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Many of you are aware of the current political situation that has shook Burundi over the past few weeks. The result of the decision by Pierre Nkurunziza, to run for a third term as President was met with intense international pressure urging him to withdraw from the June 26th presidential polls. The result of this decision, the ensuing chaos, and massive exodus from the country are being well-covered by media outlets so I won’t elaborate anymore.Many of the children and families of New Hope are survivors of the Gatumba massacre and have already experienced mass genocide in their short lifetime. The military presence, the gunfire, the blockades, and the surreal chaos in Burundi are serving as traumatic reminders of what many of the children have already been through.The political unrest and resulting violence has escalated to the point where New Hope’s place in Burundi is no longer a safe haven for the children and families who call it home. A contingency plan to evacuate New Hope and temporarily relocate outside of Burundi while the borders were still open has been put into place. In the last few days, we have been able to make arrangements to relocate all the children in our care to a neighbouring country which, as you can imagine, was no small feat.The uprooting and re-establishment of the children and families of New Hope has come at a significant cost, not to mention emotional price. With the assistance of Hope for the Nations we’ve organized several different ways in which people can assist in getting our New Hope families and children temporarily re-established until it is safe to return to Burundi. Many of you already support us prayerfully and financially, but we are urging you to stand with us once again. At the bottom of this message you will see how you can practically assist us in responding to the upheaval.Love and blessings,Ray, Mary Anne, and Boss DavidWith the assistance of Hope for the Nations we’ve organized several different ways in which people can assist in getting our New Hope families and children re-established...get involved here.
We first met Brenda on her mother’s poor ‘shamba’ (small plot of land for farming) in the village region of Western Kenya. She was charming, energetic, and bright but very underprivileged.
Over the next couple of years, HOPE assisted with her school fees and then invested in her bachelor’s degree at the University of Nairobi. She graduated with honors. But that’s not the end of Brenda’s story.
Meet Brenda today, not in rural Kenya, but at the United Nations in New York.
“I was honored to be accredited by The Economic, Social and Cultural Council to attend the 48th session on Commission of Population and Development,” says Brenda. “The theme was ‘Realizing the Future we want: Integrating population issues into sustainable development’.”
“Adolescents and young people account for 1.8 billion people in the world,” she said in reference the message she delivered during her speech. “Countries have realized we cannot have sustainable development without meaningfully involving the youth.”
“My role as a youth advocate was to advocate and lobby to ensure that delegates will understand the importance of meaningful youth participation and that the outcome document will have a strong paragraph on issues affecting the adolescents and youths including sexual reproductive health and rights. We, adolescents and young people, were there at CPD to remind the governments of the past, the present, and the future that human rights for all must be at the core of any development agenda.”
Listen to Brenda’s full speech here
Brenda is a prime example of ‘Children at Risk’ becoming ‘Children of Change’. We look forward to watching as more children who are mentored and nurtured through various HOPE programs and partner programs throughout the world take on new endeavors and challenges in order to reach their true potential.
Things are getting very tense in Burundi, Africa. The protests began April 26th and the political unrest and resulting violence continues to escalate over the hugely contested decision for Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third term as President. Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader from the Hutu majority, who has been in power since 2005, has come under intense international pressure to withdraw from the June 26th presidential polls.
CNN reports that the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said a week ago that "nearly 21,000 Burundians, mostly women and children, have fled to Rwanda saying that they have experienced intimidation and threats of violence linked to the upcoming elections."
A personal note from Ray & Mary Anne Bale:
New Hope Children’s Home - Burundi
Thank you for praying for the situation in Burundi. As we look over the city this morning it is covered with black smoke from burning tires and road blocks. Within the city there are many areas where we’re unable to travel due to blockades of burning tires and trees. Protesters are keeping control of who comes and goes. We have not been able to get into New Hope for a week because of this situation. Our administrator lives in the area and has been able to walk to the home and, for the past few nights, has been sleeping there. The children have enough food as we stocked up in anticipation of any problems. Many are afraid of the daily and nightly harassment of youth rioting near their compound and the daily shooting and grenade attacks in various parts of the city. Because so many have gone through traumatic experiences in the not-too-distant past, this is truly a brutal repetition of past events for all for them.
Some of the older children have left temporarily to be with friends or extended families in Rwanda or DRC and we have helped with travel expenses to get them safely to their destinations. Two of the mamas have also gone with some of the children. They travel on buses which they take them from the city here either into Uvira, DRC and then on to Rwanda or up to Rwanda North through Burundi.
The younger children are presently at the home with the mamas who care for them and we, along with Ruben and his wife, are in touch daily via phone. Ruben and Ray met yesterday having to find a passage through blocked streets and hundreds of police with riot gear. They have come up with a contingency plan for evacuating the remaining children if needs be. We bought insurance for the New Hope Centre bus and new tires so it could travel safely if necessary. We continue to pray this crisis will be over soon and all that is being done for the children is for their emotional and physical safety.
Ray & Mary Anne
Please pray for Burundi.
“Though we are safe we have not been able to sleep, our eyes are filled with tears, and our hearts are scattered into pieces seeing devastated communities, pain of losing loved ones, screams of hunger, fear of uncertain future, sick children, helpless peoples, lost hopes and broken dreams.”
“Our primary focus is to keep our hundreds of girls safe, healthy and to prevent hunger and help prevent diseases in the crowded tents. For that we are distributing safe drinking water, water treatment drops and food supplies. Providing sanitary pads, re-hydration solution, soaps and giving awareness about sanitation and hygiene because now in the overly crowded tents (96 people living under 1 tent) without sanitation, water and toilets diseases like diarrhea, cholera, flu etc are spotted and we are scared that diarrhea and other diseases may kill more people than earthquake did.”
- Karma Sherpa – The Small World
It has been more than a week since the worst earthquake to hit the Himalayas in nearly a century.
Some good news....HOPE for the Nations is a registered Canadian charity. Any donations made to support the Earthquake Relief Fund from April 25 – May 25 2015 will be matched by the Canadian Government.
After listening to our partners, and assembling a team that includes churches and our partners, HOPE for the Nations has come up with a strategic two-phase plan.
Phase 1: Relief
Relief phase will consist of critical first response, and providing for immediate needs such as clean water, food, tarps, blankets and hugs.
Phase 2: Restore
Restoration phase will continue to provide for immediate needs, one of the strategies that we feel is key will be to focus on getting the children back into school where they are in a safe environment and protected from trafficking.
More details of these steps will be available soon…
“The situation in Kathmandu is getting worse. 1,000s of people are attempting to leave the city because of unstable structures and the stench from unrecovered bodies in the rubble. Rain is falling which does not help the situation. Rations are in effect for basic commodities and prices are increasing. The team is using all their connections to acquire relief supplies. There are basic food hampers being given out from the Kathmandu Vineyard, which continues to provide shelter to a number of people. Due to limited supplies, they are being careful to not become a major distribution hub while at the same time attempting to be generous.”
Andy Wood – Vineyard Pastor
Patti Hoy, a long time HOPE volunteer and a part of the Himalaya Leadership Team, will be travelling to Nepal in the next couple of weeks to meet with and encourage our partners. Patti will be working with the teams that we have partnered with and will provide reports and updates along the way to help us better understand what is most needed and how we can best help.
Thanks to all who have contributed financially and provided prayer support for us and those directly affected. We are so grateful - even the smallest gift helps.
The need is still great. Please help us spread the word.
Unicef shared this staggering stat over the weekend:
“Nearly 1 million children require urgent humanitarian assistance after yesterday’s earthquake in Nepal. This crisis leaves children particularly vulnerable. Limited access to safe water and sanitation puts them at great risk from waterborne diseases, while some children may have become separated from their families.”
The quake has left over four thousand dead at this point, many more injured and even more without shelter. We know that the situation will only get worse as time goes by and once all the cameras leave, the news stops reporting, but the devastation remains.
At this point we know that many are being forced to sleep outdoors in the cold for fear of the aftershocks causing more damage to the buildings. Resources are scarce as food and water are becoming increasingly more difficult to get.
We at HOPE plan to assist in two phases; first to get the basics - help with food and water and then to assist in the rebuilding of this beautiful country.
If you would like to help - you can donate here