You help when others don’t: 4 ways you’ve been supporting relief work across the world

You help when others don’t:

4 ways you’ve been supporting relief work across the world

When a disaster or conflict hits a nation, we know you want to help. Thanks to your faithful support for BMS World Mission, you are.

Four disasters, each marked by terrible suffering and loss. You will have heard about the conflict in Ukraine, the civil war in South Sudan, the lingering devastation from Nepal’s earthquakes, and the impact of a tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. What you might not know is that by giving to BMS, you’ve supported the people who desperately need help. We’re in a strong position to respond in times of disaster as we’re part of a global family of Baptists.

BMS World Mission is part of the Baptist Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD), a collective of Baptist organisations from across the world devoted to supporting those left in crisis as they rebuild after a disaster strikes. But vital help wouldn’t happen without your support. “It has been a joy to see the Baptist family come together,” says Rachel Conway-Doel, BMS Relief Facilitator. “The potential we have to make an impact is very exciting.”

Here are some exciting ways that you, the BMS family, have already helped:

1. Keeping people warm in Ukraine

A truck carrying boxes.
Vital heating equipment is being distributed to people in danger of freezing in Ukraine, where temperatures can drop to minus 25 degrees in winter.

Over 1.5 million people have been displaced in Ukraine due to the ongoing conflict between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia separatists, leaving many of them with no means to stay warm in sub-zero temperatures. Thanks to your generosity, we’ve been able to help provide people in Ukraine with thermal underwear, ceramic heaters, coal and wood to help them get through the dangerous winter months. We’d like to say a special thank you to all those who’ve responded to our Ukraine appeal in the last few months. You’ve really made a difference!

2. Standing by the people of Nepal

A street of collapsed buildings
Nearly 8 million people were directly affected by the devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal in 2015.

The media might not be there anymore, but BMS has continued to stand with the people of Nepal to help them rebuild after the catastrophic earthquakes that hit in 2015. Your giving has supported the rebuilding of public buildings and schools and provided disaster risk management training to help communities be better prepared should such a tragic disaster occur again.

3. Giving crucial support to South Sudanese refugees

A woman in a wheelchair
Many people with disabilities had to be carried out of South Sudan. You support has helped provide wheelchairs for people unable to walk.

Five years of civil war in South Sudan has forced more than two million people to flee this young nation. Many have sought refuge in Uganda, reaching camps that stretch for miles. BMS funds have so far helped provide vital food rations to 1,700 children suffering from malnutrition, as well as food, agricultural tools, wheelchairs and pastoral support to people with disabilities.

4. Coming to the aid of tsunami survivors

A destroyed van.
Thousands of people we displaced after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami on the island of Sulawesi last year.

Over 2,100 people were killed and 87,000 displaced after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in October last year. Your support provided people on the ground with emergency food and personal hygiene kits and helped to build shelters and provide counselling support to trauma victims.

It’s thanks to your heart for demonstrating God’s love that we can stand alongside people who need help. When South Sudanese refugees say praise God for providing food and a wheelchair, it’s because of your solidarity in the gospel. And when an earthquake victim who’s lost their home is able to take shelter, it’s you who’s helped to provide that roof. But there are so many others we would like to support.

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Please, give today and come to the aid of those who need to know Christian love across the world. Thank you.

In pictures: meet the South Sudanese refugees you’re helping

In pictures:

Meet the South Sudanese refugees you're helping

It’s the largest refugee crisis in Africa and the third largest in the world. Over two million people have now fled the conflict in South Sudan, with more than a million of them ending up in Uganda. The numbers are overwhelming – but the people are amazing. And you’ve been helping them. Here’s how.

Forced to flee their homes because of the fighting, South Sudanese families arrived (and continue to arrive) in Uganda with nothing. You’ve been supporting some of the most at-risk people in Palorinya and Bidi Bidi refugee settlements, as well as helping those who have settled right by the border with South Sudan.

BMS local worker Patrick
BMS local worker Isaac

You’re supporting these two amazing men – Patrick and Isaac – to run projects to help displaced South Sudanese people. Both Patrick and Isaac are South Sudanese refugees themselves, and they have huge hearts for those struggling in the settlements. By giving to BMS World Mission, you’re helping them to reach out to people with disabilities, widows, single parents and other vulnerable people.

How you're helping: food

You’ve funded the transport and logistics to enable 1,700 severely malnourished children to access Plumpy’Nut, a special peanut-based paste to help them get healthy again. This little boy is nearly at the end of his treatment and is doing much better!

Dube is now growing food to support himself and his family. Dube has a disability with his leg, and you provided him with seeds and tools to start growing a harvest. His is one of 100 families you’ve supported in this way.

Henry is unable to walk and therefore cannot farm for himself. He has two daughters and his wife left him because of his disability. Henry isn’t living in an official refugee camp and so isn’t eligible for government support. You’ve been providing him and 1,000 other people with food rations – essential for their survival.

How you're helping: maternal health

Jane gave birth to her baby, Irene, while fleeing the conflict in her village. She had no medical assistance, and after she gave birth she had to get up and carry on walking. Her story is not uncommon. Thankfully, Jane survived. But pregnancy and childbirth are terrifying concepts for people living in the refugee settlements. There’s a lack of access to health care, which means health conditions that can normally be easily managed end up costing lives.

By supporting BMS, you’re helping women access the medical checks they need to stay healthy during pregnancy. Irene is pregnant and has high blood pressure, but thanks to you, she’s aware of her health condition and is being carefully monitored. If anything changes, she will be rushed to a health clinic in Bidi Bidi refugee camp where she lives.

Irene found out about her blood pressure because of the cradle device – a highly accurate automated blood pressure device that also detects heart rate and shock index. You helped pay for 714 cradle devices, which means that all 17 NGO-run clinics in Bidi Bidi now have access to it. On top of that, over 450 volunteer health team workers covering the entire settlement have use of their own cradle device to monitor the health of people in their community – detecting high-risk pregnancies and other potentially life-threatening illnesses.

Women like these are getting accurate blood pressure checks when they come for check-ups in Bidi Bidi’s health centres. That means that conditions that could have been missed before are being identified.

Angok is one of the 450 volunteer health workers now armed with a cradle device. He goes and visits people in his community and monitors their health. It’s really simple to use the device, and Angok is now able to make sure pregnant women at risk of illnesses like preeclampsia get help before it’s too late.

How you're helping: destigmatising disability

You’re supporting South Sudanese Christians and churches to help people like Harriet. People with disabilities are some of the most vulnerable people in the refugee settlements. You’re helping us to find them, to support them, and to help them and their communities understand that they are important and have value.

You’re empowering the church to destigmatise disability and make sure the people who need help most receive it.

Thank you so much for supporting our work amongst South Sudanese refugees!

Want to help South Sudanese refugees? Click here
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5 ways you’re making the world a healthier place

5 ways you’re making the world a healthier place

Saving mothers and babies in Afghanistan and helping pregnant refugees. Discover five of the ways your generous support for BMS World Mission is helping to provide healthcare for thousands of people around the world.

1. Meeting medical needs in Chad

Man in the distance looking at the camera. An ambulance in a courtyard at a hospital in Chad.
You're funding pharmacists, surgeons, doctors and nurses in Chad.

There is one qualified doctor in Chad for every 25,000 people. Nearly 40 per cent of children have stunted growth because of a lack of food, and illnesses such as malaria, HIV and Aids affect many people’s lives. But thanks to you, hospitals in Chad (one near the capital and one in the north of the country) are providing much-needed medical treatment and helping people survive. Your giving has enabled us to fund pharmacists, surgeons, doctors, nurses, malnutrition prevention workers, midwives and other hospital staff who are giving the right care to thousands of people. They’re treating gunshot wounds, cancer and malaria, and delivering babies, thanks to you.

2. Giving children with disabilities the support they need

Children with disabilities in Thailand face huge challenges. Many families struggle to cope with the needs of their children, and government orphanages are often unable to provide the one-on-one care and support they need.

Thanks to your giving, BMS worker Judy Cook is providing therapeutic and respite care to children with disabilities at Hope Home, in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Hope Home currently provides full-time care for ten children, and offers respite care for many other children and their families.

Check out the amazing work you’re supporting in this video:

3. Coming to the aid of pregnant refugees

The South Sudanese women who make it to Bidi Bidi refugee camp in northern Uganda after fleeing conflict are often in danger of dying during pregnancy or childbirth. But thanks to your giving, an electronic device that measures people’s blood pressure and heart rate is helping to save lives. At least 7,000 pregnant women will receive medical checks that could identify any problems and save their lives, and the lives of their unborn children. To read more about how the device works and the impact your support is having, click the button below.

A woman in a refugee camp carrying a pale of water.
You're helping at least 7,000 refugees get medical checks in northern Uganda.

4. Saving the lives of mothers and babies in Afghanistan

Boys playing football in the mountains of Afghanistan.
Thanks to you, men and women are being trained in safe birthing practices in the remote mountains of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has some of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world. In remote mountain villages, it’s difficult for pregnant women to get to clinics to give birth, and unsafe birthing practices such as smearing dirt on the umbilical cord, or pushing on the mother’s stomach during labour to make the baby come out, can lead to infection and even death.

You’re enabling us to help train men and women in safe birthing practices in the mountains of rural Afghanistan. You’re helping them learn to spot when something is wrong, and to dispel unsafe birthing practices, and you’re saving the lives of mothers and babies as a result.

5. Giving children a voice through speech therapy

Being unable to communicate your feelings and needs to the community around you can be incredibly isolating. In northern Uganda, BMS worker Lois Ovenden is providing speech and language therapy to children with disabilities. We’ll leave it to her to explain more of the inspiring work she’s doing in this video:

By supporting BMS, you’re funding life-transforming health work like this around the world. Thank you! You can help us do even more by making a donation today.

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Coming to the aid of pregnant refugees

Technology and mission:

Coming to the aid of pregnant refugees

Women in refugee camps in Uganda are in danger of dying during pregnancy or childbirth. That threat is about to change for thousands of them, thanks to an electronic device and your support for BMS World Mission.

They’ve fled a civil war, trekking for days to cross the border from South Sudan into Uganda, seeking sanctuary from crippling food shortages and men with guns and machetes. They’ve fled to save themselves, their loved ones, and the ones yet to be born.

The South Sudanese women who make it to the Bidi Bidi refugee camp in northern Uganda find a settlement of tents and mud-brick huts that sprawls for miles. The number of people living there, roughly 280,000, is higher than the population of many a British city, and most of them are women and children.

Refugee women and children walk along a dirt track in northern Uganda
Women and children have walked for miles to escape conflict in South Sudan.

Left behind because they were killed, abducted, forced to fight, or too weak to travel, are brothers, sisters, grandparents, children… and future fathers. An estimated one in five women of childbearing age in humanitarian emergencies like this are likely to be pregnant. Keep that in mind when you read the following:

– An estimated 830 women die every day from pregnancy and birth-related causes around the world.

– Of these maternal deaths, 99 per cent happen in developing countries.

– More than 50 per cent of maternal deaths are caused by conditions that could be detected if vital signs were assessed.

A £20 handheld device that measures blood pressure and heart rate can change these statistics. It is called the Microlife Cradle VSA (Vital Signs Alert), and from March, hundreds will be used in the Bidi Bidi camp, and the Nakivale refugee settlement in south west Uganda.

A patient in Haiti has her blood pressure and heart rate checked.
The device has already been used to help pregnant women in Haiti. Picture by Hope Health Action.

How does the device work?

The device needs minimal training to operate and uses a traffic light warning system that shows the risk of shock or high blood pressure in a patient.

– A green light shows the patient’s blood pressure and heart rate are normal, and they are likely to be well.

– A yellow light shows the blood pressure is high, and the patient could have pre-eclampsia, a condition that occurs in pregnancy, or soon after delivery. If untreated, it can cause a pregnant woman to suffer a seizure, stroke or even die.

– A red light shows that blood pressure is very high and the patient could have severe pre-eclampsia, or may have severe bleeding or infection.

Watch a step by step guide to using the device

Thanks to your gifts, at least 7,000 pregnant women will receive a medical check that could save both their lives, and the life of their unborn children. The device will alert volunteer health workers to a problem that can then be referred to a doctor or nurse.

BMS funding of £18,000 will help partner organisation Hope Health Action (working with King’s College London and the United Nations refugee agency) distribute more than 700 of these devices into the two camps from March and train people to use them.

South Sudanese refugees climb a hill at the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Uganda.

By giving to BMS, you’re making a life-saving difference to women in the Bidi Bidi and Nakivale refugee settlements.

But it could lead to so many others being helped, as it’s hoped a successful programme will prompt the Ugandan health ministry to distribute the device to other refugee camps.

We give thanks for your gifts. Amazing things are happening because of you.

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You’re giving so much more than just presents this Christmas

You’re giving so much more than just presents this Christmas

Here are some of the ways you’ve helped people in desperate need this year.

A tarpaulin. A plastic groundsheet. Some thermal underwear. Did these items make your Christmas wish list?

You’ve given these – and other great gifts – to people in desperate need this year.

You’re providing a lifeline for Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Burma (Myanmar), and keeping hundreds of people warm in the harshness of a Ukraine winter.

As you wrap your presents and prepare for Christmas, consider this our thank you note for what you’ve already given. And a reminder of the suffering you’re helping to alleviate, in Jesus’ name, every time you give to BMS World Mission.

Refugees look through a gap in their shelter in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.
Vital aid is reaching refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, thanks to your donations. Photo by Medair/Nath Fauveau.

Rohingya refugee crisis

The Rohingya people have witnessed their loved ones being raped, beaten and executed, and their villages reduced to ashes in a brutal military offensive. The scale of the terror inflicted by Burma’s soldiers is unimaginable, as is the exodus of those being targeted. More than 650,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed from Burma’s northern Rakhine State into Cox’s Bazar district in southern Bangladesh since August. Hundreds are still crossing every day, many of them children who have run for their lives.

How you are helping: By giving to BMS you’re helping more than 500 refugees. They arrive at camps exhausted, hungry and traumatised. They have next to nothing. The tarpaulin, ground sheet and stretch of nylon rope you’ve funded for these refugees are providing shelter. Thanks to you, Rohingya people have protection from the elements, and women can maintain their dignity thanks to hygiene kits containing sanitary products. People will also receive soap for washing and laundry, as well as a cup and a three-litre water jug.

Ukraine

The conflict that erupted in eastern Ukraine in 2014 between pro-Russian separatists and pro-Ukrainian groups has displaced 1.5 million people and killed at least 10,000. Government pensions and social benefits have been stopped for people living in areas under separatist control, while schools and hospitals have also had their funding halted.

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How you are helping: The temperature in eastern Ukraine is expected to drop to -7 degrees Celsius early on Christmas Day, and it could drop as low as -28 later in the winter. You’re providing over 1,000 people with coal, firewood, ceramic heaters and wood burners so they can survive, and children are being given thermal underwear.

Rachel Conway-Doel, our Relief Facilitator, talks about the crisis in Ukraine and what you can be praying for.

Syria conflict

Lebanon continues to host the highest concentration of refugees per capita in the world, with an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees and over 15,000 people from Iraq living there. Close to half of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are children.

How you are helping: You’ve already helped dozens of children who have had their access to education shattered by conflict, and that support continues.

Thanks to your giving, at least 30 more refugee children are being taught English, Arabic and maths this school year, and doing what every child has a right to do – play.

Refugee children sit behind desks during a class in Lebanon.
Refugee children in Lebanon are being given an education thanks to you.
Your support this year has been amazing – look at what else you’ve done!

Mozambique — You gave food to 1,000 people affected by a fuel tanker explosion in Mozambique.

Haiti — You helped provide cholera prevention and treatment through water filtration after Hurricane Matthew.

Nepal — You provided food, blankets and medicine to more than 1,100 people following severe monsoon flooding.

Philippines — You helped to give medical check-ups and disaster training for community leaders following July’s earthquake.

Bangladesh — You helped to fund the rebuilding of 50 family homes destroyed by landslides in June.

South Sudan/Uganda — You gave food, tools and seeds to over 1,000 South Sudanese people in danger of starving.

No matter how much you gave this year, you made a difference. People you will never meet have been fed, sheltered and comforted thanks to your kindness. We thank you for all that you have done, and can’t wait to see what we can achieve together in 2018. Happy Christmas from all of us at BMS.

South Sudan: how we’re helping people in the crisis

South Sudan:

how we’re helping people in the crisis

As South Sudan suffers through famine and civil war, BMS World Mission is responding to urgent needs.

A woman, young boy and baby are shown in South Sudan.
BMS is responding to urgent needs of the most vulnerable who are facing a famine in South Sudan.

Put yourself in these shoes: you’re born in north-eastern Africa, into a country with a history of war. From 1955 to 1972 and 1983 to 2005, millions lose their lives. And then there is hope. In 2011, the place you’re from becomes its own country – South Sudan. But hope vanishes all too quickly. In 2013, civil war breaks out. Your safety is threatened and you are forced to run. You leave everything behind – your home, your possessions and people you love. You travel many miles by foot to a refugee camp in neighbouring Uganda. Tired and hungry, you reach the camp to find out that food is running out. How will you survive the famine? How will you ever know peace?

It’s hard to even imagine this kind of life, if you’ve lived in the UK for most of yours. But it’s a reality in South Sudan. Over two million people have been forced to flee their homes because of the ongoing civil war. Today people are displaced throughout the country and across borders into neighbouring countries. And now these people are at risk of starvation.

BMS is responding to this urgent need. Most recently we’ve given two relief grants of over £26,000 that will help around 1,400 people.

Watch the video below to hear from Steve Sanderson, BMS Deputy Director for Mission. He shares how BMS is responding to the famine in East Africa and the importance of relief work at BMS. 

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One of the grants your giving has made possible will help the most vulnerable Internally Displaced People (IDPs) within camps in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. Poor living conditions, an extremely high number of people in the camps and food shortages have made it a desperate situation. To help, we are giving food supplies like beans, maize flour and cooking oil to around 800 people, with priority being given to pregnant women, households headed by women, disabled people, the elderly and children.

The other grant BMS is funding will support a project providing emergency food rations and tools and seeds for harvesting crops for IDPs in Kajo-Keji County, near the border with Uganda. Around 600 vulnerable people will receive emergency food rations. Around 100 families will also receive saucepans, cups, plates, buckets and jerry cans. Beyond just handing out food, this project is also equipping and empowering people to grow their own food by giving them tools and seeds. This should provide an additional layer of food security for people in the next few months.

A large group of children during the famine in South Sudan.

Both projects have already begun, the first steps being to identify the people who will need help most and training workers to help them. BMS volunteer, Carwyn Hill, is assessing the situation in South Sudan to identify the best way for BMS to support IDPs within the country and refugees in camps in Northern Uganda.

Steve Sanderson, BMS Deputy Director for Mission, knows how important it is to ensure our response is most effective in this fragile area and not forget the people of South Sudan.

“The crisis in South Sudan, both the conflict and famine, is receiving so little international attention and as such it is slipping from people’s minds. We urge you to pray for the people fleeing their homes, facing violence and losing everything,” says Steve. “Thanks to your support, we are able to work in collaboration with trusted partners to respond to the needs and are exploring how else we can work in the region.”

It’s really hard to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. But it’s important. We must not forget the people of South Sudan. We must all keep helping and praying. Thank you for your prayers and giving.

People who have fled their homes because of civil war in South Sudan.

All photos by Carwyn Hill

Give today

Want to do more to help people in South Sudan? One way you can is by giving to BMS disaster recovery ministries right now.

Pray today

• Pray for people who have lost everything, that they would feel God’s peace and practical help.

• Pray for the people of South Sudan who have faced significant instability due to famine, conflict and displacement.

• Pray for people working on the ground in South Sudan. Pray that God gives them wisdom to find resolutions.

• Pray for the new work BMS is exploring, that we would identify the most effective ways to help in this time of desperate need.

• Pray for South Sudan’s neighbouring countries, that they would continue to be welcoming hosts to refugees and that this added strain would not lead to more conflict.