What does development cooperation mean to you? FCA beneficiaries, employees and partners from around the world give their answers. Zizina, Annie, Octama, Jackson and many others tell their stories on what the work of Finn Church Aid means in their everyday lives right now.
“FCA is a well-known and trusted partner in Nepal, one which the Nepalese government respects as well. Over the last seven years, 50,000 marginalised people in the poor rural regions have received direct assistance from FCA. Also, 45,000 school children have benefited from the learning spaces and support provided by FCA after the earthquakes. If assistance ends, 50,000 people lose their livelihood, and the wall between them and the rest of society will grow even higher. Tens of thousands will also lose their chance for education.”
– Lila Bashyal, FCA Regional Representative, Nepal
“Right now, millions of children and young people cannot go to school. That is the only way to change their lives. We at FCA can bring smiles to their faces; because we make sure they can go to a safe school. Families get their daily food from their own land, thanks to seeds and tools provided with the help of FCA. Finn Church Aid has funded peace work which has brought peace to several villages. This work is being done by young people and women who want to make their communities better places to live.
We can do all this. I am committed to working in vulnerable communities to build a better world. I trust you will join me in making all of this possible.”
– Vivian Angella, FCA Project Coordinator, South Sudan
In South Sudan, Finn Church Aid focuses its efforts in the areas most affected by the civil war, such as Jonglei, Upper Nile and Lakes Counties. FCA’s primary goal is to provide food assistance to the most vulnerable groups of society: the elderly, terminally ill, disabled, malnourished children and nursing mothers. The programmes also include training on cultivation methods, distributing tools to farmers and securing education to those who have been forced to leave their homes.
“I thank Finn Church Aid for having thought about the women of Masisi. Before, women were marginalised and underrated in the community, but now, little by little, they have found their dignity and their place in society. Thanks to the actions of FCA, women now participate in earning an income for their families.
Before I got in the tailor training supported by FCA, I was in an armed group called APCLS. Now, I have a shop, where I employ five young people. I also have a hair dressing salon, and last year I received a loan from the Women’s Bank in order to develop it. With these businesses, I can feed my family, pay for my children’s education and offer fork for a few young people.”
– Zizina Bakungu, 30 years old, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Zizina Bakungu spent her youth as a soldier in the restless and unstable North Kivu province. She has attended a 15 month long tailor training supported by FCA. Experts of the Women’s Bank have assessed and accepted her business plan.
“FCA’s development cooperation and humanitarian aid helps those who have dropped out of school. It gives them the chance to acquire skills that can make them independent in the future. FCA’s work also helps children who have lost their parents to get into school and develop their skills.
FCA’s work is important to me because it helps us young people reach our goals, as long as the organisation can continue its support to our training programme.”
– Repent Saki Bidal, 25 years old, South Sudan
Repend Saki Bidal is training to become a car mechanic at the Kotobi Skills Development Centre.
“Fixing buildings and especially building fences make for a safe school environment, and a school canteen helps to feed the children, who might not get anything to eat outside of school.
What makes assisting schools in this district particularly meaningful is the fact that the community is divided into Muslims and Christians. I have hope for the future, because this project supported by the FCA aims to bring two very different communities back into the same school. This means these young people will grow up together into the youth of Central Africa and erase the stigma caused by the crisis.”
– Rogoue Rufin Thierry, director of the Gbaya Doumbia School, Central African Republic
Finn Church Aid repairs and furnishes schools in the conflict affected Central African Republic. Work to bring the students and teachers of the Gbaya Doumbia School back to work is being conducted in the Muslim majority third district of the capital Bangui. This is the final obstacle for reopening the school, thanks to the work done over the past year. The school has been closed for two years due to violence and fear. In total, 20,000 children in the Central African Republic are studying in schools repaired by FCA. In addition to repairing schools, FCA focuses on making the schools safe and enjoyable places for both the students and the communities.
“Because FCA supports the poor in achieving the right to peace, livelihood and education. To me, this means that FCA wants to give us young people a good foundation in life. This can be achieved by developing our own knowledge and skills. Poverty will be reduced, people will become self-sufficient, illiteracy will reduce, and peace and unity between people will grow.
FCA has bettered my life by giving me more information on the different areas of the hotel industry. FCA has given us students good skills in our fields. We are in a better position because we will soon have a profession. We are ready to work in our fields.”
– Ruth Adam, 24 years old, South Sudan
Ruth Adam is a student of Catering and Hospitality at the Kotobi Skills Development Centre.
“We are happy that Finn Church Aid is giving all children the possibility to go to school. Without its support, many children around the refugee camp would be left without education. Saving a life is always rewarding. Refugees are victims of circumstances beyond their influence. Anyone can become a refugee at any time. Our support is vital, and I invite everyone to assist the refugees.”
– Armin Horso, Director of Field Operations for the UN refugee agency UNHCR at the Rwamwanja refugee camp in Uganda
“Finn Church Aid’s support has completely changed my life. I am now a completely different person and a better example to my children. Before my training at the Bentol Mothers’ club, I was a very poor and depressed single mother. Then, in 2012, I started studying here. I have participated in two courses organised by the Mothers’ club, both lasting six months, where I studied soap making and bakery. I had no previous experience of either of them, nor trade.
After the courses, I was able to start my own business with a loan of 100 dollars from the Mothers’ club.
Finally, in 2013, the father of my children proposed to me. He had started to respect me, because I had started studying, I was more active and I had started to earn my own livelihood.
I thank Finn Church Aid for all the good that has happened to me over the past few years. With the support I have received, my life has gotten better. I now have a much higher self-esteem, I feel stronger and happier. I urge all women to go to a Mothers’ club and learn new skills.”
– Annie Morris, 41 years old, Liberia
41-year-old Liberian Annie Morris has been able to put all of her 8 children to school thanks to her trade of soap and bakeries. Annie herself can’t read or write, but now, all of her children can. It is common in Liberia for a man to only accept to marry a woman with an education.
“I wanted to change my future by learning something practical. Making beautiful new clothes with my friends has been useful and has brought me joy”, says Rawan Abu Khashreef, who participated in a sowing class organised by Finn Church Aid.
– Rawan Abu Khashreef, 16 years old, Jordan
Abu Khashreef lives with her parents in an old caravan in a refugee camp in Jordan. She suffers from psychiatric problems caused by the war in Syria, but she has received treatment for her condition. Finn Church Aid trainers have been instructed to help her. She has participated in many programmes offered by FCA and often visits the FCA compound looking for new training opportunities. Young people living in refugee camps are not allowed to leave the camp and study elsewhere. It is a golden opportunity to receive education in camp.
“In the Finn Church Aid project we have learned new cultivation methods, and have been able to significantly improve our rice crops without having to invest money in supplementary fertilisers. The project has improved food security in the entire community. Now, we can trust that there will be enough food for our families. We are no longer as vulnerable to weather phenomena as before, because we can stockpile our surplus crops. We can also earn more, which means we can afford to pay for the education of our children. All this has improved the mental wellbeing of families and their quality of life in every way.”
– Octama Jean Phillipe, 39 years old, Haiti
Octama Jean Phillipe lives in Verrettes in the province of Arbonite. She is the president of a local women’s group which is supported by the FCA.
FCA’s work is important, because it develops the skills of teachers in South Sudan. It offers funding for a teacher training institute, allowing it to raise its standard. With FCA, the Teachers without Borders network has brought us a programme where experiences, skills and knowledge can be shared.
Developing education is a key to change in the Mundri region and in all of South Sudan. FCA is a good partner and great help to the community. FCA has brought our community to the world.
– Peter Mogga, 60 years old, South Sudan
Peter Mogga is an Education Coordinator at the Mundri Relief & Development Association Network.
“Before, we had nothing to do, but studying in the Finn Church Aid mobile caravan is awesome. I love this training. If I can gain these professional skills, I think it will be my career in the future.”
– Yasmeen Al Joraidy, 20 years old, Jordan
Al Joraidy lives with her parents in a caravan in a refugee camp in Jordan, where they were forced to move because of the war in their native Syria. Young people living in refugee camps are not allowed to leave the camp and study elsewhere. It is a golden opportunity to receive education in camp.
“Finn Church Aid is conducting extremely important work in Haiti at the moment. FCA has given many children the opportunity to go to school and reduced illiteracy in Haiti. The work to develop education means our future leaders will be better educated. A child who has received a good education can grow into a good future leader for Haiti.”
– Marc Charles Louis, 52 years old, Haiti
After the 2010 earthquake, Finn Church Aid focused on rebuilding schools. FCA delivered 340 temporary learning spaces to over 70 schools. Most of them are still being used. 11 permanent schools were completed by the end of 2014. A total of 20,000 children have received secure learning environments. Louis Marc Charles, who lives in the city of Gressier in Haiti, is a father of seven children. With the job he has at FCA, he has been able to take care of them.
“I used to walk 10 kilometres every day to my previous school. It was really tough. Now, the school is only 1 kilometre away. I wish to thank Finn Church Aid for building the new school. I want to become a midwife, and I believe the new school will help me to reach that goal. Thank you for helping me on the way to my dream.”
– Rachael Najiengo, 14 years old, Uganda
Najiengo Rachael goes to the Mahani primary school. She is one of the many Ugandan school children who have benefited from the support of Finn Church Aid. The long school journey caused Rachael’s two brothers to drop out of school until FCA built a school in their region.
“Before I started studying tailoring at the Bentol Mothers’ club, I was home with my eight children. I had a very low self-esteem, because I had no skills to help me earn a living. I had to lend money from my husband to support my family. My first step towards a better future was a microloan I received from the Mothers’ club in 2012. It allowed me to open a small shop outside our house. In 2013, I started studying tailoring in a six-month-long course at the Mothers’ club. Since then, I have been making school uniforms. At first, I only made them for my children, but then I started selling them as well. I work at home, but luckily I can go to the Mothers’ club and use a sewing machine there when necessary and when the machine is vacant.
The support I have received from Finn Church Aid has given me a lot of strength and hope for a better future. I feel much stronger and happier. I do my best to encourage other women to go to the Mothers’ club to learn new skills. The Mothers’ club is also a good place to meet other women; it’s a place where women get advice and support.”
– Sarah Jones, 43 years old
Liberian Sarah Jones can barely read or write. Her education, like that of many Liberians, ended prematurely during the long civil war. Today, Sarah keeps a little shop, in front of her house, where her children also work after school days. She sells school uniforms she makes herself and on Saturdays she goes to the market to sell products from her husband’s farm. Jones is saving money to start her own tailors shop.
“The work of Finn Church Aid saves lives. We operate in the most fragile states, where governments are very weak or they don’t exist. People in those states struggle every day to find a meaning for their lives. The development cooperation and humanitarian work of Finn Church Aid are necessary to bridge the gaps; to restore human rights and dignity. Our greatest reward is when we can feed the hungry, get children back to school or help a woman out of poverty. We are proud, when our beneficiaries can enjoy their lives to the fullest.”
– Wycliffe Nsheka, Finn Church Aid Country Manager, Uganda
In Uganda, Finn Church Aid works with poor communities, where people have lost both their hope and their means to survive, and there is no room for dreams. Finn Church Aid restores hope by working directly with communities. The goal is to support the communities so that they can develop and overcome daily challenges.
“Finn Church Aid has assisted in improving the quality of education in my hometown Léogâne. Teachers and other school staff members have been trained in children’s rights. The schools have become more effective in securing the attendance and learning of the students. We want to guarantee education for all children. The parents have also had the chance to participate in school governing through school committees. The safety of the school environment has also improved in many schools. As a teacher, I have been pleased to find new teaching methods with this project. Mentally, I am doing better now and I have more tools to do my job in the education sector. As a direct result of all this, we have increased the amount of courses and other activities offered to pupils.”
– Ginette Jean Louis, 47 years old, Haiti
Ginette Jean Louis is the principle of the Abeilles d’Aspam School, which was rebuilt by FCA, in Léogâne, Haiti.
“I was in school when the rebels attacked our village. My mother fled from home with my two sisters and came to my school. We were locked up in the school for five days before we could go to Uganda. The rebels killed my father and we now live with my mother. To my surprise, there was basic education available at the refugee camp. Earlier, the school was fully packed, because there were more than 2,000 students. We are grateful for Finn Church Aid for building us more learning spaces. It’s much easier to study now that there is more room.
– Jackson, 16 years old
More refugees arrive in Uganda every day from the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a consequence of the Mai Mai militia. “We wish to thank Finn Church Aid for extending the schools, but even more space is required. Over 150 classrooms are needed in the camp for the needs of the growing numbers of refugees”, says David Mugenyi from the office of the prime minister of Uganda.