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LATEST NEWS

Cyril & Evelyn Westbrook


2.pngACCI Mission's longest serving missionaries, Cyril and Evelyn Westbrook were honoured in Papua New Guinea earlier in November with the British Empire Medal for Service to the Church and Community in Papua New Guinea. This British Empire medal has now been renamed to be the "Order of Logohu" (which means Bird of Paradise) and even though the name has been changed, the medal still has the crown on the medal.

Cyril and Evelyn faithfully served in PNG for 42 years (1950 - 1992) and are still active in ministry in so many ways.

Congratulations to Cyril and Evelyn on this prestigious recognition. They truly are heroes of the faith. 

 

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FROM THE FIELD: Mother's Heart, Cambodia

Untitled_design_(59).pngToday's blog comes from ACCI Relief project, Mother's Heart located in Cambodia. Cambodia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the South-East Asia region, with 5 women dying every day during childbirth. More than a third of Cambodian women who die from pregnancy related causes die from unsafe abortions. Mother's Heart is the first and only crisis pregnancy counselling service available in Cambodia. 

Today we look at the story of Soklone, a mother of twins, one of the Mother's Heart clients. 

Sometimes at Mother’s Heart we get to see our clients long after they are off the books. Soklone called in recently, bearing a basket of fruit for the staff and baby powder as a donation for other clients. What a different woman she has become, confidently in control of her life, assured as a mother and caregiver of her own mum and younger brother.

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THE CAUSE: Who Pays The Hidden Cost of Consumption Pt 2

-LEARN_TO_DO_RIGHT__SEEK_JUSTICE_DEFEND_(30).pngACTION OVERSEAS

Rural Empowerment Program

In Cambodia, the availability of water and food security are often issues at the top of the list of community needs and pressures. For subsistence farmers, survival depends on natural resources and predictable growing conditions. ACCI Field Workers Rebecca and Bandith Nhep are working with rural communities in Cambodia. Through consultations and community-led development, many of the villages they work with have identified a need to address food security. The chosen method has been to build resilient and sustainable livelihoods through permaculture.

Small permaculture farms enable subsistence rice farmers affected by changing weather patterns and reduced rainfall to ensure year round food security, generate income and reduce exposure to harmful pesticides and fertilisers. This also reduces their vulnerability to exploitative and unpredictable working environments as families become self-sustainable, rather than dependent on income from factories or seasonal labour. 

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THE CAUSE: Who Pays The Hidden Cost of Consumption?

-LEARN_TO_DO_RIGHT__SEEK_JUSTICE_DEFEND_(29).pngUNDERSTANDING THE LINK BETWEEN POVERTY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

We all need a healthy planet. Sustainable ecosystems give us clean air to breathe, the water we need and the food we depend on. Caring for our environmental systems needs to be addressed as a poverty and justice issue, as many of these naturally available building blocks for human life and well-being are being denied to those with small political voice and little economic power.

Sustainability is about generational justice - both between generations and within our present generation. It is about finding ways to live now that do not compromise the ability of future generations to live well. It is about fair distribution of resources, so that the present needs of many are not denied in order to meet the temporary ‘wants’ of a few. Development - in both rich and poor nations - must be environmentally sustainable or it will harm the most vulnerable. 

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THE CAUSE: Addressing Trafficking and Exploitation in SE Asia

-LEARN_TO_DO_RIGHT__SEEK_JUSTICE_DEFEND_(28).pngCambodia is a nation facing overwhelming problems of sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking. It serves as an origin, transit and destination country for victims of trafficking in persons, commonly for the purpose of commercial sex work. Women and girls are especially vulnerable to sexual exploitation and trafficking.

Founded in 2005, ACCI Partner Chab Dai works in Cambodia to address trafficking abuse and exploitation through NGO collaboration and informed practice. Chab Dai currently has 50 faith-based member organisations who all work towards addressing this issue, and who are supported by Chab Dai to build their capacity and work towards best practice. By investing into these organisations Chab Dai is assisting to raise the level of care provided to survivors and those at risk of being trafficked or exploited. 

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THE CAUSE: Zaabu 'Gold' Group for Women

-LEARN_TO_DO_RIGHT__SEEK_JUSTICE_DEFEND_(27).pngCOME Uganda is a ministry run by ACCI Associate Field Workers Frank & Michelle Heywood. In 2009, COME Uganda started the Gold group, a self-help group for women who are HIV-positive.

There are well accepted and globally documented links between gender inequality and HIV transmission. In Uganda, gender norms that endorse unequal power relationships between men and women significantly increase women’s risk of HIV transmission. Early marriages, gender based violence, and women’s low economic power, which can lead to women engaging in high-risk behaviour such as transactional sex for survival, are all such examples. 

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THE CAUSE: Holistic Development, Action Overseas


-LEARN_TO_DO_RIGHT__SEEK_JUSTICE_DEFEND_(26).pngMen are like gold and women are like white cloth’.

This well-known Cambodian proverb captures something of the gender disparity that continues to oppress millions of women in the country. Gold, no matter how tarnished it becomes, can be easily cleaned, polished and restored to its original value. White cloth however, once stained is ruined. For a single Cambodian woman the stains that render her worthless in her culture’s eyes refer to the shame of sexual impurity. When a single woman finds herself pregnant, regardless of the circumstances, she is often shunned, rejected by her family, and left alone with little means of support. Many single women facing a crisis pregnancy not only experience gender disparity in society’s rejection of them, but their pregnancy is often the result of gender based violence such as sexual assault and trafficking. 

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THE CAUSE: Holistic Development Part 2

blog0042.pngIt is well recognised that men and women do not benefit equally from development activities due to gender bias and inequality. Differing priorities and obstacles for women and men can greatly affect women’s involvement, reduce opportunity to benefit from programs and minimise potential leadership roles within their community.

Overwhelmingly, it is women rather than men who experience these gender-based forms of exclusion and discrimination. Without their voice, the way in which development priorities are determined becomes skewed, hampering efforts to achieve holistic change. 

Holistic change, by definition, needs to impact all of society at multiple levels - not just the dominant social group. Effective development and change requires an understanding of both women’s and men’s roles and responsibilities within the community and their relationships to each other (1). 

 

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Syrian Refugee Crisis: How to Help as a Church in Australia

a_guide_to_big_city_life___love..pngOctober  2015 - Information and guidance for ACC churches wishing to get ready to offer a welcome and assistance to Syrian refugees arriving in Australia.

Background

The escalating Syrian refugee crisis continues to make news headlines around the world and in recent weeks European countries have been gathering to discuss what they can do to assist.  Several countries have committed to increasing resettlement places for Syrian refugees.  On 6 September 2015 (then) Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that Australia would consider how it could further assist Syrian refugees, including through resettlement.  As a consequence, it is expected that 12,000 refugees from Syria will be resettled in Australia, starting in the near future.

Churches in our movement are aware of the recent ACCI Relief appeal for funds to provide emergency relief, counselling, migrant assistance and other services to displaced families in transit countries, in conjunction with Samaritan’s Purse.  Some are now asking what they can do to get ready to help refugees arriving in Australia.

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THE CAUSE: Holistic Development, An Impossible Goal if Half are Held Back

blog0039.png“One of the best ways to promote economic growth and to achieve stronger communities and societies is to empower women and girls.” Hon. Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. Improving Economic Outcomes for Women, 2014.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:28-29

Here's a curious question - Why would it be that feminine-names hurricanes kill about twice as many people as similar-strength hurricanes with a male name?

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