“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15-16).
As Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, it is our mission to serve the destitute and underprivileged in society, to help those whom nobody else helps, to give a voice to the voiceless, to empower people to improve their lives through holistic and long-term development, to lift people out of poverty and help make their lives worth living: to transform darkness into light.
To transform people's lives in a long-term, sustainable manner, development projects need to be holistic and affect all areas of their lives. The following aspects—also as individual projects—are part of NCM's strategy for holistic development.
Investing in the Future: Child Development
Children always suffer first and usually most severely. Each day, more than 40,000 children starve to death. Over 110 million have no access to primary education, and 100–200 million worldwide live and work on the streets.
"Child Development Centres" are the major focus of NCM's development work in South Asia. We are currently providing thousands of underprivileged children with primary education, a nutritious meal and regular health check-ups in more than 100 Nazarene schools and CDCs. These also usually include an aspect of awareness raising and adult literacy classes for mothers. Visit the CDC page to learn more about this vital ministry. A large percentage of development activities in South Asia are now conducted through CDCs, including disaster response in some areas.
Another major component of Child Development in South Asia is Child Sponsorship. Click on the following link if you would like to sponsor a child from South Asia (on the left-hand side under "location", type "Sri Lanka" or "Bangladesh" or "Nepal"; children from Pakistan are not available at the moment).
Becoming Healthy Citizens: Community-Based Health Care
Health care in most of South Asia is accessible to few of the poor. Through community-based health care, NCM fights the evils of malnutrition and infant and maternal mortality by making health services adequate and accessible, serving around 500,000 people in various projects throughout South Asia. CBHC focuses primarily on pre- and postnatal care, provides immunizations and health education including family planning and hygiene/sanitation issues, and raises people's awareness about diseases such as HIV/AIDS. CBHC also trains village health workers to offer basic health services locally. Child Development Centres include regular health checkups for the children, health & hygiene awareness lessons for children and mothers, and linkages to local health services.
Empowering the Helpless: Vocational Training
Poverty forces people into dependency. With no education and no skills to offer, the poor and underprivileged are at the mercy of their superiors. Through Vocational Training centres (usually 20–50 students, primarily female), NCM offers courses in tailoring and handicrafts, typewriting and computer skills, carpentry, homestead gardening, and other locally relevant and marketable skills. This enables people to be self-sufficient and to care for themselves and their families. Vocational Training classes are often offered to mothers of CDC children in the context of self-help groups and to older children who have graduated from CDCs.
Developing Entrepreneurs: Micro-Credit and Income Generation
During the last few years, thousands of women (as well as some men) have joined Nazarene self-help groups (SHG) throughout South Asia. SHG members save a small amount each week and eventually receive a loan, with which they purchase various assets to start small businesses and become self-reliant, such as raising animals, fishing, planting and harvesting fruit, providing transportation with bikes, rickshaws, or motorcycles, opening small shops, or tailoring. NCM representatives advise local people and train them to use the funds effectively and wisely. A number of large-scale projects, including CDCs, habitually encourage the formation of self-help groups and offer awareness trainings and other services in the context of these groups.
Transforming Lives Holistically: Community Development
Community Development is the holistic method of effecting long-term, sustainable change in people's lives and communities. It consists of locally-organized programs that integrate all aspects of development, depending on local circumstances. These programs include small enterprises and income generating, micro-credit, health care and sanitation, adult literacy, skills development, women's empowerment, human rights issues, and environment conservation. A number of these projects were started in all South Asian countries over the past decade. Recently the focus has shifted towards so-called "child-focussed community development" offered in the form of CDCs. NCM South Asia aims to start as many holistic child-focussed community development projects as resources allow. More and more organizations are helping with major project funding as a result of the reputable quality of NCM delivery in South Asian countries.
Reaching Out to Victims: Disaster Response
Every year the countries of South Asia are devastated by a series of natural and man-made disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, droughts, cold waves, terrorist attacks, and civil wars. In Disaster Response, NCM provides emergency relief (food, shelter, clothes, health care) to the victims and strengthens communities through rehabilitation work and mitigation. Through training programs addressing awareness and emergency preparedness, NCM attempts to soften the impact of the next disaster and allow locals to be better prepared. Visit the Disaster Response page to learn more about this ministry.
Building an Indigenous Church: Leadership Development
Since 2001, the Church of the Nazarene in South Asia has prepared 110 indigenous leaders in a Leadership Development Project (LDP), which has aimed to educate, equip, and empower local leaders. LDP trainees receive training in all types of development work including disaster response and trauma counselling, which has been vital in the Church's response to the 2004 tsunami tragedy. LDP trainees have started hundreds of self-help groups as well as several major development projects. Leadership Development helps Nazarene ministry in South Asia to be holistic as well as integrated: JESUS Film teams, leadership development trainees, theological training, NCM, local churches, and the district work closely together in their goal to develop strong and healthy holiness churches.
What is the difference between our service and that of a secular organization?
Several years ago, Reynolds Memorial Hospital, the Nazarene hospital in Central India, formed this mission statement: “In response to the love and compassion of Christ, RMH commits to serve the poor and needy, irrespective of caste and creed, so that they become healthy citizens of this world and the next.” NCM believes that real development is only possible by a total transformation of the individual through the power and love of Christ. And over the last fifteen years, thousands have chosen to follow the Nazarene who first touched their lives through a bag of rice, the smile of a nurse, or the patient service of a teacher.
Please visit the NCM needs list to see the many opportunities in which your contribution can make a difference in people's lives in South Asia.
If you would like to see more of what God is doing through NCM in South Asia, watch or download this two-minute PowerPoint Slideshow (PPS; size: 950KB).
You can also use this presentation in your local church or small group.
Sangita's story (Nepal):
When her husband lost his job, Sangita knew that a hard struggle lay ahead. Five children and her aged parents, squeezed into a miserable little hut, with no regular income. She didn't know how they could survive. Soon she was dreading each new day. Then she joined a Nazarene self-help group. For two years, she saved a few cents every week, as much as she could spare. Finally she received a loan, and bought two oxen for income through labour.
Today, Sangita has not only repaid her loan and has a regular income to feed her family, she has also been able to save enough to build a much bigger and nicer home. The self-help group taught her how to handle her money wisely and invest in the right way. Another thing Sangita learned in the group is how to prepare nutritious meals for her children with the food that is available to her. There is already a visible difference in her youngsters, and Sangita actually looks forward to planning her meals every day. She's also more aware of health, hygiene, and sanitation issues, and will be careful to observe all she's learned when she lives in her new home. She can't wait to move. What a difference the self-help group has made in her life!