By Neelley Hicks
August 3, 2020 / Nashville, TN USA
She put stones and water in the pot, telling her children that dinner must continue to cook and how good it would taste – all the while hoping they would fall asleep for the night, not knowing there was nothing to eat. – Women Arise Collective report from Kenya
This is only one of the stories of marginalized women in Africa suffering some of the hardest effects of COVID-19, where mandatory quarantines have made life unbearable for those already stigmatized and living in deep poverty in places where there is no refrigeration or pantries containing stocked food.
An Urgent Plea
The Women Arise Collective is in desperate need of financial gifts to help those in the network serve even more as helpers in their communities – providing food not only for the mind and spirit – but also for the body. Already, some of them are using your gifts for this critical need.
How Your Gifts Are Helping Holistically
In Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda and Kenya, United Methodist programs do not receive aid from UMC agencies due to institutional conflict. Over the last decade, the result is diminished capacity of churches who daily witness the hunger and chronic needs of communities, unable to assist them. In July, microgrants from Harper Hill Global helped Ugandan church leaders distribute food safely to some of their communities’ most marginalized peoples. Those families are now also included in messages of health and hope.
In Kenya, faith leader Marion Ndeta was joyous over her efforts to feed five families through your donations. Cooking staples of oil, flour, salt were just some of the ingredients purchased and delivered safely to one lady unable to leave her home due to her struggle with Lupus. Marion said that she kept saying “Oh God, I am so rich! I have all of these brought for me! I am so rich.” Other marginalized women were given mobile money grants of $10 each so they could purchase similar items. This means of distribution keeps everyone safe from the spread of COVID-19. All of those receiving food, also are now part of our communication efforts with food for the mind and spirit as well.
You can read updates from many of the countries where the Women Arise Collective has made strides, even as plans for training and engagement have had to shift radically. In addition to DRC, Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya, Zimbabwe and Mozambique are also included in this months reports.
At the church where I serve in Nashville, Tennessee, we are also now collecting and distributing food to those in need, and to outreach workers who deliver it safely to those living on our streets. All of our services are virtual. Wherever you are, we hope that you are – and stay – safe and healthy.
Come into the Circle.
If you have more than you need this month, will you please respond by giving what you can so that women at the farthest margins of society and life itself can come to the table? Here, they will receive food for the body, mind and spirit. If you cannot give financially, please pray for those within the Collective that God will use them as vessels to triumph over trauma right where they live with all they do have access to.
If you would like to volunteer as a helper for upcoming virtual events, story and web editing, or something else God has put on your heart, please contact me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As our friend Imam Ossama Bahloul says, “May God help us understand through COVID that we cannot be well until all are well.”