Bloggers Take on a Tearfund Challenge in Cambodia #TFBloggers

Last year I had the privilege of visiting Uganda with Tearfund to report back on the work they are doing… I was totally sold – so great to see another team heading out, to Cambodia this time, to “see for themselves“… I’m looking forward to hearing what they get up to…

This March, three UK bloggers will travel to Cambodia with Tearfund to visit communities living in poverty who are being transformed through the local church.

In December 2013, Tearfund launched the Cambodia Bloggers Challenge, which invited bloggers in the UK to be a part of a storytelling trip to Cambodia. They would meet people who are being given a hand up from poverty thanks to the generosity of regular givers in the UK.

Illustrator and designer Rich Wells, writer Anita Mathias and advocacy manager Danny Webster were selected from the long list of applicants by a judging panel of Krish Kandiah (Evangelical Alliance), Reverend Sally Hitchiner (Anglican priest and broadcaster), Reverend Richard Littledale (Baptist minister, blogger and author) and Tearfund’s Head of Corporate Communications Katie Harrison.

“Cambodia is a place I am excited to visit with Tearfund and hear the stories of lives transformed by the generosity of many who sacrifice a little to save a lot,” says Danny Webster, one of the bloggers going on the trip. “I want to tell the stories of how poverty can be overcome, and the daily suffering banished. I want to shine a light on the dreadful status quo, and I want to show what you and I can do to make a difference.”

The bloggers will meet people living in poverty like 13-year-old Seng, who used to worry for his family and about how his mother, Rim, will be able to feed them with no income. With training and support from Tearfund, Seng and his family’s lives are beginning to change for the better. Rim joined a chicken raising group started by Tearfund, and is now learning new skills and earning enough money to be able to provide for her family again.

This social media led trip will challenge the bloggers to use their unique, creative skills to encourage people to donate towards the transforming work of local churches around the world, for people like Seng and his family.

The trip is part of Tearfund’s See For Yourself initiative, which allows supporters to follow a community in Asia, Africa or Latin America, and watch as their donations transform lives before their eyes through regular photo, video, email and prayer updates.

In the same way, people will be able to follow the journey of the bloggers in Cambodia by following their updates on social networks such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as Tearfund’s website – creating a very live experience. The bloggers will be using a variety of media to tell their stories, including micro-blogging, video, illustration and photography.

‘Bloggers can change the world, or at the least they can change the way people view the world.’ says Krish Kandiah, Executive Director of the Evangelical Alliance, Tearfund Vice President and member of the judging panel. ‘We hope these bloggers can use their skills to help many people see the country and people of Cambodia through God’s eyes.’

Blogging with @Tearfund for #TFBloggers

Last year I went to Uganda with #TFBloggers, as we sought to share stories of the work that Tearfund does, to encourage others to support it. For 2014, there’s an opportunity for 3 more bloggers to visit Cambodia and share the work that is done there:

tfbloggers

Entries will be open from December 9th to January 5th – see the Tearfund site for how to enter.

#TFBloggers in @churchtimes by @davewalker

http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2013/22-march/features/features/putting-uganda-in-the-picture

http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2013/22-march/features/features/putting-uganda-in-the-picture

An extract from the article:

That said, finding a use for my cartooning skills here has been incredibly difficult. It feels as if most cartoons, especially those involving any comparison between aspects of life in Uganda and the UK, would be inappropriate. Although, perhaps, a better cartoonist would manage it. There is plenty of humour being shared by the people, but I would need to stay longer than a week to begin to be a part of it.

There are many aspects of this trip which I want to remember: not least, some of the lessons learned. Chief of these is to be slow to complain about difficulties in my life, when I have so much; and to remember that a great deal can be made from just a little.

Read whole article (including my photo credit for Dave on a bike!)

Syria Crisis Appeal @Tearfund

As you’ll have seen from #tfbloggers etc, I’ve been an interested supporter of Tearfund for many years, and the visit to Ogongora & other villages just strengthened that as we saw how effectively the money was put to use. There’s much debate about whether we should “just give”, but I find the idea of knowing “how” money makes a difference makes me feel like even my small contributions make a difference (is that the ego talking?) …

Thanks for Giving

So, having talked to @katieharrisonTF (who came with us to Uganda) about her recent trip to Syria, receiving the transcript of an interview Katie undertook in Syria, and seeing a range of adverts on TV, despite being rather skint, again – it seemed important to make a stand for the Syria Crisis.Having given my few pennies (I’ll turn my heating down a bit/add an extra jumper … in order to heat a whole family) … I thought it was a really nice touch to see a ‘thank you’ video from David Bainbridge, International Director at Tearfund, indicating just how the money would help… feels personal although you know it’s the same for each giver.

Thanks from Tear Fund

I’ve been really impressed by Tearfund’s use of digital in general – and we get some of the stories via Holly & Katie on BigBible :-)

Extract from Press Release

The widespread fighting in Syria has affected over 4 million people, displacing many from their homes. Every day thousands of refugees are fleeing across the borders into neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and many more are living with family and friends or in public buildings in Syria.

David Bainbridge: “The bitterly cold weather and the sheer number of displaced people means that we have to act. Ultimately we want to help people to return to their homes but their immediate needs are food, somewhere to stay and ways to keep warm.”

Family in Syria

Photo Credit: Eleanor Bentall/ Tearfund

Extract from Katie’s Interview:

Katie: Could you tell us your story of how you came here from Syria and who came with you?

Aamil*: We were living in Deraa when something like 20,000 soldiers came into our neighbourhood.  They started shooting and killed about 300 people. They also burned our houses.

So we left our homes carrying nothing, no money, no food, no clothing, only the things that we are wearing, that’s all.

They were pursuing us with tanks so I took my whole family and left that neighbourhood. We left immediately and went to Zaatari in Jordan.

(Zaatari is the big official refugee camp.)

*Name has been changed.

The interview continues to say that the family could only survive one week in the camp, where it was very cold, and hard to care for an elderly father, and a disabled son, so the family has rented a room – expensive, unheated, and with food hard to access. The family has an appointment with the UN Refugee Agency, but not until June 2013 – before which they don’t have a card which will allow them to buy food.

You can donate to the appeal by calling 0845 355 8355 or at www.tearfund.org/syria

Daily Audio Reflections from #TFBloggers

Detailed-Overview-Shot

Listen Here (MP3) – 5 days, around 3-4 minutes a day. We were in the dining room – that’s what blogging on the move does for you – it’s a bit raw, we were quite tired, and doing this on the hoof, but listening back to it, I think it’s great what was captured each day.

See #TFBloggers page on Tearfund, and don’t forget to check out the project we saw parts of. CODEC has now bought the same machine to encourage more of these kind of ad hoc conversations – now to decide on some topics…

We Met: Grace #TFBloggers

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Grace highlighted that PEP had taught her that it’s important to stand up tall as an individual, and that you are the answer to all/most of the problems that you have.

Her child had some charcoal to sell, worth less than 50c, and she thought she couldn’t do anything with such a small amount of money, but was able to harvest and dry some cassava. She wanted to turn this into bread but needed some cooking oil (about 1500UGS), but only had 800 from what had already sold. She asked a shop owner for a loan for oil, bought sugar/bananas, and took what she baked to market. She was able to clear the debt and buy more things to make/sell.

Baking is time consuming, as need to be up early to bake, and then take it to market. She had reached 8000Sch, and decided to change business, also selling the millet she had to have a total of 16000Sch. She bought small fish to sell (which she does at 1000Sch a cup), and formed a savings group with others in the village. She never told her husband how much she had saved until she had 390,000UGS – enough to buy a cow – which has now produced 2 calves.

Last year she had a break in the business as she was pregnant, so decided to buy 2 pigs. She then sold one pig, and the other has produced piglets. She finished by saying (or the translator did) that she no longer needed to dress in rags, but could look smart all the time (and she does!).

This is the last in the “We Met” series, although I have plans for a handful more #tfbloggers posts.

We Met: Philip #TFBloggers

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 Before PEP, Philip has a wide, children and land, but was digging other peoples land to earn month rather than his own. PEP challenged him to think about this and he started to develop his own land.

Philip started by growing cassava and groundnuts – and as a result getting his children through school which is a very big change in lifestyle, especially as he is growing in his own “garden” not others. He has grown so many groundnuts he has now been able to buy sheep, of which he has many, and has also been able to purchase Oxen, so ploughing is no longer a problem.