Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Excellent SCWA Forum

After months in the planning, it is good to report that the Stop Child Witch Accusations Coalition Forum in London earlier this month was a success, by God’s grace.

Delegates from ten different organisations joined members of the SCWA steering group for the event, which explored the delegates’ experiences of child witch accusations and what steps could be taken to address these accusations.

Those who attended said they understood the issue better as a result of the Forum, and felt better equipped to take positive action. They plan to:

‘Engage all programmes especially in Africa to isolate and respond to the issue.’

‘Look for creative ways to surface the issue in a non-threatening, non-judgemental way.’

‘Explore how my organisation can join the forum / networks and conversation in DRC.’

We’re looking forward to building relationships with everyone who joined us for the day and continuing the conversation. Let’s keep the momentum going, build from here and give thanks to God for a really good day!

Find out more here about how SCWA is taking action to address and prevent accusations of witchcraft against children.

 

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Hearts and minds

‘The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.’ (Proverbs 4:7)

Wisdom doesn’t just mean knowledge; it means understanding the world in a new way. It’s more than just a collection of ideas and information. It makes a difference to how we live. As we see God bringing his wisdom to communities, it challenges fear, prejudice and harmful cultural beliefs. Because of this, the ways in which those communities treat their children change, and the children’s lives are transformed. This is why we’ve made it a key element of our strategy to address attitudes and beliefs.

Last month, we saw a vivid example of this at a training workshop in Rwanda, facilitated by our Director, Susie, and organised by our local partner, APRECOM. The workshop focused on disability and the importance of including and empowering disabled people, within churches. The beginning of the two-day workshop felt like tough going, probably because most of the delegates had received no input on this issue before despite, in some cases, serving as church leaders for decades.

But during the course of the workshop, there was a dramatic transformation in the delegates’ attitudes. Midway through, one participant commented: ‘What have I been doing all this time? My ministry has been about having big crusades, when these are the ones who most need love and help.’

Another confessed: ‘I just want to repent of the way that I have neglected these children. From now on I will be their champion.’

The workshop ended with the delegates drawing up plans for practical action, setting dates that they will begin the activities and citing who will be involved. Several committed to going through their villages to identify homes where there are disabled children, and to build friendships with them and their parents.

We’re so grateful to God for touching hearts and minds so powerfully, and for the real difference he has made possible, through that. We pray for more of the same and, of course, we’re also open to receiving more wisdom from God, ourselves – we want our own hearts and minds to change too!

Find out more here about how we aim to change hearts and minds through our Transformation Resources.

 

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Visit report from Rwanda

Thank you so much for praying over Susie’s visit to Rwanda in September and October. By God’s grace it was a really fruitful trip and Susie is delighted to share just a few of the highlights with you here.

 

Visit to Moses

Four-year-old Moses lays in the arms of Marie, the young girl who is child-sitting along with her friend Abigail, whilst Moses’ mum is out at the market. ‘Moses can do nothing,’ she says. ‘He can only eat and cry, but he can’t walk or talk or even hold up his head…’

Read more.

 

Gatsibo training workshop

As soon as we finish visiting Moses in Bugesera, we jump back into the car to travel four hours to Gatsibo for a two-day training workshop in disability inclusion for 30 key church leaders in the Eastern Province. Peace Plan has funded the conference. Those attending are leaders in authority over several churches. If they catch the vision, they can envision others…

Read more.

 

Kajera HIV support group

Arriving in Kajera, the men lounging around the local shops scrutinise us without smiling. Kajera feels like a depressed place. Alcoholism amongst men is common according to Odeth. It’s the women who keep the community going.

Mama Keven meets and welcomes us. Dressed in a faded pink skirt and top with a multi-coloured chitenge around her waist, she looks strong and healthy…

Read more.

 

Visit to Itetero

We’re now back in Kigali and have come to visit Itetero, a project that BCT and APRECOM have been working with and helping to support over the past year. BCT channels its support to Itetero through APRECOM.

Based in a sector called Busanze, Itetero exists to support children with disabilities and their families and to mobilise others to do so. Headed up by Pastor Aloys, Itetero runs a school in the grounds of the church that he currently leads as well as a support group for the children’s parents. It also does home visits. APRECOM joins with Itetero in the home visits and helps to run the support group.

Read more.

 

Find out more about how BCT and APRECOM are helping to change the lives of children living with HIV or disabilities.

 

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Standing in the Gap

Last year, SCWA ran a prayer campaign for children accused of witchcraft, and the issues surrounding these accusations. We were delighted with how our friends and prayer partners responded to the campaign and, since the needs of children accused of witchcraft are as acute as ever, SCWA have decided to resume the prayer campaign this Autumn. So, ‘Standing in the Gap’ will run again from now until the end of January, with new prayer updates every two weeks.

The first prayer update for this season (and the eleventh of ‘Standing in the Gap’ as a whole) is now available here.

If you joined us for ‘Standing in the Gap’ last year, thank you! We would love to have you with us on the campaign again. If you weren’t able to be part of ‘Standing in the Gap’ then, do join us now. Let’s call out to God together to protect vulnerable children and change the deeply-ingrained beliefs which lead to their abuse.

Find out more about ‘Standing in the Gap’ and read the latest prayer update here.

 

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Visit report from DR Congo

Thank you so much for praying for Carolyn during her visit to LVLE, our partner in Goma, DR Congo. As Carolyn puts it: ‘God’s fingerprints were all over this trip, long before I actually arrived.’

Even securing a visa to DRC was a minor miracle in itself and, after arriving in Goma, there was plenty going on to encourage Carolyn hugely.

 

Child protection training

It became clear that the LVLE team had done an excellent job of conveying the concepts and justifications for child protection to local schools and churches during previous trainings. Carolyn facilitated a training session, aiming to help the participants to put what they had learnt into practice and to start to build upon it. There were some excellent practical outcomes, including creating and applying child protection policies, and exploring how to equip children to report abuse.

Read more.

 

The Heart of the Matter

The pilot of ‘The Heart of the Matter’ – a resource addressing child witch accusations – took place in Goma just over a year ago, so a training event now offered a wonderful opportunity to find out what had happened over that year. Carolyn went through a summary of each module of ‘The Heart of the Matter’ with the participants, who remembered it clearly and in detail.

The participants shared wonderful stories of how attitudes towards children in their communities are being transformed, and made detailed suggestions for the next steps in addressing child witch accusations. There was a real sense of momentum at the end of the meeting. What’s more, a very positive meeting with the Bishop of Goma a few days later has presented an opportunity for Jean-Paul to train the 55 Anglican church leaders in Goma, in ‘The Heart of the Matter.’

Read more.

 

Review and planning

Carolyn’s visit also included a review of LVLE’s work, resulting in specific recommendations to help the team develop their training programme for church and school leaders, and their support for street-living children.

Read more.

 

Find out more here about how LVLE is championing children’s rights in an environment where abuse is rife.

 

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Introducing the new SCWA film

We’re delighted to be a founding member of the Stop Child Witch Accusations coalition. Tens of thousands of children worldwide are falsely accused of witchcraft and, as a result, face untold abuse. So, we believe it’s vital to catalyse a Christian response. SCWA is determined to work with affected churches and communities to bring to an end the phenomenon of child witch accusations.

SCWA’s new film explains more about who we are, what we do and why it matters.

If you want to be part of a movement bringing this awful practice to an end, here’s more about how you can take action.

 

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Change of plan

‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.’ Woody Allen

Or to put it another way…

‘Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow… Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.’ (James 4:13-16)

There’s nothing wrong with making plans, in itself. Imagine how chaotic life would be if we never planned anything! The problem comes when we assume we know best and start boasting about how amazing our plans are. God may have other ideas, as I’ve found out recently.

I started work on Monday with big ideas of what I was going to achieve during the week, but those ideas were soon scuppered. I work from home, so my normal routines and habits have been disrupted by the presence of my two sons, who are off school for six weeks’ holiday and need feeding, watering, entertaining and transporting to various social engagements! Up until Tuesday evening, I was feeling highly frustrated. It was nigh on impossible to get into the right frame of mind to tackle a significant work task when I was liable to be interrupted at any moment by a small boy demanding a fish finger sandwich. But now I wonder whether God might be in this, somehow. Is it possible that he’s using this disruption to remind me of my more important responsibilities? I believe my work matters, of course. But I also believe God cares more about how I’m doing as a father than how I’m doing as a writer. So I’ve been taking this opportunity to spend time with my kids. I can always work in the evenings, when they’re in bed!

Our friends in Zambia know how it feels to have God disrupt your plans, too. The team at Wukwashi never meant to get involved in Kabompo, a 14-hour drive from their base in Kitwe: their new support group there was the result of a mix-up. Last year, the team had been well on their way to their farthest-flung support group, in Chitokoloki, a good couple of hours further west from Kabompo, when they received a call cancelling the visit. But God showed he had a bigger plan for that trip… and for the children of Kabompo. Aborting their visit to Chitokoloki, the team made their way to Kabompo mission station. There, someone told them about Mr Kayombo, a local man who’d been trying to help children with disabilities but who had neither resources nor support.

‘We’ve been praying for people like you for a long time!’ exclaimed Mr Kayombo when Wukwashi sought him out. Mr Kayombo now heads up a Wukwashi support group for 23 children and their families, with the help of eight volunteers. Wukwashi’s plans were good, but God’s were better.

When our plans don’t turn out quite as we hoped, it’s just possible that God has better ideas. Are we prepared to let God disrupt us and point us in a new and unexpected direction?

 

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We’re hiring!

The Bethany Children’s Trust is looking for a new Operations Manager. If you want to use your skills and experience to develop and strengthen the operations of a small and dynamic charity working on behalf of marginalised children, you could be just the person we’re looking for.

The successful candidate will have significant, proven experience in:

  • management responsibility within a charity;
  • organisational and team development;
  • policy development and ensuring compliance with GDPR and charity regulations;
  • overseas project development and working cross-culturally;
  • working with marginalised children.

Head on over to our employment opportunities page to find out more.

 

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Branded and beaten

The BBC has produced a vivid (and rather disturbing) feature on Nigerian children being accused of witchcraft.

It’s not an easy read, but brings to life the grim realities of what awaits children facing these accusations.

This illustrates why BCT is so determined to address the underlying causes of witchcraft accusations against children, and to bring the phenomenon to an end. As a founder member of the Stop Child Witch Accusations coalition, we have produced a ground-breaking resource, ‘The Heart of the Matter’, to transform how churches understand and treat children.

Take a look at the BBC piece and, if it inspires you to find out more about witchcraft accusations against children, why not sign up for SCWA’s regular news and prayer email? (Click the link and scroll to the bottom of the page.)

 

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New Champions film

At BCT, we are so thankful for our Champions for Children, a movement of people who refuse to accept a world where children are marginalised and forced to suffer.

These Champions give of their time, energy and resources to raise awareness of the issues affecting vulnerable children and what BCT is doing to address those issues. They make it possible for us and our partners to reach and help more children.

Of course, we are always looking to expand our network of Champions. So we have just launched our new film, which showcases what Champions for Children do, and exactly how they make a difference. Take a look!

Could you be a BCT Champion for Children? If you believe that all children should be loved, safe, nurtured and free to fulfil their God-given potential, then you are exactly the kind of person we want to hear from.

If you want to explore becoming a Champion, please contact us, using the form below.

I love what BCT are doing! Please contact me about how I can serve as a Champion for Children.

Thanks!

Name:
Phone number:
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