean our tents or throw it in the hole that contains our sewage,” he adds.

The potable water World Vision uses to fill the tanks is tested in specialized laboratories to make sure it has a healthy composition. As a secondary precaution, however, World Vision also distributed two water filters for each household.

“World Vision’s duty is to ensure the right environment for Syrian refugees, even though they live in tented settlements. These tents are the refugees’ homes now and through the WASH project we wanted to make it [as] comfortable [as possible],” says Simon Tawk, World Vision’s WASH project manager.

As part of the WASH project, World Vision dug a big hole in the ground, and installed a 200 litre hidden septic tank, connected to the latrines, to contain the sewage water. These tanks are emptied by specialized trucks monthly. The refugees pay the truck drivers to empty the septic tanks with vouchers distributed by World Vision.

“[The] WASH project provides Syrian refugees with the indispensable components of their lives, such as potable water to drink and prepare food, and greywater for toilets and showering,” says Simon, who also points out that by these efforts, “World Vision seeks to alleviate their suffering.”

Khalluf lives in the tent with his mother, Aisha, his father, Abdel Wahab, and his seven siblings. He’s the eldest child. Eight months ago, the family fled the war in Aleppo and found refuge in the Bekaa, where other relatives resorted before them.

“We can flush the toilet and we are doing well, much better than before. There is nothing like home, but our situation is better now,” says Khalluf.

World Vision raises refugees’ awareness on the importance of proper hygiene through information sessions given by health promoters in settlements, as part of the WASH project.

“We seek to help Syrian refugees adapt to their new lives and situations by raising their awareness on health and hygiene habits inside camps,” says Simon. “We know that they had great habits back home, but living in a tented settlement is different and our duty is to help them adapt.”

The WASH project in Zahle area in Bekaa reached 1,000 Syrian households thanks to World Vision and ECHO. So far, World Vision’s WASH project in Lebanon has benefited 24,500 Syrian refugees.

Please help meet the urgent needs of the Syrian refugees such as Aisha, Khalluf and Ibrahim today. To make a donation, go to www.worldvision.com.my > Donate Now > key in “Syria Crisis Response” at to rush emergency aid to. Thank you.

Mrs Ornanong and Richard Supat – lives that inspired me

Last month, I had the privilege of meeting two former World Vision sponsored children from Thailand and The Philippines, who were in town to offer their voices and share their lives with the Malaysian public. And because of my job scope, I had the honor of sitting through their interviews with the media. With that, I try my best now to share with you their stories. Simple yet powerful stories, of how lives were transformed. Stories of hopes that became realities. Stories that made a person pay attention to listen, not because one has to but because one is attracted to.

Once in a while, we meet people who inspire us, who made us believe in the goodness of humanity again. Such were the sweet encounters with Mrs Ornanong Panyawang Awakul, from Thailand and Mr Richard Supat, from The Philippines. One was a former Ms Thailand 1992, who is now a well known actress, TV host and a celebrity in her home country. The other, holds a degree in Mass Communications and an MBA, spearheading the Human Resources Department of a location-based services in his home country. Neither of them ever thought that their lives would take such a turn.

Richard Supat

Both were born into a poor family, struggling to survive on daily basis. Richard’s parents were working in a peanut butter factory, depending on daily wages. Richard, who grew up in the ‘shanti’ (slums) area of Metro Manila known as the ‘sin city’, got emotional when speaking to The Star journalist, reminded that sometimes he only had rice with salt. Life took a gradual turn after he got selected into World Vision’s Child Sponsorship programme, teaching him values beyond classroom education – learning to be thankful and to be a good steward of what has been given. I believe lessons like these are the ones that shape a person’s world views. Richard eludes a quiet yet friendly persona and his humility amazed me when we met. When he sang “You Raised Me Up” at our This Is My World Vision Campaign launch, each word came alive from a soul who truly understood the lyrics. I must say, some of the audience present were at the verge of tears.

Richard Supat

In his interview with BFM 89.9 BFM 89.9, Richard said “Never in my entire life, I would imagine that someone I don’t know would help me. So that is a big responsibility and that has taught me to love other people who you do not know and just be there for them.” This is the beauty of the World Vision Child Sponsorship programme, it not just about a programme or the donation of RM65/ 80 per month but more than that, it is a journey together – the sponsor and the sponsored child.

Ornanong

Mrs Ornanong, was always pleasant and one of the most down to earth celebrity I’ve met. She was always polite, even when speaking through an interpreter and there was a certain radiance about her smile. This was a child who came from a family of 7 siblings and her father was a construction worker by day and a tricylce taxi peddler by night, relying on daily wages. Her mother was a factory worker and sold fruits in the market. Growing up, she taught she would turn out to be a fruit vendor like her mom.

Ornanong

World Vision came to the school she was studying one day and identified the poorest families, offering if they would like to be a part of its Child Sponsorship programme. The rest, as they say, is history for her. She kept her grades at school and eventually learned the traditional Thai dance, which contributed to her winning the title of Ms Thailand in 1992. She made public her background of poverty and that she was a sponsored child to the media upon winning the crown, believing that one should not be ashamed but instead, be grateful of how much her life has been changed because of the generosity of others. Today, she sponsors 6 children with her husband, saying that she can relate to them because she was once in their shoes. This is her way of encouraging the sponsored children that they must not give up on their dreams.

“World Vision is like a boat, it collects people on-board along the way and bring them to their destination”, she said through her translator to New Tide magazine journalist. Will you join us in this journey? Thank You, Mrs Ornanong and Richard, for being such amazing living testimonies.

I am writing this entry, not because its part of my job as a staff but because I truly believe in the work World Vision does. I hope you too, can believe in us to Build A Better World For Children. You can be that person for someone else too.

From a Sponsor’s Heart (Part II)

By Chew Sue Lee

It’s refreshing to see the community in action, especially when you live in the city where individualism takes first place. We stayed at one of the communities one of the nights, and after dinner, we had fellowship with the community. Obviously that place being the only place where there was electricity, it was where everyone gathered. And we had fun together. How different it is from us being at our homes, where every family is in their individual houses, and every family member is in their own room! 


SL

Meeting my sponsor child and her mom was really special. She’s a really sweet girl whose mom obviously loves her very much. Margareta is no longer just a name to me but a person with a face, with a history and a story. Perhaps that’s the value of joining World Vision’s child sponsorships programme versus just paying a donation to a community. Because in having a sponsor child, at least for me, i feel not only compassion and a desire to help my kid, but the whole community. Because I know that if the community my child lives in is in dire straits, then my child too can’t move very far in life. We know that most times poverty is not so much an individual problem, but a societal problem caused by failed social structures, systems and flawed leaders. I guess that’s why God calls us to seek justice for all, and to usher in His Kingdom. We all have roles to play and perhaps for some of us it’s doing the work, but for some of us, it would be providing the resources for others to do the bulk of the work.


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Sue Lee and her sponsored child, Margareta

Being in Indonesia and talking to some of them villagers also helped me look at Indonesian workers in Malaysia in a different light. They are people with stories, with perhaps difficult backgrounds, and they have families whom they are trying to give a better living to. I guess it’s true that unless you step into a person’s shoes, you can never pretend to know what their life is like and the kinds of things they are dealing with.

I can learn to be more emphatic towards them.

SL

I hope more people will consider sponsoring a child through World Vision. We live a blessed life and we too easily take things for granted – no water for 10 minutes…”WHAT?!” The daily amenities we have each day, should be and is cause for great thanksgiving.

Cheers, Sue Lee

From a Sponsor’s Heart (Part I)

By Chew Sue Lee, Child Sponsor

The Singkawang Sponsor visit spanned over 5 days in December. We were in Pontianak/Singkawang visiting the many community projects handled by World Vision or Wahana Visi (as the Indonesians call the organisation).

A bulk of the projects curently focuses on providing clean water to the communities, by helping them to build water tanks. Amazingly the water is clean and fresh as it comes straight from the source up in the mountains. Before these tanks, many of the communities had to transport unclean water from a far away river, consuming much of their time. They had no toilets and no running water, and that in itself is a cause of many health problems such as diarrhea etc. There are many more communities without running water but the communities themselves are now seeking to help their neighbors obtain fresh water supply.

SL

World Vision also helps to set up kindergartens (also know as PAUDs = Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini) at these little villages. Providing pre-school education for the rural children is important because without it the children really struggle when they enter primary school. Of course World Vision also works hard to encourage children to finish at least their primary school education as many drop out due to the usual reasons of “it’s more profitable to work than study” or because children have to take care of their siblings, or it’s too difficult to get to school (some children walk over an hour to get to school, no matter the weather).
The situation is even bleaker for those wanting to finish secondary school as they have to pay monthly school fees which many of them can’t afford. Other things World Vision helps with, is teaching them how to save and invest in the local credit union (even little children!), as well as simple but important things like providing mosquito nets to families.

SL


What’s cool with World Vision’s work there is that they work hand in hand with the community. So whatever good that comes out of the village is a credit to the people there as well since without them, nothing can be accomplished. They are the ones to build the water tank, to dig the trenches for the pipeline, to build the school etc. World Vision just provides the resources, the expertise and the support. So it’s cool to see World Vision working together with the people, empowering them to improve their standard of living for a better future. The World Vision field staff there are amazing people who are full of passion for the work and for the people they are serving. Theirs is not an easy job!


SL


The children Malaysians sponsor benefit from all these World Vision projects, obviously, and our RM65 or 80/month perhaps goes further when collected together to be used for the community, rather than just as a handout for the children. And what amazed me about these communities is that in talking to the adults, you don’t get the sense that they pity themselves. They have a lot of dignity and even though they are less fortunate, they are generous people, and full of love and care for each other.

Cheers, Sue Lee

p/s do look out for Part II of Sue Lee’s story in Singkawang!