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Christians in Niger need urgent aid; red...

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Christians in Niger need urgent aid; reduced to eating leaves and begging

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Christians in Niger need urgent aid; reduced to eating leaves and begging

Project(s): 38-568

Country/Region: Africa, Niger, Middle East and North Africa

Over 1,000 Christians in a famine-stricken village in Niger are in urgent need of aid; they are resorting to eating boiled leaves, while some of the young people have been forced to beg for food elsewhere.

Children_in_Tasha_Ibrahim_Niger_4X3.jpg
There are 376 children aged under 13
in the Christian village of Tasha Ibrahim

The remote, entirely Christian village of Tasha Ibrahim has been hit extremely hard by the food crisis that has engulfed the Sahel region, affecting 18 million people. Crop shortages as a result of drought have caused food prices to soar; many people can neither grow nor afford to buy food.

A village elder told a visiting Barnabas Aid staff member last week that 2012 was turning out to be the worst year for famine that Tasha Ibrahim had ever experienced.

No one has had a proper meal in months, and they are resorting to eating leaves from the trees, boiled with a small amount of salt to give some flavour.

The village has two 87-metre-deep wells, one of which has ran completely dry, while the other is not providing sufficient supplies to meet demand.

A number of families who had the resources to do so have left for Northern Nigeria, while some of the young people have been forced to go to the economic capital Maradi and other towns to beg for food.

The village has a population of 1016, which includes 376 children under the age of 13.

Children_in_Tasha_Ibrahim_Niger2_4X3.jpg
Children in the Christian village of
Tasha Ibrahim receiving bread

Niger is prone to drought and consequently suffers regular food shortages. Barnabas Aid began helping Christians in the country following the major food crisis of 2005-06 and has continued to provide famine relief for thousands of hungry Christian families, including those in Tasha Ibrahim, as the need has arisen.

We have also sought to address the causes of hunger by providing funding for water wells and an irrigation scheme, as well as helping Nigerien Christians to become more self-sufficient through the provision of livestock.

Alongside such practical support, Barnabas Aid has also been encouraging spiritual growth in Niger; we have, for example, provided Bibles, supported a Bible School in the capital Niamey, and funded the completion of a church building.

In addition to the dire shortage of food, Christians in Niger are increasingly vulnerable as a result of the presence and activities of al-Qaeda linked separatist rebels in the country, especially in the desert areas of the north. It is feared that Islamist aggression in neighbouring countries Mali, where Islamists have taken over the north, and Nigeria, where Boko Haram continues its violent anti-Christian campaign, may spill over into Niger. Such is the perceived threat level to Christians in Niger that the vast majority of the larger churches in Niamey were protected by a heavy police presence over Christmas and New Year – a period when Christians in minority contexts are particularly vulnerable to attack. A typical example was the Baptist church in the centre of the capital where an armed policeman guarded the preacher in the pulpit with another ten officers among the congregation and two at the entrance, as well as a patrol car outside.

Maxwell Jardim, a Barnabas Aid projects coordinator who visited Niger last week, said:

It was desperately sad to see dear Christian brothers and sisters in such a critical state, reduced to eating leaves from the trees and begging for food. Although other parts of the country are suffering as a result of the latest food crisis, Tasha Ibrahim was by far the worst-affected place that I visited. The Christian residents once again need our prayers and practical support.

Give Today

If you would like to help Christians in Niger, please send a donation to West Africa – famine relief (38-568). using our secure server.

If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference West Africa – famine relief (38-568).

If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference West Africa – famine relief (38-568).

For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/568 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).

Please Pray:
  • For all those affected by the food crisis in the Sahel region; pray that aid will reach those in need and that long-term solutions to the problem will be found.
  • For the Christian residents of Tasha Ibrahim; pray that they will not grow weary and will be able to trust in the Lord to provide for all their needs.
  • Thank God that the Nigerien authorities are deploying resources to keep the Islamist threat in check. Pray that their efforts will continue to be effective and that Christians will be protected from harm.
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Christians in Niger need urgent aid; reduced to eating leaves and begging

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Daily prayer

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  • Praise God for the release of John Short, an Australian missionary who was detained in North Korea for distributing Christian leaflets. John, who is 75 and based in Hong Kong, was reported to security officials in Pyongyang after he was spotted leaving a Christian leaflet at a Buddhist temple, an act that is illegal in North Korea. Further Korean-language Christian pamphlets were subsequently found in his hotel room. John, who was released on 3 March after two weeks in custody, was required to sign a confession probably scripted by the authorities. Other foreign missionaries arrested in North Korea have been given long prison sentences. Give thanks to God that John has escaped further punishment, and pray for him as he recovers from his traumatic ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 2 hours ago

  • Pray for Barnabas Aid partners in South Sudan who have been supporting Christians forced from their homes by violence. Conflict between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar in December and January displaced around 860,000 people. Churches were burned down and a number of pastors killed, while many people lost their belongings and were left destitute. Give thanks that churches in and around the capital, Juba, were able to provide food and other essentials to many families with help from Barnabas. Pray that they may continue to be salt and light in their country at this unstable time (Matthew 5:13-16), and that it will soon be safe for displaced Christians to return home. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for the residents of a mainly Christian village in Borno state, Northern Nigeria, in the aftermath of a horrific attack by Boko Haram militants on 15 February. Ask for God’s comfort for the relatives and friends of the 106 people in Izghe who were gunned down and slaughtered in their houses or in the open as they tried to flee. Pray for strength for the numerous residents who were wounded or whose properties were looted and torched. Pray too for the many Christians who fled into the neighbouring state after the attack, and ask that the Christian community in the North of Nigeria will be preserved in the face of Islamist violence. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

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