Together we can! This has been my motto for the past number of years. I am always amazed at what we can accomplish when we work together toward a common goal. Mother Teresa once said, “None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”
When I think of doing something wonderful together, I think of The Salvation Army’s COAL (community orphans, vulnerable children and livestock banking) project in Mozambique. This project was developed as members of the community, target beneficiaries and Salvation Army personnel in Panda, Xai-Xai and Zobue came together to help orphans and vulnerable children thrive.
In partnership with the local community, the Army identified several ways to provide support: increasing access to education; distributing livestock (chickens, pigs and goats) to generate income; reducing food insecurity and malnutrition by promoting communal gardens and conservation agriculture; and developing community response teams (CRTs).
The total cost of this three-year project is US$192,000, with our territory contributing US$175,000. These funds primarily come from women Salvationists across Canada and Bermuda through the women’s ministries territorial project, however, some of the funds also come from our Gifts of Hope ethical giving program.
A year ago, I was in Mozambique for the celebration kick-off of the project in Chicumbani, a community just outside Xai-Xai, one of the three communities identified to the project. The excitement was electric as many gathered: families, Salvation Army leaders, project officers, government officials and community representatives.
The launch provided an opportunity to communicate the objectives and timelines of the project; to hear from potential beneficiaries about the issues facing orphans and vulnerable children in their community; and for the project staff to discuss things in more detail. And, of course, every event like this has to include singing, dancing and, most importantly, a time of Scripture reading, prayer and dedication.
It was moving to participate and hear the stories from children who were going to benefit because people came together and worked toward a common goal. We also heard from grandparents who were raising their grandchildren because they had been left orphaned, and they expressed gratitude to The Salvation Army for supporting them in this way.
The number of people and hours of dedication that go into a project such as this are astounding, and what’s great is that we here in Canada are part of it. From the donor to the beneficiary—in this case, a child—you are making a difference and helping to break the cycle of poverty. Your donation through the women’s ministries department, or your purchase of one of the 17 gift items through Gifts of Hope, makes a difference.
It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Goats, pigs and chickens provide a source of income and food for families who have taken in orphan and vulnerable children. Tuition fees, school uniforms and textbooks mean a child can attend school, breaking down social barriers and enabling future success. Kids’ clubs and after-school programs give children psycho-social support and expose them to the gospel message through games and activities.
How I wish I could take every one of you with me to see the wonderful work that The Salvation Army does in more than 131 countries. Stories of transformation, hope and dignity are the result of partnership. It’s exciting to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Let’s continue to work together, mobilize and “do something wonderful.”
Lt-Colonel Brenda Murray is the director of international development.