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Snapshot: Transformation « International Aid Services America

Since the inception of IAS in 1989, more than six million lives throughout Africa have been impacted by IAS. Through our holistic approach of empowering those in need, IAS concentrates our efforts in three thematic areas of emphasis; Integrated Water Resource Management, Civil Society Development, and Inclusive Education. This month I would like to share with you the stories of two lives transformed because of these efforts.

Mariam Ishag Abdalla

Mariam Ishag Abdalla, from Darfur, Sudan, was one of hundreds of thousands of victims in this war-torn region. After witnessing the murder of her father and siblings, Mariam fled with the rest of her family, including her newborn child, to one of the refugee camps where IAS provided water. As a result of the trauma Mariam experienced, she did not speak for an entire year. But even in the midst of a dark crisis, life can return. After a year of receiving water, food, and medicine, Mariam regained her health. “I had almost lost hope that she would get well,” said Mariam’s husband, Bourma. “I am so thankful.”

The conflict in Darfur remains complex, with a web of multi-layered factors contributing to the unrest in the region. Access to natural resources, including land and water, have been contributing factors to the ongoing conflict. Today, foreign agencies and staff are experiencing difficulties working in Darfur. However, IAS remains one of the few international organizations still on the ground providing vital life-saving services to a population, like Mariam, in dire need.

Kashinde, Tanzania’s future journalist.

Twenty-two year-old Kashinde lives in Tanzania and is part of an IAS Inclusive Education program. Kashinde is missing both of her legs, and her arms only extend to elbow’s length. Despite her handicap, Kashinde is determined to get an education and become a journalist. “I want to be able to support myself,” she says.

“The generous will themselves be blessed,

Thankfully, supportive family members surround Kashinde. In fact, with no other transportation available, Kashinde’s uncle carries her to and from school each day on his back. Thanks to the financial help of IAS and Kashinde’s determination, Kashinde has now completed the eleventh grade in school. And, despite social pressure to get married at her young age, Kashinde adamantly states, “I want to finish my education, learn English, and then work as a journalist at one of Tanzania’s international newspapers.”

IAS’ work with Inclusive Education is about ensuring the rights of children to receive an education regardless of social or cultural factors that might prevent them from going to school. Factors such as a handicap, gender, ethnicity or poverty are often hindering factors in regard to the education of children. IAS is helping youth like Kashinde across Africa realize their dreams of a fruitful and productive life.

Your support of IAS this month shares the love of Christ in a physical, tangible way to Africa’s poor. While we will most likely never meet Mariam or Kashinde this side of heaven, it is comforting to know that their lives and futures have been positively impacted by their brothers and sisters a world away.

Working together,

Douglas Mann
President, IAS America


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