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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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ELCA provides aid to Zimbabwe

In January when the first delivery of ELCA-funded aid arrived in Zimbabwe, a bag broke, scattering precious seeds on the ground.

Bags of seeds are part of the ELCA’s
Bags of seeds are part of the ELCA’s commitment of $600,000 for humanitarian aid in Zimbabwe.

Residents jumped into action, said Benyam Kassahun, program director for Southern Africa, ELCA Global Mission.

“People gathered together to pick each seed from the dry soil,” he said. “When they were done, not a single seed remained.”

Just 10 years ago, Zimbabwe “was known as the breadbasket of Southern Africa,” he said. “Everything is now destroyed.” Nearly a third of those who suffer most are children under 5.

In Zimbabwe, 5 million people are struggling to feed themselves amid a collapsed economy, internal displacement and an intimidating political atmosphere. The seeds are part of the ELCA’s commitment of $600,000 for humanitarian aid. About 15,000 families will receive seeds and fertilizer for tomorrow, as well as emergency food for today.

The funds also will help restore medical services at four of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe’s hospitals (Manama, Masase, Mnene and Musome). The hospitals can’t keep medical personnel, buy food and medicine, or run ambulances. Previously, even medical personnel had fainted from hunger while working.

The ELCA funds will change that, Kassahun said. Patients will now have enough food to become healthy, and medical staff will be able to keep serving.


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