“God, you see and you hear the cries of your people. You send help and you show your love all the time. Thank you for your servants Barnabas Aid for their care and perseverance in helping your suffering community.”
These are the words of a Nigerian believer as he sang and danced in joy, praising God for the arrival of Barnabas-funded food and practical aid for six Christian-majority villages in Kaduna State that have endured incessant attacks by Islamist terrorists.
In one of the latest onslaughts, 33 people – including women and children – were killed. The terrorists struck at night, and many of the victims died in their beds when their homes were set on fire.
Kaduna State endures high levels of jihadi violence. No fewer than 23 pastors have been murdered and more than 200 churches forced to shut down across the state in the last four years, according to figures released by the Christian Association of Nigeria in September.
Families survive on barely a meal a day
Repeated attacks have destroyed farmland and food stocks at a time of rising food prices nationally. As a result, many Christian families barely have enough for one meal a day.
The latest distribution of Barnabas food aid in Nigeria was a lifeline for families in the six beleaguered villages, especially for widows who have little means of practical support.
Two hundred extended households (approximately 4,600 people) received a 100kg bag of beans and a 100kg bag of maize, sufficient to sustain them for three months. Each household was also given two sleeping mats and two blankets.
“This has brought hope and life to communities,” said a recipient of the aid. “Despite their grief,” he added, the aid distribution has helped believers to “continue to trust in God and also to know there are people who care”.
He continued, “Though the government here refused to assist the people, God has sent help from above through Barnabas Aid.”
“We have not been abandoned”
An elder of one of the villages thanked Barnabas for helping the community. “The excitement of our people when they knew that Barnabas Aid was coming again with another help is very encouraging to our faith,” he said. “It helps us to continue trusting in God to intervene in the killing in this area.”
“This is proof that we have not been abandoned,” the elder added. “More so, that Barnabas Aid sends prayer alert to people all over the world to pray for us is very encouraging. We really see the hand of God in this.
“We can only say thank you. May the Lord bless you abundantly.”
“Though the government here refused to assist the people, God has sent help from above through Barnabas Aid.”
Aid comforts survivors of school massacre
“You are the first to give out relief to me and to us in general,” said Alganyira, a survivor of a massacre at a Christian boarding school in Uganda in which 42 believers – mostly pupils – died. “Your support and prayers make us feel healed and our tears are wiped away,” he added.
The 21-year-old senior student suffered burns to his back and arms escaping buildings set on fire by Islamists during the night-time attack on his secondary school in Kasese District, western Uganda, on 16 June 2023.
Armed members of the Allied Democratic Forces, a group affiliated to Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh), stormed the school, shooting and hacking pupils to death. Other students were burned alive when the attackers threw petrol bombs into dormitories. The terrorists struck as pupils were singing hymns before bed.
“Your support and prayers make us feel healed and our tears are wiped away”
Barnabas provided funding to support Christians injured in the massacre as well as for members of the local community, many of whom fled their homes after the attack, terrified that the terrorists would return.
Thanks to the donations of our supporters, we have paid the medical bills of the survivors, including Alganyira, and provided counselling for them and their families and for the bereaved to help them recover emotionally and spiritually.
We have also funded a series of radio talk shows in which church leaders shared messages of comfort and hope with the traumatised community, and local officials detailed measures taken to strengthen security. Each radio show offered members of the community the opportunity to phone in and ask questions.
Food aid for 700 vulnerable households
We further supported the community by providing food for 700 vulnerable households (around 4,900 people).
Families who lost children or relatives in the attack as well as the elderly, disabled and people who fled their homes in terror were given flour, beans, groundnuts, rice, sugar, soap and cooking oil to sustain them.
We also provided survivors with school materials, including pens, text books and maths sets, and funded text books and stationery for the schools where survivors have been transferred to in order to continue their education.
Recovering at home after hospital treatment, Alganyira is keen to resume his studies.
“Keep praying for me to get healed and go back to school,” he requested. “My ambition is to finish school and work for the community.”
Project references: 39-772 (Victims of Violence in Nigeria); PR1618 (Victims of Violence in Uganda)