To all our wonderful supporters and friends,
Greetings and Happy New Year! So hard to believe that we are now nearing the middle of January!
We wanted to let you know how we are doing and to share with you some of our exciting plans for Tehila in 2017. (BEWARE: it’s a longer blog than usual!!)
Sam and I are currently based in the UK. My foot is recovering well and since January, I have been able to walk without my air-cast boot for longer periods of time. My physiotherapy is due to start next week and I am daily exercising and feeling stronger. The bone is now over 50% healed and the surgeon is pleased with my progress. If this improvement continues, we are hoping to return home at the end of February.
I would like to thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. We believe 2017 is going to be a year of full restoration and healing for my foot!
We also have exciting plans this year for Tehila Trust and Tehila Zambia. However, before I divulge any more, I want to give you a brief update on our supporter event held in Bracknell just before Christmas. Thank you to all who attended – it really encouraged us and it was great to connect. On the back of this event, an incredible breakthrough took place this week. A couple who support us and came to the event have donated £5000 to enable us to register Tehila Trust as a UK charity. This same couple and another couple who attended the event have also increased their monthly giving. A huge answer to prayer! Thank you so, so much.
So here goes. What do we have planned for 2017?
We will continue to partner and walk alongside local churches and community organisations in the most materially poor residential areas of Lusaka. Children are highly vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and neglect in these unplanned and over-crowded settlements, with poor sanitation and limited access to health care, education and law enforcement services. Sadly, the places which should be safe for children are often the very places where abuse can happen – in families, schools, health clinics and churches. Tragically, sexual abuse and other forms of violence are commonly ignored, undetected or dealt with by families through informal financial settlements. Perpetrators are rarely brought to justice, families and victims are unlikely to receive the counselling and pastoral care they require and communities continue to live in fear.
Our SAFE PLACES programme primarily targets churches and offers a beacon of hope in these communities as they begin to tackle the issue of child safety. We want churches to be safe places for children. We want them transformed into environments where child abuse can be reported and survivors and their families can be cared for and restored. This is our vision.
So how will we achieve this? What do we want to do this year?
1. We want to develop 10 new church partnerships within Lusaka.
2. NEW! We want to launch a MENTORING PROGRAMME for our partners. We currently have a large number of people within churches, equipped with knowledge on how to prevent and respond to child abuse. They also know how to make their churches safer for children. Yet our challenge has been how to effectively monitor how well the churches are implementing their action plans and creating real change for children.
So this year, our focus is on quality not quantity. We will invest in the churches we trained in 2016. Walking alongside them over a six month period, our Tehila mentors will support churches to take the necessary action to meet the child protection standards and become ‘child safe’ churches.
3. NEW! Once churches have become ‘child-safe’ they will be invited to join the SAFE PLACES for CHILDREN NETWORK in Lusaka. This is a new initiative and will be launched in August this year. Our vision is for churches to work together because collectively they can achieve more than when alone. To do this we are partnering with VIVA.
VIVA is an international UK based children’s charity working across 4 different continents and into 19 countries, and are passionate about releasing children from poverty and abuse. They grow locally-led networks, which are committed to working together so that children are safe and able to fulfil their God-given potential. You can check out more at www.viva.org.
We have been developing our relationship with VIVA over the last few years and God’s timing has knitted us together perfectly whilst we have been in the UK. Viva will provide vital expertise to Tehila in building and growing our network and Brian Wilkinson, VIVA Head of Network Development will be coming to Lusaka in March! A very exciting step as we endeavour to make our work sustainable and have the biggest impact!
4. All children within our partner churches will learn self-protective behaviours through our TOUCHTALK programme. Involving children is integral to all our programmes.
5. We will continue building and strengthening our partnerships with international and local NGO’s, schools, Social Workers Association of Zambia, universities, orphanages, safe houses and government ministries. We will continue to offer bespoke training, coaching and consultancy around child safeguarding.
6. We will continue supporting EMBRACE, a grass roots movement led by churches in Lusaka, advocating for children to be moved from orphanage care and placed in loving foster and adoptive families.
7. We are focusing on strengthening our operational structure including monitoring and evaluation, financial management systems, information technology, communications and reporting. We will also be developing our human resources. Tehila Trust, our sister charity in the UK will also be strengthened this year. We are fortunate to have a wonderful group of trustees who are committed to helping us build the UK side of our work.
I hope this gives you a taste of what we want to do!
Of course, to achieve all of this vision, we need more money. We are actively working on our fundraising strategy and are excited about the creative ideas to raise resources. However, our biggest income to date has always been from monthly givers. It sounds a bit cheesy, but literally every little bit helps! It could be £2, £5, £10, £20 or another amount each month. Regular monthly income enables us to plan our activities well in advance.
It’s always hard to ask for money but because we are so passionate about our cause, we must move beyond fear, be bold and simply ask. So……if you would like to donate to Tehila for the first time or are a regular monthly giver and would be interested in increasing your monthly donation, then please feel free to visit our website www.tehila.org. If not, that’s absolutely fine as you can always support us in other ways, such as organising a fund-raising event, praying, contacting, following us on social media and applying for one our UK volunteer opportunities which will be coming up very soon!
But for now, I want to leave you with some photos of our new office in Lusaka. The Zambian team have been actively preparing everything ready for our return. Sam is currently on the aeroplane flying to Zambia. He has gone to connect with the team, cast our vision and share our 2017 workplan.
We wish you all the very best for 2017. I thank you for continuing to journey with us. We are entering our 5th year in Zambia and have always appreciated and valued your love and support. The Tehila family is growing and we have a big vision. TOGETHER we are PROTECTING children.
Love and hugs
Han and the Team xxx