* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
NEWS: SRI LANKA LIVELIHOOD SUPPORT
The north and east provinces of Sri Lanka were the most affected regions by the tsunami disaster which stuck some ten years ago. In addition, prolonged civil conflict resulted in irregular migration and multiple population displacements, as people searched for work opportunities and other means of survival.
Many women, children, men, and youth placed their lives at risk as they made the massive departure to Australia and other destinations, even though finding secure work was not a guarantee.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), with funding from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), is addressing the root cause of this migration by supporting livelihood development and vocational training programs that will develop social capital and increase income and employment opportunities in Sri Lanka.
By providing basic and advanced business skills training through established Village Livelihood Groups (VLGs) and creating awareness sessions on safe migration to reduce irregular maritime arrivals to Australia, communities in Kaluwanchikudy, Batticaloa District, will advance their capacity to grow and sustain their businesses, while also receiving business education for start-up opportunities.
You can support projects like this one in Sri Lanka with your gifts to Sustainable Recovery & Development, Advance #3021951.
PRAYER: WINTER STORM RECOVERY
This winter has seen eight storms blast through most of the central, southern, and northeastern United States. The storms caused bands of snow and sleet to fall, ice-encrusted trees to snap, power lines to fail, and more. While the US is not out of the snowy woods yet, flooding may be the next major concern.
UMCOR is in contact with affected annual conferences such as Eastern Pennsylvania, which experienced dramatic snowfalls and widespread power outages. UMCOR will provide assistance with debris cleanup after the snow and ice melts. Please pray for a smooth winter storm recovery, with restored power, restored business operations, and safe road travel.
MEET UMCOR STAFF: FRANCESCO PAGANINI
Francesco Paganini is UMCOR’s executive secretary for International Disaster Response. He provides disaster-response program support to UMCOR partners, technical guidance, and support for disaster risk reduction programs.
“Working in International Disaster Response gives you fresh perspective on how people manage in very challenging situations,” says Paganini. “Over the years, I’ve increasing come to believe that, ultimately, resilience is found in empowering local entities to prepare for, mitigate, and respond to emergencies in their home communities. UMCOR is one of those agencies that walk and work directly with impacted peoples. The first voice we listen to is that of the people who know their needs best, the local community,” he continues.
Paganini’s experience ranges over a dozen countries and dozens of disasters. From post-conflict in northern Uganda, where he began his career, to Haiti immediately following the 2010 earthquake, Paganini has worked in some of the most challenging environments. He holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Arizona, a Masters in Public Administration from George Washington University, and a Masters in Science in Natural Resource Economics from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.
RESOURCE: BIBLE STUDY—ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING
Connect to the work of UMCOR through a new church-wide Sunday school study for adults, youth, and children.
Being Hope, United Methodists in Global Mission, is a four-week Bible study that explores the biblical and Wesleyan foundations for our work as a denomination in the areas of disaster relief, global health, and global development, as well as the role we play in our churches’ mission efforts close to home. The study follows the 2014 theme of One Great Hour of Sharing—Be Hope.
MEDIA: HOPE RISES
Watch UMCOR’s Hope Rises video, which helps tell the story of how hope emerges from crisis. The video captures UMCOR’s wide range of relief and development activities including disaster response, food security, sustainable agriculture, global health, and more.
Use this video to share the work of UMCOR as you support the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering observed on March 30. Supporting One Great Hour of Sharing makes it possible for UMCOR to use 100 percent of all other contributions on the projects you specify instead of on administrative or fundraising costs.