Chosen Servant Ministries

Chosen Servant Ministries is an organisation with the purpose of feeding the poor and teaching them how to feed themselves, providing education and opportunities for people to succeed in life. find out more…

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  1. Teaching Self Defence in Madagascar

    For most people, Madagascar conjures up the amusing animated film. In reality, it is one of the poorest countries in the world, where thousands of children are orphaned and live on the street. Predators come around in vans and abduct those children for sex and organs trafficking.

    I have been given the rewarding career of teaching people how to protect themselves from aggression and assault. So when I read about these people at risk in Madagascar, I really hoped I would be able to help them.

    I had the privilege of travelling to Madagascar in September with a group including doctors, nurses, accountants and teachers to work with CSM.

    Imagine taking your professional skills to a completely new environment and adapting them to the local conditions – exciting and challenging!

    Brendan from CSM drew up a schedule matching the skills of each person, and my task was to run five self defence classes, as well as teaching English and assisting in the garden.

    When I teach corporate clients in Australia, we have luxury and comfort - carpeted rooms, AV equipment, air conditioning, catering. In Madagascar, although the teaching venues were nothing like this, the learning environment and outcomes were exceptional.

    The first groups of students in Tana were mothers of the children who are sponsored into school by CSM and given breakfast at The Living Centre. On the first day, a group of approximately 20 young women with innumerable toddlers in tow, streamed into The Living Centre ready to learn.

    They deserved a professional presentation, so I was wearing my uniform, and had a whiteboard, charts, laptop and trained assistant to create an effective learning atmosphere. Thank God for our enthusiastic translator, Vonjy, otherwise our body language and mime skills would have been stretched to the limit!

    I was so impressed with their willingness to learn, and intelligent questions, about complex topics like the legal guidelines of self defence!

    The afternoon group were again very eager, and took in the skills so readily. I was heartened by the universal language of learning, giving and sharing that we can access simply by being available.

    The most interesting and challenging environment to teach in was a dusty outdoor place only accessible by foot, in a tiny rural village. I still took all the equipment to make it look real and professional.

    One of the most touching moments was when at the end of a session we invited questions, and one of the students said: ‘With such important skills as these, repetition is really necessary. Is it possible that we can have another class?’ So another class was organised, and everyone plus more turned up.

    We sincerely tried to adapt our skills to local needs. When we found out that alcohol-related domestic violence is a big problem, we put the skills into scenarios like: your husband comes home drunk, and here are the defusing gestures and safe positions you can use. Another common risk was having valuable items stolen on market days, so we showed how to apply the skills in these locations.

    The whole experience was a wonderful opportunity to show God’s love in a practical, effective way. I look forward to returning to teach new students, and run refresher training for the 100+ eager students we met.

    Karen.

    13 Dec 2014
  2. Love on a Plate

     It is 5:30am and the city of Antananarivo is waking up. Fidy and his wife Nina have been up much earlier already and they have been bustling around The Living Centre getting breakfast ready for 30 children who eat every work day there. Most of these kids come arguably the poorest families from the poorest part of the city; no sanitation, live in shacks and most have only one parent who does menial work to support the family.

    Fidy and Nina have faces full of pride and joy as they see to the last details of the up coming breakfast and then wait expectantly for the first of the kids to arrive. They have soap and nail-clippers ready along with huge welcoming smiles and are greeted by even larger smiles from the kids in return. The kids are organized so they can see to their personal hygiene and deal with natural calls as facilities for these do not exist in most of their homes – this is par for the cause for many of the poor in this city.

    The kids are excited as they anticipate the day’s breakfast; it is not so much a question of what the food will be but the fact that there is food to be had. Many of the parents search and collect from garbage to resell the salvaged items for a measly income. Fidy tells me that some of the kids used to be so hungry that they would sleep through school and obtained bad marks as a result. For many, food is not guaranteed and when received it has little nutritional value and sometimes is the left over from what was discarded at the market.

    Nina is a great cook so the kids have more than just food to look forward to. An ample amount of rice is served to keep the kids full for longer and supply the much needed energy to fulfill whatever other roles they have before or after school. The rice is served with various vegetables to provide much needed nutrients, especially as they come from one of the least hygienic areas to be found, and also a protein to balance their diet. Every meal a treat is given – be it a fruit, milk or even Nina’s own homemade yogurt.

    Brushing their teeth with their own toothbrushes at The Living Centre is just the last physical step in keeping those smiles going.

    ©Amiel Mathebula for CSM 2014

    Chosen Servant Ministries is currently feeding 30 kids in Antananarivo and another 30 in Ambodenerana near Soavinadrina daily. You can become a regular donor to sustain and increase the number of those we are able to help. The point is to feed, educate and support the kids today so that they will have a better tomorrow and also help reduce the strain of the finances at home as these parents work tirelessly for next to nothing to support their families.

    For more information please visit www.csm.org.au or email Mail@csm.org.au

    14 Nov 2014

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