Smashing cycles of poverty in Jaffna

IMG_4042Can we smash the cycle of poverty and prevent one generation trapped in poverty producing another poor generation? Returning from our visit to Jaffna recently we were overwhelmed by stories which emphasised the importance of education and the potential to radically change lives. In this article I present some anecdotal evidence that sponsoring really works. Ensuring that boys and girls receive a good education really changes the lives of young men and women.

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Return to Jaffna

2015/01/img_3865.jpgWell here we are in Jaffna. We have met so many people that our heads are spinning. We have had lots of rice and curry and are on our second bottle of industrial sized mineral water. Things have certainly changed. Out of a group of 10 people 6 may be on their iPhones at any one time. Photographs are taken by the score for posterity (?). [Read more…]

Visiting Jaffna

George on Bike Jaffna

Me, cycling around Jaffna

We were flying low over the forests and jungles of Sri Lanka to Jaffna. It was a six seater plane – and that included the pilot’s seat. I was in the copilot’s seat and I thought to myself, “I had better watch how he flies the plane, because if he has a heart attack I will have to land it myself”! In the back of the plane was my wife Christine, and Pastor Leslie and Shanthi Matthews. [Read more…]

Social Justice (Worldwide)

Above the Old Bailey courts in London. A sword in one hand to execute justice and scales in the other to ensure fairness.

Above the Old Bailey courts in London. A sword in one hand to execute justice and scales in the other to ensure fairness.

When it comes to human relationships, love, compassion and justice must go hand in hand. In talking about social justice I am not talking about justice as retribution or punishment but as justice in the way we treat our fellow-man. When people are wronged, they may cry out for justice to be done, and often won’t be satisfied unless the wrongdoer is punished for their crimes against them. Social Justice demands that we correct the unfairness of society but does not demand retribution or punishment.

  • 20,000 innocent children who die every day of preventable diseases cry out for justice.
  • 1 billion people living in extreme poverty cry out for a fairer world system.
  • Poor workers who satisfy western demand for things like coffee, chocolate, vegetables etc. cry out for a reasonable percentage of the final price.
  • Millions, working as virtual slaves in industry cry out for freedom from exploitation.
  • A million plus woman trapped in the sex industry cry out for respect and liberty.
  • An estimated 127 million children working in conditions which are harmful to their health and welfare cry out for a decent start in life.
  • Over 100 million children between 5 and 11, who receive no education at al,l cry out for at least a primary education so that they are not condemned to produce another desperately poor generation.
  • 400 million children between 12 and 17 who do not attend secondary school cry out for the opportunities that education would bring.

    [Read more…]

Changing the world one person at a time

Beach village in Sri Lanka devastated by the Tsunami

Beach village in Sri Lanka devastated by the Tsunami

I want to change the world! I have a vision of a world without extreme poverty; a world where everyone has the same opportunities that I have had. But I realise that I cannot do that on my own, and in any case, as an aim, changing the world is a bit vague. The world consists of people: we can only change the world, one person at a time.

So, this article is about one young lady whose life has been radically changed through a family in England who cared enough to sponsor her through Karuna Action, and a partner organisation in Sri Lanka. Buddika was brought up in a small hut built on the beach in Sri Lanka. Why build a house on the sand? Homes are built on the beach because poor people cannot afford to build anywhere else!

Without help, Buddika’s life would have been very different. [Read more…]

Reducing poverty by Education

Picture of siblings living in extreme poverty ...

Picture of siblings living in extreme poverty in El Salvador. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To eliminate extreme poverty there is no magic bullet. The causes of poverty are many, varied and interdependent. Education is a key to lifting people out of the cycle of extreme poverty and preventing one poor generation producing another poor generation.

Of course, education alone is not enough. Childhood diseases prevent children attending school and undernourishment of infants can cause brain damage which prevents them achieving their full potential. [Read more…]

A School in Kampala

A Classroom in Kampala

A Classroom in Kampala with temporary walls and ceilings

It was a hot, humid day. We were standing in the headmistress’ office in a primary school in Uganda. She was explaining how many of the poor families who sent their children to the school would not be able to afford to send their children to secondary school. I looked into the eyes of many of these children and saw that they were intelligent and willing to learn. The tragedy struck me then. These boys and girls could not progress further with their education which will mean that they would not get decent jobs and so one poor generation [Read more…]

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