Norfolk churches all set for Christian Aid week
Churches across Norfolk are busy making fundraising breakfasts, organising supermarket collections, delivering fundraising envelopes, holding church collections, selling cakes and so much more as we approach Christian Aid Week.
Christian Aid week runs from 12 - 18 May. Julian Bryant, Norfolk Christian Aid Coordinator explains about this year's campaign. ‘This year Christian Aid is promoting the needs of women giving birth in Sierra Leone and their babies. Sierra Leone is described as the most dangerous place on earth to give birth. For every 100,000 women going into labour, it is estimated that 1,360 die. In the UK the figure is 9 women per 100,000. Each death is a tragedy and no mother should die. We want to be part of making a difference in Sierra Leone and across the world. I want to tell you the story of two women - Tenneh and an inspirational nurse called Judith who came to a remote village and made a huge difference.’
Tenneh plays with her precious baby Ansumana. She blows raspberries on his belly. Lifting her baby up high she beams with joy. Tenneh gave birth to Ansumana three months ago. Thankfully, he’s a happy, bouncy baby. But Tenneh has loved and lost another baby before.
When Tenneh’s labour started during her first pregnancy, there was no health centre in the village. Her mum took her to a traditional birth attendant. For the two days of her labour, Tenneh was in agony. She fell unconscious and was bleeding heavily. With very little medical training, the birth attendant was way out of her depth.
Tragically, her baby died when he was three months old.
‘That day I will never forget,’ she recalls. ‘I felt sick like I’ve never been sick before.
‘If God would not have saved me, I would not be alive today.’
Working through Christian Aid's partner RADA, the charity saw how difficult the situation in Sawula village was and began working to ensure that mums and babies have fullness of life.
RADA has been working locally to help vulnerable women access healthcare, improve hygiene with simple interventions like handwashing and, with your support, build a bigger, better health care centre.
Thankfully, when Tenneh was pregnant a second time, things had changed for good. This time, she had nurse Judith by her side. With her expert love and care, Judith helped Tenneh deliver her baby safely.
Tenneh said: ‘During my second labour, I was scared. But nurse Judith was with me, assuring me of everything. When I delivered, I felt so good.’
‘With the coming of Judith, so many lives have changed,’ Tenneh continued. ‘We know that with Judith, as long as we see the light at the end of the tunnel, we’ll be OK.’
Thanks to nurse Judith and the medical training you helped provide, Tenneh could hold her beautiful baby boy in her arms.
A health centre for all
The community in Sawula dream of having a health centre that can meet their needs. The current health centre is the size of a small bedroom. Operations, deliveries and baby check-ups all happen in one single room with only two delivery beds.
Nurse Judith works around the clock to meet the needs of mums and young children who come to the clinic. But the need is great, and sometimes she’s forced to send people away.
When women come to the clinic at night, there’s no light for Judith to use. So she has to ask her patients to bring a torch to see by.
In addition to this, there are often not enough drugs at the clinic. Judith sees diseases like malaria and typhoid, especially in children. She has to go on a motorbike or sometimes walk for three hours to collect drugs.
‘I need help,’ nurse Judith says. ‘Women are dying from childbirth, children under five are dying, because of poverty. Please help us.’
For Tenneh, and many mums like her, a new health centre would be like a dream come true:
‘We’ll dance for three days when we have the new health centre,’ she says.
Julian Bryant said, ‘If your church could sell cakes after the service, or hold an offering or join with other people in a fundraising activity, you would then be an answer to people’s prayers.’
For more information contact Julian Bryant firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.christianaid.org.uk/Christian-Aid-Week for fundraising information and resources.
Below is a video about an inspirational nurse who overcame adversity to make a difference to others in Sierra Leone
Pictured above: Tenneh Bawoh gazes adoringly at baby Ansumana. Tenneh’s first pregnancy ended in tragedy but thanks to nurse Judith and medical training you helped to provide, Tenneh’s second labour resulted in the safe delivery of her baby boy. Photo by Christian Aid/Adam Finch