Banzaid is the aid and development department of NZBMS. It was established to bring specialist knowledge of development issues into NZBMS’s programmes, and to access funding sources that support specific development activity. Our projects aim to partner and work alongside other NZBMS and Baptist work in each instance. So, what are we doing?
Supporting local communities
In Bangladesh, we work with Baptist Aid—the aid organisation of the Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship (BBCF). Baptist Aid has a programme in the villages of Chandpur (an area that has long been a focus for New Zealand Baptists). This programme supports village churches to serve their local communities. The two key activities are a preschool programme and tutorial groups to support the children of poor families to achieve in the government education system.
One of the village women says: “My husband, my two elder sons and I were all illiterate. We had never read a book nor written anything. After joining the development group, I was helped with adult literacy. I became aware that the world is very big and there is much to learn. I enrolled my youngest son in the preschool group. After two years he entered the local government primary school. He still receives help with his homework from the Tutorial Programme. I am very happy with the progress he is making.”
> Can your family, your home group, your church, support one of these preschool or tutorial groups? Visit our website to find out how.
A fair price for coffee growers
In Papua New Guinea, some years ago, New Zealand Baptists were a part of introducing coffee as a cash crop for highland village areas. Coffee is one of the major income earners for PNG, but unfortunately the country is divided by tribal fighting, family violence and political corruption. In this situation the Baptist Union of PNG (BUPNG) works hard at peace-making. The Banzaid coffee project was established to support the peace agreements negotiated in the Baiyer Valley region.
2017 was election year in PNG. Election-related violence forced the suspension of all project activity. The BUPNG still sees this project as an important one for sustainable development in the area. In 2018, they will be working to restart the coffee trading.
> Pray for the staff of the BUPNG as they continue to work for peace in the community.
Putting a fence at the top of the cliff
Banzaid is partnering with Freeset in the Business Incubator programme. This is a ‘fence at the top of the cliff’ project targeting the Murshidabad district as a significant source area for the women trafficked into Kolkata.
Building on the Freeset model of business, which provides employment for women looking for freedom, the goal is employment for women at risk of being sent to the city for work because of the poverty of their families. The vision is four new freedom business units employing 250+ at‑risk women.
The first of the new units is up and running! The Freeset Fabrics weaving factory in Sherpur, in the western part of Murshidabad is building the looms, training the women and working on designs that will sell in the western markets. Manufa was one of the first trainees. She tells her story in a video that can be seen on the Banzaid website. “Truly if I didn’t work here my family and me would all die of poverty. Our lives have been full of trouble, but now it feels like the trouble is behind us.”
Manufa goes on to describe what she has been able to do for the family with the extra income. “My family loves and respects me a lot because they know I am doing a good job.” In a society where women are undervalued, she says that her father now values her as he would a son.
“Freedom Businesses” is a $2.5 million project over five years. For every dollar you give us, the New Zealand Aid Programme gives us another two dollars. We are now halfway through the five years and we need your help to achieve the vision.
> The freedom businesses also need you to be buying and promoting our products. Visit www.marketplacers.co.nz. to see and buy.
The year ahead
So, what is happening for Banzaid in 2018? Watch out for new opportunities in Fiji and in Samoa. In Fiji, we are looking at two partnerships, one with the Fiji Baptist Convention and the other involving a prison ministry and the setting up of an ex-prisoner rehabilitation programme.
In Samoa, we are talking with the Nu’u-Fou Baptist Church. They have a successful preschool, and are starting a primary school this year. They are looking for trained teachers at both levels to work with them as they expand their facilities. Banzaid will also work with them to find income generating opportunities for some of those in the local community who are struggling.
> Any teacher able to volunteer for six months or a year in Samoa? Contact us!
> Our annual report with updates on all our projects, can be found at the Banzaid website: www.banzaid.org.nz.