Page 31 - Presbyterian Connection
P. 31
FALL 2021
 By Guy Smagghe, PWS&D Director
“If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the dark- ness and your gloom be like the noonday” (Isaiah 58:10).
The world has over 700 million people who go to bed hungry every night, who don’t know if they will find sufficient food to feed their family the next day. That is eight percent of the world’s population. While some of these people are located here in Can- ada, the vast majority of the world’s hungry (93%) live in the poorest countries of our planet, mostly in Asia and Africa (UN State of Food
Security report).
From coast to coast, growing
projects offer the opportunity for Presbyterians and their neighbours to actively work to help end hun- ger—coming together to plant, tend, harvest, sell and donate the proceeds from a crop.
Farmers in Canada dedicate time, machinery and land to grow crops that are sold to generate revenue for PWS&D’s work with Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Local suppliers often donate seeds, fertilizer and other inputs to the projects, allow- ing for an even greater return on the crop and the value contributed to the Foodgrains Bank. Those funds are then allocated to various projects, of-
Members of the Danforth Grow Hope team gather at the project site.
Global Reach through Local Action to
End Hunger
ten matched 4:1 with funds provided by the Government of Canada.
Last year, 18 growing projects supported PWS&D’s work. Located in Alberta (1), Ontario (14), Quebec (1), and Prince Edward Island (2), these growing projects contributed $307,336 to PWS&D’s account at the Foodgrains Bank. That helped us to carry out over $2.4 million worth of programming to provide food se- curity to the most vulnerable popu- lations. This included projects in Af- ghanistan, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen among others.
But what about urban congrega- tions? Can they be part of this story?
Absolutely. “Grow Hope” projects help connect urban congregations with rural growing projects to spon- sor acres that are farmed on their behalf.
There is currently one Presby- terian example, located in Toronto: the Danforth Grow Hope project. Four churches (two Presbyterian, one United and one Anglican) have agreed to sponsor 10 acres per year at $500 per acre. The proceeds of the harvest are donated to the respective CFGB accounts proportionately and programmed overseas after being matched.
Grow Hope projects provide a wonderful opportunity to integrate
issues of global food justice in wor- ship and Sunday School classes, and to initiate fundraising events to sup- port the project. For example, in my church, the choir donated all of the proceeds from their Christmas con- cert to the Grow Hope project. These events provide opportunities to raise awareness about our Christian re- sponse to hunger in the world.
Through Grow Hope and grow- ing projects, you can be a light for many people in the world. If your congregation is interested in star t- ing a Grow Hope project, contact us at and we will help you find a growing project you can sponsor.
  Education Helps Make Dreams Possible
  In Afghanistan, PWS&D education projects provide girls with the opportunity to gain skills, address gender inequality and break cycles of poverty.
practices that place less value on girls’ education. Additionally, girls, when forced to walk long distances to school, are placed at increased risk of assault and harassment.
Goal 4 of the United Nations Sus- tainable Development Goals aims to provide free, equitable and quality education for all children. PWS&D is passionate about bringing about a world in which all children have ac- cess to education.
PWS&D works with partners in Guatemala, Afghanistan and Malawi to help vulnerable children get the education they need to access new opportunities for brighter futures. These education programs provide children with classroom facilities, tu- toring, textbooks, supplies, uniforms and scholarships to attend school. Teachers receive training in new and innovative ways to share knowledge with their students, leading to better education outcomes.
In some communities, where there is a need to generate greater awareness about a child’s right to education, PWS&D works with local religious leaders and parents to help them understand how quality edu- cation can help children overcome challenging circumstances and con-
tribute to the sustainable develop- ment of their communities.
As COVID-19 added even more ob- stacles to education, PWS&D part- ners worked to ensure access to water and sanitation services and hy- giene supplies. Additionally, teachers have been empowered with skills to provide remote learning services and study guides for students learning from home. Families also received food packages and hygiene materials to assist them during the pandemic.
A Dream Achieved
In Guatemala, one part of PWS&D’s education program with the Fran- cisco Coll School includes providing continuing education scholarships to graduating students.
Ingrid was one of six students to receive this scholarship, which ena- bled her to continue her studies. To- day, she proudly holds the title of an accountant. “I want to thank God for the blessings and opportunities that were given to me through the sup- port received from the Francisco Coll Educational Center, an establishment in which I took my first steps in the process of my education. I humbly
By Stephanie Chunoo, PWS&D Communications
Doctor, teacher, engineer and ac- countant are just a few of the aspira- tions kids might have for their future. Yet, nearly one in five children around the globe does not have access to quality education. Before the pan- demic, around 260 million school- aged children didn’t get to go to school, and now even more students are missing school due to COVID-19, disrupting learning and putting at risk achievements already made in im- proving global education.
Education is vital to overcoming poverty, reducing gender and eco- nomic inequality, providing the nec- essary skills to obtain meaningful employment, and fostering a peace- ful and tolerant society.
However, multiple barriers continue to prevent children from accessing these opportunities. Lack of resourc- es (e.g., uniforms, school supplies and textbooks), life in conflict zones and inadequate infrastructure are just a few of the hurdles they face. Girls experience even more challenges in accessing education, including early marriage and cultural norms and
Ingrid Marizol Zapeta Alvarez, with her parents, proudly holds the certificate she received after completing her studies to become an accountant.
appreciate the financial contribution that you have given me to achieve an important stage in my life.”
Through education, many other children around the world like Ingrid will have a better chance to access opportunities that will help them break out of the cycle of poverty, build brighter futures for themselves, contribute to the peaceful develop- ment of their communities, and most importantly, achieve their dreams.

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