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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.


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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Nepal Update: September 2015


NEPAL_Blog.pngIn the last four months since the Nepal earthquake ACCI Relief in collaboration with our on the field partners have been able to achieve the following:  

  • 1,915 households have been provided with emergency supplies such as food and blankets.
  • 11 child friendly spaces have been established to prevent family separation and trafficking.
  • Over 6,000 vehicles have been stopped by volunteers at key checkpoints to check for children potentially being trafficked.  36 children have been identified and removed and these cases of trafficking are now before the courts.
  • 2,500 people in rural areas have received emergency medical treatment.
  • Over 400 earthquake victims have been treated at Anandaban Hospital in Kathmandu.
  • Over 3,500 people have received temporary housing assistance. 
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Syrian Refugee Crisis Appeal

10975822305_5ba6288673_b.jpgWell over 4 million refugees have fled Syria since the start of the now four-year-old civil war. The war has killed over 200,000 people and millions have been left homeless and in desperate need of safety. Many families have no choice but to risk their lives to flee war and persecution. 
Hundreds of thousands of refugees are now streaming across Europe in hopes of building a new life. It is the largest refugee crisis of its kind in the region since the Second World War and has overwhelmed the capacity of countries along their path to respond. 
The conditions these refugee families face during the journey are very difficult. Along the route, many refugees have faced hostility and a lack of support with some forced to resort to journeying by foot and sleeping in public places. 
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THE CAUSE: Clean Water, A Foundation for Development

-LEARN_TO_DO_RIGHT__SEEK_JUSTICE_DEFEND_(22).pngPositioned in the Mekong Region, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is endowed with a huge supply of river and rain-water, yet only 65% of the rural population has access to improved drinking water. Even water from improved water sources are frequently unsafe to drink to due faecal contamination at the water source and during collection, storage and use in the home.

Lao PDR is considered a least developed country, ranked by the Human Development Index as 138 out of 187 countries. With a population of 6.2 million people, 66% of people live on less the $2 USD per day. The under-five mortality rate is 54 deaths per 1000 children, more than double the average for East Asia and the Pacific (World Bank, 2010). Faced with so many challenges and limited resources, the Government of Laos has trouble delivering basic services to its poor and highly-dispersed population (AusAID, 2010). 

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Sri Lanka Update

ATKINSON_PHOTO.JPGIn today's blog we hear from Alison and Narel Atkinson (pictured with their 3 children) who are Field Workers serving in Sri Lanka. Inspired by women's conferences Alison has attended in Australia, Alison has seen her dream realised to start a National Women's Conference in Sri Lanka to minister to women from all over the country. Here she shares with us the journey of Alokaya Women's Conference.


Over the years I have had the wonderful opportunity to attend many of Hillsong’s Colour Conferences in Sydney. My life has been changed and empowered through the incredible guest speakers as they share the Father’s Heart. It was during one of these conferences, I clearly felt a real burden for the women of Sri Lanka. 

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THE CAUSE: Supporting Education in Vulnerable Communities

-LEARN_TO_DO_RIGHT__SEEK_JUSTICE_DEFEND_(21).pngLed by Field Workers Russell and Jenny Barton, Operation Uganda works with vulnerable children, their families and schools in communities throughout northern Uganda and in Kampala, the nation’s capital. Many families in these areas are living in extreme poverty, working as subsistence farmers or in unskilled jobs. The high level of poverty across these areas has many detrimental impacts on child health and development. 

While most policies, laws and standards designed to protect children in Uganda are up-to-date, implementation and enforcement remain weak throughout the country. Government officers for child welfare have been assigned to most areas, however due to a lack of resources, knowledge and training, most officers are ill-equipped or unable to implement the law for the benefit of children. The result is that social services, especially health and education, continue to be functionally weak and social protection is fragmented, with large vulnerable population groups not covered.

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THE CAUSE: Strengthening Instead of Replicating Social Services

Untitled_design_(48).pngHelpKids work with local and regional governments in Sri Lanka in the area of Child Welfare and Protection.

ACCI Field workers Narel & Alison Atkinson have seen incredible impact through their community based care for children in Sri Lanka. Together with their team, they oversee and run the operation of The HelpKids Centre, based near a large slum in Colombo.

The HelpKids Centre has provided early childhood education since 2006 to children who are living on the streets with their parents or who are from the surrounding slums. Their mission is to focus on the whole child by providing a secure, nurturing, and educational environment for children - a place for children to grow into responsible, considerate and contributing members of society. This project aims to uphold the rights of vulnerable children in Sri Lanka by keeping children in families and providing them access to education. Rather than operating in isolation to government services who share this same vision, HelpKids works in partnership. 

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THE CAUSE: Advocacy and Action in Australia



"Those who have enacted unjust policies are as good as dead, those who are always instituting unfair regulations, to keep the poor from getting fair treatment, and to deprive the oppressed among my people of justice, so that they can steal what widows own and loot what belongs to orphans." Isaiah 10:1-2

Tax evasion is an example of the kind of injustice described in Isaiah - a kind that prevents the poor from receiving fair treatment, and effectively steals from those most vulnerable. Injustice begins when God's creation order gives way to false hierarchy of human worth, which is the basis of inequality. When inequality invades systems and structures, they become sites of partiality and injustice that favour the powerful over the powerless. Poverty results and the cycle is self-perpetuated. Tax evasion demonstrates the extensive impacts that occur when injustice becomes systemic and forms biased economic practices.  

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RAISE: Madagascar Update

Although a little late in coming, everyone in Madagascar wishes to send their Easter greetings to you, their faithful sponsors, for whom they are incredibly grateful. We all so appreciate your continued support and generosity.

Over the Easter break, it was a great time for teachers and students to rest after an exceptional first term of hard work and effort by all.

With the self-paced learning implemented in the CLCs, students are expected to continually assess their progress and the staff have seen marked improvement in many students who are striving academically and motivating themselves to learn. The teachers have staff, the team feel confident they will be able to address issues and approach social interaction proactively and positively.

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