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Village Life: empowering local communities to realise their own change

For more than 20 years, the team at AOG World Relief has been empowering people and transforming communities in central Vietnam. Through providing training and support for children, families and whole communities, their goal is to break down the barriers that prevent people from participating in, and ultimately determining, their own development.   

Today, the team – led by ACCI field workers Paul and Deb Hilton, and Kelvin and Rebekah Windsor –partners with more than 150 of these rural villages, journeying with them as they work towards a set of goals they have each identified as being vital to their own development.

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A future and a hope

In the north Asian country where Ross, Donna, David, Robyn, Matt and Sarah work, it’s not always possible to preach the Gospel overtly.

In order to share God’s life-saving message with their community, the team takes a practical approach to outreach by serving local people, especially children, through a community centre; engaging young people through concerts; and encouraging women and girls to see their value and worth through Flourish programs. The team also conducts leadership training for the house church movement in their country, with a particular focus on training young emerging leaders for effective ministry.

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A special Mother's Day in Thailand

Mother’s Day celebrations took on a special meaning for one little boy in Thailand this year. 

Five-year-old Zaw Win* had lived at Compasio’s Children’s Homes since he was 2 weeks old. As part of Compasio’s commitment to supporting the best interests of children without parental care, a loving foster family was found for Zaw Win*.

After the carers completed the training and assessment process, Zaw Win was placed into their long-term care in May and for the first time since he was 2 weeks old he had a mum and a dad.

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More than just an Easter message: The hope of the resurrection

Have you ever noticed that two of the most important moments in the Bible – in fact, two of the most fundamental tenets of our Christianity – occur in just one chapter?

In Matthew 28, we are not only told that Jesus has risen and conquered death but we are also given the Great Commission. In just a few paragraphs, we find our hope and our future, as well as our calling and mandate as Christians.Easter, therefore, offers not only a time to reflect on what Christ sacrificed for us in order to bring about our hope and salvation; it offers a reminder of who we are in him and what we are called to do. For it was a resurrected Jesus who gave the Great Commission; a Saviour who – in dying and being raised to life again – offers us hope and a mission worth giving our own lives for.

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Business as missions: equipping people with the skills needed for life and leadership

Laos_Pic_from_Canva.pngFor tribal people living in remote villages in the southeast Asian nation where Paul and Kim work, limited freedom of movement and lack of opportunities can result in people falling prey to traffickers and those in the drug trade. Paul and Kim’s city-based school – which provides vocational training courses, as well as English classes – meets a real need by giving people career training and an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty in their lives. 

Vocational training courses – which prepare students for employment in either the housekeeping or bakery industries – also comprise a strong focus on Christian studies and daily devotions. The aim is to bring the Gospel into the daily lives of students, while equipping and empowering them to become leaders in their local churches once they return home; as Paul explains:

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A hope and a future for mothers and their babies

MH_Photo_-_blog_08DEC17.pngBy Katrina Gliddon, ACCI Field Worker and founder of Mother’s Heart

When Mother's Heart started in 2010 it was the first crisis pregnancy service in the whole of Cambodia. In 2017, it remains the only service of its kind.

Before starting Mother’s Heart, we spent a year researching the situation in Cambodia and found:

-          21% of maternal deaths were from abortion-related injuries;

-          there were no social services for girls and women who faced an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, and no reproductive education;

-          gender disparity in Cambodian society meant the blame and responsibility for pregnancy was often placed solely on women, even if it was the result of rape, incest or trafficking; and

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Responding with Love to the Middle East Crisis

28DEC17_Blog_Family_Photo.jpgImagine this:

After years of struggling in refugee settlements or fleeing from one conflict zone to another, you finally get to go home. But instead of the beautiful house you left behind, you find an empty shell; one with no windows or doors, no furniture and no way of keeping warm. You likely have no access to electricity or water and your ability to earn an income has vanished. Welcome to life in Aleppo, Syria.

Next door, in Mosul, Iraq, you've either stayed in your home or found refuge in a temporary settlement while fighting raged around you.  Conflict has now moved on but with ISIS having cut off all outside air during its occupation, you and your children are on the brink of starvation.  You have no idea where the next meal is coming from and can't remember the last time you tasted fresh water.

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Everything can change in just 1Day. Will you join us?


Sometimes it's difficult to know where to start.

You turn on the news, open up Facebook or perhaps just walk down the street in the capital city where you live. And you feel overwhelmed.

With so much suffering and so much need in our world, it’s easy to find yourself thinking – what could I possibly do that would actually make a difference?

But imagine if everyone who felt like this did something? If people – just like you and I – looked at what was in our own hands to give and gave it freely; even if it was just for one day.

Then together, we really could change the world.

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A Journey of Change for Trabeang Treay

Cambodia_8.jpgBy Rebecca Nhep

In October 2013, ACCIR’s Rebecca and Bandith Nhep begun consultations with the community of Trabeang Treay, in southwest Cambodia. Food security and water scarcity were highlighted as major concerns, among others. Here Rebecca shares just a few elements of Trabeang Treay’s remarkable journey of change and the way life has improved for people involved in the Village Life project.

Trabeang Treay is located in Takeo Province; a drought stricken area of Cambodia which lacks proper irrigation systems and, over the last decade, has experienced increasingly irregular rainfall patterns. The lack of access to water and irregular rainfall has a serious effect on rice crops and the livelihood and wellbeing of communities in the area, affecting their food security, nutrition, family income and livelihood.

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What Australia’s proposed orphanage tourism ban means for Australian charities and churches

In February 2017, Attorney General Senator George Brandis QC requested that the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade launch an inquiry into modern slavery in Australia. It is now likely that a Modern Slavery Act – which will seek to eliminate slavery within Australian supply chains – will be introduced. This Act will include measures aimed at preventing orphanage trafficking, which will affect all Australian charities and churches currently funding overseas orphanages and/or facilitating volunteering in orphanages.

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Shine Your Light


Life is vastly different for women leaders and pastors in Sri Lanka, compared to Australia.  With few avenues to see mentorship and guidance, and little recognition of the role they play in church life, they are often forgotten and overlooked.  It's a significant gap that the Alokaya Women's Conference - led by Alison Atkison, and made possible by 1Day funding - seeks to fill.

While spending time in the presence of God at Hillsong’s Colour women’s conference in Australia, ACCI field worker Alison Atkinson was hit by a thought: what if the women of Sri Lanka could have the same opportunity to be ministered to as she did?

“It was during one of these conferences, I clearly felt a real burden for the women of Sri Lanka and that I needed to host our own conference in Sri Lanka, bring in anointed guest speakers and allow God to speak to our women and empower them,” Alison says.

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1Day to Change the World


It’s a simple idea with a powerful and lasting impact: give one day’s salary to help improve the lives of the world’s poorest people.

This year, a record number of individuals and churches will take part in the growing 1Day movement, choosing to sacrificially give of their own resource so that people in need may begin to see increase in theirs.

As Enjoy Church Senior Pastor Shane Baxter explains, it’s also an opportunity for the Church to follow Christ’s lead by giving in such a way that it truly costs us something.

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How to Change a Nation

Harts_Graduation_Photo.jpgGreg and Kim Hart see strong life-giving churches as the key to transforming the nation of Mozambique. In fact, Greg says “a strong nation starts with a strong church”. But for churches in Mozambique to be all that they are called to be, it’s essential for pastors and leaders to have a solid foundation in leadership, discipleship and the Word. And that’s been something Greg and Kim have passionately pursued over the past 10 years, as they’ve led countless local church pastors and leaders, church planters and denominational leaders through ministry training.

Greg says before taking part in their training – which is delivered via audio format due to high illiteracy in Mozambique – many pastors would have simply preached from their own experiences.

“A church would be lucky to get a 15-minute sermon and the sermon is just about the pastor’s life rather than Biblical principles. We teach them how to find a sermon, preach a sermon and disciple people.”

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Life - live it however you can!

Written and Photos taken by Mark Pedder, ACCI Field Worker


I am always amazed by the sea of houses that you can see from my roof. Just homes jammed next to each other, on top of each other, everything connected, very few houses that actually stand alone, every little lane way or alley goes “somewhere”, with very few dead ends.

As the world’s population increases, most of the growth around many of the world’s major cities (at least in the developing world) comes in the form of an every swelling poor populace, living often in conditions like you see above. As bad as these living conditions are, at least they have homes.

I am spending a few days collecting new photos and video footage from various parts of Manila, trying to tell a few stories from this seething mega city, get a few snapshots of life away from the tourist areas from the viewpoint of the poor.

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Update: Haiti Appeal


ACCI Relief is constantly working to keep children in families. In post-disaster contexts, like the one following Hurricane Matthew that hit Haiti last year, children are often at risk of ending up in institutions (orphanages and other residential care facilities).

This can happen when families feel forced to give up their children when faced with the harsh realities of not being able to provide a home or adequate care for their children. This is of particular concern in Haiti, as the 2010 Earthquake saw numerous children unnecessarily placed in institutions following the disaster. These were children that had families – families that did not have access to the support needed to keep their children with them as they rebuilt their lives.

Two families that were struggling to care for their children in the aftermath of the Hurricane last year have found a way to remain together thanks to the work of our implementing partner Lumos and the generosity of ACCI supporters.

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From a Beggar to a Manager

Sepheo_blog_photo.jpgJoshua and Belinda Groves founders of Sepheo and project partners of ACCI Relief are passionate about seeing every child off the streets and living out their purpose in Lesotho. They do not treat the surface issues of poverty alone, but identify what has driven children to the streets and focus' there effort there. Joshua writes about one such young man who was found as a beggar but is now a manager.

"A few weeks ago, I was walking down the main street of Maseru on my way to a meeting. From afar, someone called my name and chased me down. It was one of our recent graduates from Sepheo School. He wanted to say hello. He asked if he could buy me a coffee. I said that I would have to take him up on his offer another day, as I was already late. Without a second passing, he pulled a wad of cash from his pocket and passed me a 50 Rand note ($US3.5/$A5) and said I could buy myself one later. This amount was enough to buy 3 or 4 coffees. Of course, I declined his offer of cash and promised we would get together for coffee soon.

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KINNECTED: What is Kinnected Doing? Part 5




Sepheo was established in 2013 to help children and youth living and begging on the streets of Maseru, Lesotho’s capital. Through building relationships with the children and researching their family situations Sepheo gained an understanding of the causes of child and youth homelessness, which included a lack of supervision at home, poor coping skills, family issues or difficulty coping in mainstream schools. They also found that when a child decides to run away and live on the street rarely do relatives persuade them to return. As a result living on the streets quickly becomes a permanent arrangement, due to a lack of appropriate intervention. The longer children are on the streets the harder it is to convince them to leave as they become more comfortable and pick up negative behaviours. Programs providing services to these children (in particular on-street feeding and clothing) often increase the number of children as it incentivises life on the streets over remaining with or returning to their families. Sepheo realised that the best way to improve these children’s long term outcomes was to help them reintegrate back into family life; either with their parents or extended relatives, and receive support to enable them to thrive in that family environment.

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KINNECTED: What is Kinnected Doing? Part 4




Whilst Sri Lanka has made significant economic gains since the end of the civil war, the country and its people still face significant challenges including poverty, poor quality education and inequality. Children from disadvantaged families often struggle with mainstream educational system because of their ‘class’ difference, no birth certificate, behavioural problems or lack of parental interest. These children are at particular risk of being separated from their families and placed into residential care.

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KINNECTED: What is Kinnected Doing? Part 3




There are tens of thousands of children in Cambodia living in orphanages however 77% of these children are not orphans but are placed into institutions for reasons of poverty. With little resource being directed to preserve vulnerable families, desperate parents often have no choice but to put their children in an orphanage in order to ensure that they receive adequate food, clothing and an education. This is in stark contrast to the Cambodian Government’s policy, which states that children should grow up in families where possible and residential care should be a last resort and a temporary option for children in recognition of the detrimental impacts residential care can have on children’s development.

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KINNECTED: What is Kinnected Doing? Part 2




Mother’s Heart was established in response to the absence of crisis pregnancy services in Cambodia, which resulted in women who faced a crisis pregnancy and who are without support networks with limited options other than unsafe abortion or abandoning their newborn babies.

Women in Cambodia face crisis pregnancies for many different reasons including abandonment, rape, incest and trafficking. Whatever the circumstances, unplanned pregnancies are often a source of shame not only for women but also for their families. 

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KINNECTED: What is Kinnected Doing? Part 1

What_is_KINNECTED-_(2).pngACCI Relief’s Kinnected program employs a three-pronged approach towards the goal of reducing the use of residential care and upholding children’s right to grow up in a family.



Kinnected has projects operating in 10 different countries, which fall under the following categories:


These are services that seek to identify families at risk of imminent breakdown and provide intense support services to prevent separation and/or child abandonment.


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KINNECTED: What are the Answers? Part 5




1. Volunteer in a program that seeks to preserve families and prevent family separation. Volunteers could work with whole families or parents to strengthen their capacity to look after their own children.

2. Volunteer within family reunification programs. Help a family prepare for their child’s return by helping them renovate their house, get access to a water source or set up a small business or a veggie patch.

3. Volunteer in programs run in the community that everyone can access. Examples might be English programs, sports programs, creative workshops or educational support programs.

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KINNECTED: What are the Answers? Part 4




The plight of vulnerable children in the developing world is challenging and moving and stirs many good-hearted people to seek opportunities to volunteer within programs that assist children such as orphanages and shelters. Without careful consideration and awareness of the broader issues, our good intentions could contribute to the exploitation and vulnerability of the children we seek to help. For this reason Kinnected calls for an end to orphanage tourism and volunteering and advocates for ethical alternatives.

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KINNECTED: What are the Answers? Part 3




When all other forms of family and community based care options on the continuum have been deemed not in the best interest of the individual child, then residential care might be the most appropriate option. Preference should be given to small family like facilities that adhere to high standards of care, are legally registered, have qualified staff, good child protection policies, and facilitate the child to continue to participate in community and cultural life outside of the residential care centre.


All forms of residential care should have a reintegration program that helps each child develop a plan to ensure they are able to be reintegrated into the community as soon as possible. This plan should be developed as soon as a child enters care and should be overseen and monitored by a competent staff member.

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KINNECTED: What are the Answers? Part 2




Best practice in the care for vulnerable children should always be guided by the principles of the best interests of the child. Services should be designed and offered based on the needs and interests of children, not based on the mandate or vision of an organisation. Services should be designed and delivered with recognition of the broader rights of the child and not unnecessarily cause a rights regression.

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KINNECTED: What are the Answers? Part 1


In order to reduce the current over reliance on residential care in developing contexts and better protect children’s right to grow up in a family, we need to scale back institutional services, and increase the availability of non-institutional child welfare services. Implementing this transition is a complex process called ‘deinstitutionalisation’.



Children (and their families) should be full partners in the transition process. They should be actively involved and consulted in the development, delivery and evaluation of the services they receive and provided with appropriate information in a manner which they can understand.


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KINNECTED: What are the Issues? Part 2


60 years of global research has shed light on the detrimental effects that residential care can have on children’s development and overall wellbeing.

The most common adverse effects that children who grow up in residential care experience include:

• Developmental delays

• Behavioural problems

• Attachment disorders

• Lack of life skills

• Institutionalisation

• Difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships

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KINNECTED: What are the Issues? Part 1



Most people believe that children in orphanages are orphans; children, who due to parental death, displacement or abandonment, have no where to live and no one to care for them. Statistics show that this is rarely the case. The reality is that most children in orphanages have living parents. The majority of true orphans don’t live in orphanages but are cared for by their relatives in the community.

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KINNECTED: What is Kinnected?


Develop family-based alternative care such as kinship care and foster options for children who require out-of-parental care

Provide high quality short-term care as a last resort and temporary option in cases where family based care is not in the best interests of certain children

Assist long-term residential care programs to undergo deinstitutionalisation, which is the process of closing down long-term residential care programs and developing alternate community-based services for families and children

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A Community Coming Together...

Untitled_design_(17).jpgProject Madagascar continues to provide quality education to over 200 children from some of the poorest suburbs in Madagascar’s capital city, Antananarivo – because every child should have the opportunity to learn, grow and develop skills to enable them to reach their full potential. This project, which is an ACCI RAISE initiative not only provides education and life-skills for young students, but impacts their families and the surrounding communities.

They've seen this as the Parents’ Association continues grow with more parents taking ownership over the work of Project Madagascar’s Centres (CLCs) and their children’s education. The Parent’s Association has been especially active in the last few months in assisting with internal classroom maintenance and organising a fundraising event for continued improvement to the CLCs. 

At CLC Itaosy, a concert was organised to raise funds to fix the main entrance road which is quite inaccessible during the monsoon season.  4,000,000 ariary was collected (equivalent to $1600AUD) for the task and local tradesmen were hired to start the work.

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